Deep brain stimulation (DBS) is optimistically portrayed in contemporary media. This already happened with psychosurgery during the first half of the twentieth century. The tendency of popular media to hype the benefits of DBS therapies, without equally highlighting risks, fosters public expectations also due to the lack of ethical analysis in the scientific literature. Media are not expected (and often not prepared) to raise the ethical issues which remain unaddressed by the scientific community. To obtain a more objective portrayal of DBS in the media, a deeper collaboration between the science community and journalists, and particularly specialized ones, must be promoted. Access to databases and articles, directly or through science media centers, has also been proven effective in increasing the quality of reporting. This article has three main objectives. Firstly, to explore the past media coverage of leukotomy, and to examine its widespread acceptance and the neglect of ethical issues in its depiction. Secondly, to describe how current enthusiastic coverage of DBS causes excessive optimism and neglect of ethical issues in patients. Thirdly, to discuss communication models and strategies to enhance media and science responsibility.
deep brain stimulation; science journalism; mass media; neurosurgery; neuroethics
brain; DNA; genetics; genome, human; human genome project; journalism, medical; persuasive communication; research
George James Guthrie; military surgeon; history of hay fever; women pioneers in medicine; development of neurological examination; the journal Brain
We are delighted to announce the arrival of a brand new journal dedicated to the ever-expanding field of neuroscience. Molecular Brain is a peer-reviewed, open-access online journal that aims at publishing high quality articles as rapidly as possible. The journal will cover a broad spectrum of neuroscience ranging from molecular/cellular to behavioral/cognitive neuroscience and from basic to clinical research. Molecular Brain will publish not only research articles, but also methodology articles, editorials, reviews, and short reports. It will be a premier platform for neuroscientists to exchange their ideas with researchers from around the world to help improve our understanding of the molecular mechanisms of the brain and mind.
The fields of genetics and neuroscience are yielding findings useful in understanding complex behavior-environment relations. We believe that these developments in interdisciplinary basic research are of interest to applied behavior analysts because of the long history of basic findings being used by the readership of the Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis to improve everyday human activities. An awareness of contemporary developments in a range of basic research disciplines may facilitate the systematic replication of those functional relations in applied settings. In this context, we selectively review papers published in the Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior and other basic research journals that relate to gene-brain-behavior relations.
Journal impact factors have become an important criterion to judge the quality of scientific publications over the years, influencing the evaluation of institutions and individual researchers worldwide. However, they are also subject to a number of criticisms. Here we point out that the calculation of a journal’s impact factor is mainly based on the date of publication of its articles in print form, despite the fact that most journals now make their articles available online before that date. We analyze 61 neuroscience journals and show that delays between online and print publication of articles increased steadily over the last decade. Importantly, such a practice varies widely among journals, as some of them have no delays, while for others this period is longer than a year. Using a modified impact factor based on online rather than print publication dates, we demonstrate that online-to-print delays can artificially raise a journal’s impact factor, and that this inflation is greater for longer publication lags. We also show that correcting the effect of publication delay on impact factors changes journal rankings based on this metric. We thus suggest that indexing of articles in citation databases and calculation of citation metrics should be based on the date of an article’s online appearance, rather than on that of its publication in print.
Editors of scientific journals are ethically bound to provide a fair and impartial peer-review process and to protect the rights of contributing authors to publish research results. If, however, a dispute arises among investigators regarding data ownership and the right to publish, the ethical responsibilities of journal editors become more complex. The editors of Human Brain Mapping recently had the unusual experience of learning of an ongoing dispute regarding data-access rights pertaining to a manuscript already accepted for publication. Herein the editors describe the nature of the dispute, the steps taken to explore and resolve the conflict, and discuss the ethical principles that govern such circumstances. Drawing on this experience and with the goal of avoiding future controversies, the editors have formulated a Data Rights Policy and a Data Rights Procedure for Human Brain Mapping. Human Brain Mapping adopts this policy effective immediately and respectfully suggests that other journals consider adopting this or similar policies.
The Neuroscience Peer Review Consortium (NPRC) was conceived in the summer of 2007 at a meeting of editors and publishers of neuroscience journals. One of the working groups addressed whether it was possible to construct a system for permitting authors whose manuscript received supportive reviews at one journal but was not accepted to send a revised manuscript together with its first round of reviews to a new journal for the second round. This would speed up the review process and reduce the work for reviewers and editors. The working group not only designed a framework for transferring reviews among journals, but also implemented it as the NPRC. By the fall of 2007, more than a dozen major journals had signed onto the NPRC, sufficient to launch the experiment in January, 2008. We invite authors who have not yet used the NPRC to try this method for appropriate manuscripts.
In order to encourage dissemination of the details outlined in this Editorial, it will also be published in other journals in the Neuroscience Peer Review Consortium.
Welcome to the Journal of Neuroinflammation, an open-access, peer-reviewed, online journal that focuses on innate immunological responses of the central nervous system, involving microglia, astrocytes, cytokines, chemokines, and related molecular processes. 'Neuroinflammation' is an encapsulization of the idea that microglial and astrocytic responses and actions in the central nervous system have a fundamentally inflammation-like character, and that these responses are central to the pathogenesis and progression of a wide variety of neurological disorders. This concept has its roots in the discoveries of inflammatory cytokines and proteins in the plaques of Alzheimer disease, and these ideas have been extended to other neurodegenerative diseases, to ischemic/toxic diseases, to tumor biology and even to normal brain development. The Journal of Neuroinflammation, published by BioMed Central, will bring together work focusing on microglia, astrocytes, cytokines, chemokines, and related molecular processes in the central nervous system. All articles published in the Journal of Neuroinflammation will be immediately listed in PubMed, and access to published articles will be universal and free through the internet.
Behavioral and Brain Functions (BBF) is an Open Access, peer-reviewed, online journal considering original research, review, and modeling articles in all aspects of neurobiology or behavior, favoring research that relates to both domains. Behavioral and Brain Functions is published by BioMed Central. The greatest challenge for empirical science is to understand human behavior; how human behavior arises from the myriad functions such as attention, language, memory and emotion; how these functions are reflected in brain structures and functions; and how the brain and behavior are altered in disease. Behavioral and Brain Functions covers the entire area of behavioral and cognitive neuroscience – an area where animal studies traditionally play a prominent role. Behavioral and Brain Functions is published online, allowing unlimited space for figures, extensive datasets to allow readers to study the data for themselves, and moving pictures, which are important qualities assisting communication in modern science.
Delirium, though quite often referred to psychiatrists for management, does not find many takers for analysis, research and publications. Acute in onset, multiplicity of etiology and manifestations, high risk of mortality delirium is very rewarding in proper management and outcome. Delirium has a limited agenda on teaching programs, research protocols and therapeutic strategies. There is a dearth of Indian studies both in international and national scientific literature. This annotation is based on a Medline search for “delirium India” on Pubmed, which resulted in 54 articles. A search in Indian Journal of Psychiatry for “delirium” resulted in 38 published articles, “delirium tremens” showed up only five articles. The articles are primarily from the Indian Journal of Psychiatry with cross reference to articles on Pubmed or Google search on Indian studies and a few international studies
Delirium; Indian; studies
To study the efficacy of whole brain radiotherapy (WBRT) with radiosensitizer in comparison with WBRT alone for patients with brain metastases in terms of overall survival, disease progression, response to treatment and adverse effects of treatment.
A meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials (RCT) was performed in order to compare WBRT with radiosensitizer for brain metastases and WBRT alone. The MEDLINE, EMBASE, LILACS, and Cochrane Library databases, in addition to Trial registers, bibliographic databases, and recent issues of relevant journals were researched. Significant reports were reviewed by two reviewers independently.
A total of 8 RCTs, yielding 2317 patients were analyzed. Pooled results from this 8 RCTs of WBRT with radiosensitizer have not shown a meaningful improvement on overall survival compared to WBRT alone OR = 1.03 (95% CI0.84–1.25, p = 0.77). Also, there was no difference in local brain tumor response OR = 0.8(95% CI 0.5 – 1.03) and brain tumor progression (OR = 1.11, 95% CI 0.9 – 1.3) when the two arms were compared.
Our data show that WBRT with the following radiosentizers (ionidamine, metronidazole, misonodazole, motexafin gadolinium, BUdr, efaproxiral, thalidomide), have not improved significatively the overall survival, local control and tumor response compared to WBRT alone for brain metastases. However, 2 of them, motexafin- gadolinium and efaproxiral have been shown in recent publications (lung and breast) to have positive action in lung and breast carcinoma brain metastases in association with WBRT.
During the past few years, the Journal of Neuroscience has published over 30 articles that describe investigations that used Diffusion Tensor Imaging (DTI) and related techniques as a primary observation method. This illustrates a growing interest in DTI within the basic and clinical neuroscience communities. This article summarizes DTI methodology in terms that can be immediately understood by the neuroscientist who has little previous exposure to DTI. It describes the fundamentals of water molecular diffusion coefficient measurement in brain tissue and illustrates how these fundamentals can be used to form vivid and useful depictions of white matter macroscopic and microscopic anatomy. It also describes current research applications and the technique’s attributes and limitations. It is hoped that this article will help the readers of this Journal to more effectively evaluate neuroscience studies that use DTI.
Magnetic Resonance Imaging; Diffusion; Diffusion Tensor; White Matter; Myelin; connectome; brain
Prenatal and early postnatal exposure to maternal depression may “program” childhood behavior via epigenetic processes such as DNA methylation. Methylenetetrahydro-folate reductase (MTHFR) is an important enzyme in the generation of methyl groups for DNA methylation. The common MTHFR C677T variant is associated with depression in men and non-pregnant women, and with global changes in DNA methylation. This study investigated the effect of maternal MTHFR C677T genotype on antenatal maternal mood, and their impact on the gene-specific methylation in pregnant women and their newborn infants. The methylation status of SLC6A4, which encodes the transmembrane serotonin transporter, and BDNF, which encodes brain derived neurotrophic factor, were assessed because of their potential role in behaviour.
Depressed mood was assessed by the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS) and the Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression (HAM-D) in women (n = 82, all taking folate) during the 2nd and 3rd trimesters of pregnancy. The methylation status of SLC6A4 and BDNF were assessed in 3rd trimester maternal peripheral leukocytes and in umbilical cord leukocytes collected from their infants at birth. Women with the MTHFR 677TT genotype had greater 2nd trimester depressed mood (p<0.05). Increased 2nd trimester maternal depressed mood (EPDS scores) was associated with decreased maternal and infant SLC6A4 promoter methylation (p<0.05), but had no effect on BDNF promoter methylation.
These findings show that the MTHFR C677T variant is associated with greater depressed mood during pregnancy. We further showed that prenatal exposure to maternal depressed mood affects gene-specific DNA methylation patterns. These findings support the concept that alterations in epigenetic processes may contribute to developmental programming of behaviour by maternal depression.
Hippocampal neurogenesis in the subgranular zone (SGZ) of dentate gyrus (DG) occurs throughout life and is regulated by pathological and physiological processes. The role of oxidative stress in hippocampal neurogenesis and its response to exercise or neurodegenerative diseases remains controversial. The present study was designed to investigate the impact of oxidative stress, treadmill exercise and sex on hippocampal neurogenesis in a murine model of heightened oxidative stress (G93A mice). G93A and wild type (WT) mice were randomized to a treadmill running (EX) or a sedentary (SED) group for 1 or 4 wk. Immunohistochemistry was used to detect bromodeoxyuridine (BrdU) labeled proliferating cells, surviving cells, and their phenotype, as well as for determination of oxidative stress (3-NT; 8-OHdG). BDNF and IGF1 mRNA expression was assessed by in situ hybridization. Results showed that: (1) G93A-SED mice had greater hippocampal neurogenesis, BDNF mRNA, and 3-NT, as compared to WT-SED mice. (2) Treadmill running promoted hippocampal neurogenesis and BDNF mRNA content and lowered DNA oxidative damage (8-OHdG) in WT mice. (3) Male G93A mice showed significantly higher cell proliferation but a lower level of survival vs. female G93A mice. We conclude that G93A mice show higher hippocampal neurogenesis, in association with higher BDNF expression, yet running did not further enhance these phenomena in G93A mice, probably due to a ‘ceiling effect’ of an already heightened basal levels of hippocampal neurogenesis and BDNF expression.
Acinetobacter baumannii is an increasingly multidrug-resistant (MDR) cause of hospital-acquired infections, often associated with limited therapeutic options. We investigated A. baumannii isolates at a New York hospital to characterize genetic relatedness.
Thirty A. baumannii isolates from geographically-dispersed nursing units within the hospital were studied. Isolate relatedness was assessed by repetitive sequence polymerase chain reaction (rep-PCR). The presence and characteristics of integrons were assessed by PCR. Metabolomic profiles of a subset of a prevalent strain isolates and sporadic isolates were characterized and compared.
We detected a hospital-wide group of closely related carbapenem resistant MDR A. baumannii isolates. Compared with sporadic isolates, the prevalent strain isolates were more likely to be MDR (p = 0.001). Isolates from the prevalent strain carried a novel Class I integron sequence. Metabolomic profiles of selected prevalent strain isolates and sporadic isolates were similar.
The A. baumannii population at our hospital represents a prevalent strain of related MDR isolates that contain a novel integron cassette. Prevalent strain and sporadic isolates did not segregate by metabolomic profiles. Further study of environmental, host, and bacterial factors associated with the persistence of prevalent endemic A. baumannii strains is needed to develop effective prevention strategies.
Splice products of the Kiss1 protein (kisspeptins) have been shown to be involved in a diverse range of functions, including puberty, metastasis and vasoconstriction in large human arteries. Circulating Kisspeptin-10 (Kp-10) plasma levels are low in normal individuals but are elevated during various disease states as well as pregnancy. Here, we investigated the potential of Kp-10, the shortest biologically active kisspeptin, to influence microvascular effects, concentrating on the cutaneous vasculature. Kp-10 caused a dose-dependent increase in oedema formation (0.3–10nmol/injection site), assessed by Evans Blue albumin dye extravasation, in the dorsal skin of CD1 mice. Oedema formation was shown to be inhibited by the histamine H1 receptor antagonist mepyramine. The response was characterised by a ring of pallor at the injection site in keeping with vasoconstrictor activity. Therefore, changes in dorsal skin blood flow were assessed by clearance of intradermally injected 99mtechnetium. Kp-10 was found to significantly reduce clearance, in keeping with decreased blood flow and providing further evidence for vasoconstrictor activity. The decreased clearance was partially inhibited by co-treatment with the cyclo-oxygenase inhibitor indomethacin. Finally evidence for the kisspeptin receptor gene (Kiss1R), but not the kisspeptin peptide gene (Kiss1), mRNA expression was observed in heart, aorta and kidney samples from normal and angiotensin II induced hypertensive mice, with similar mRNA levels observed in each. We have evidence for two peripheral vasoactive roles for kisspeptin-10. Firstly, plasma extravasation indicative of ability to induce oedema formation and secondly decreased peripheral blood flow, indicating microvascular constriction. Thus Kp-10 has vasoactive properties in the peripheral microvasculature.
Prejunctional nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs) amplify postganglionic sympathetic neurotransmission, and there are indications that intraterminal Ca2+ stores might be involved. However, the mechanisms by which nAChR activation stimulates neurotransmitter release at such junctions is unknown. Rapid local delivery (picospritzing) of the nAChR agonist epibatidine was combined with intracellular sharp microelectrode recording to monitor spontaneous and field-stimulation-evoked neurotransmitter release from sympathetic nerve terminals in the mouse isolated vas deferens. Locally applied epibatidine (1 µM) produced ‘epibatidine-induced depolarisations’ (EIDs) that were similar in shape to spontaneous excitatory junction potentials (SEJPs) and were abolished by nonselective nAChR antagonists and the purinergic desensitizing agonist α,β-methylene ATP. The amplitude distribution of EIDs was only slightly shifted towards lower amplitudes by the selective α7 nAChR antagonists α-bungarotoxin and methyllcaconitine, the voltage-gated Na+ channel blocker tetrodotoxin or by blocking voltage-gated Ca2+ channels with Cd2+. Lowering the extracellular Ca2+ concentration reduced the frequency of EIDs by 69%, but more surprisingly, the Ca2+-induced Ca2+ release blocker ryanodine greatly decreased the amplitude (by 41%) and the frequency of EIDs by 36%. Ryanodine had no effect on electrically-evoked neurotransmitter release, paired-pulse facilitation, SEJP frequency, SEJP amplitude or SEJP amplitude distribution. These results show that activation of non-α7 nAChRs on sympathetic postganglionic nerve terminals induces high-amplitude junctional potentials that are argued to represent multipacketed neurotransmitter release synchronized by intraterminal Ca2+-induced Ca2+ release, triggered by Ca2+ influx directly through the nAChR. This nAChR-induced neurotransmitter release can be targeted pharmacologically without affecting spontaneous or electrically-evoked neurotransmitter release.
The current system of publishing in the biological sciences is notable for its redundancy, inconsistency, sluggishness, and opacity. These problems persist, and grow worse, because the peer review system remains focused on deciding whether or not to publish a paper in a particular journal rather than providing (1) a high-quality evaluation of scientific merit and (2) the information necessary to organize and prioritize the literature. Online access has eliminated the need for journals as distribution channels, so their primary current role is to provide authors with feedback prior to publication and a quick way for other researchers to prioritize the literature based on which journal publishes a paper. However, the feedback provided by reviewers is not focused on scientific merit but on whether to publish in a particular journal, which is generally of little use to authors and an opaque and noisy basis for prioritizing the literature. Further, each submission of a rejected manuscript requires the entire machinery of peer review to creak to life anew. This redundancy incurs delays, inconsistency, and increased burdens on authors, reviewers, and editors. Finally, reviewers have no real incentive to review well or quickly, as their performance is not tracked, let alone rewarded. One of the consistent suggestions for modifying the current peer review system is the introduction of some form of post-publication reception, and the development of a marketplace where the priority of a paper rises and falls based on its reception from the field (see other articles in this special topics). However, the information that accompanies a paper into the marketplace is as important as the marketplace’s mechanics. Beyond suggestions concerning the mechanisms of reception, we propose an update to the system of publishing in which publication is guaranteed, but pre-publication peer review still occurs, giving the authors the opportunity to revise their work following a mini pre-reception from the field. This step also provides a consistent set of rankings and reviews to the marketplace, allowing for early prioritization and stabilizing its early dynamics. We further propose to improve the general quality of reviewing by providing tangible rewards to those who do it well.
peer review; neuroscience; publishing
Aquaporin 1 is a water channel protein. There was little aquaporin 1 immunoreactivity in normal brain parenchyma. In astrocytomas, aquaporin 1 was expressed in microvessel endothelia and neoplastic astrocytes. In metastatic carcinomas, aquaporin 1 was present in microvessel endothelia and reactive astrocytes. Aquaporin 1 may participate in the formation of brain tumour oedema.
British Journal of Cancer (2002) 21, 621–623. doi:10.1038/sj.bjc.6600512 www.bjcancer.com
© 2002 Cancer Research UK
adenocarcinoma; brain neoplasms; brain oedema; cytotoxic oedema; glioma; vasogenic oedema
After traumatic brain injury (TBI) elderly patients suffer from higher mortality rate and worse functional outcome compared to young patients. However, experimental TBI research is primarily performed in young animals. Aim of the present study was to clarify whether age affects functional outcome, neuroinflammation and secondary brain damage after brain trauma in mice. Young (2 months) and old (21 months) male C57Bl6N mice were anesthetized and subjected to a controlled cortical impact injury (CCI) on the right parietal cortex. Animals of both ages were randomly assigned to 15 min, 24 h, and 72 h survival. At the end of the observation periods, contusion volume, brain water content, neurologic function, cerebral and systemic inflammation (CD3+ T cell migration, inflammatory cytokine expression in brain and lung, blood differential cell count) were determined. Old animals showed worse neurological function 72 h after CCI and a high mortality rate (19.2%) compared to young (0%). This did not correlate with histopathological damage, as contusion volumes were equal in both age groups. Although a more pronounced brain edema formation was detected in old mice 24 hours after TBI, lack of correlation between brain water content and neurological deficit indicated that brain edema formation is not solely responsible for age-dependent differences in neurological outcome. Brains of old naïve mice were about 8% smaller compared to young naïve brains, suggesting age-related brain atrophy with possible decline in plasticity. Onset of cerebral inflammation started earlier and primarily ipsilateral to damage in old mice, whereas in young mice inflammation was delayed and present in both hemispheres with a characteristic T cell migration pattern. Pulmonary interleukin 1β expression was up-regulated after cerebral injury only in young, not aged mice. The results therefore indicate that old animals are prone to functional deficits and strong ipsilateral cerebral inflammation without major differences in morphological brain damage compared to young.
Detailed knowledge about the anatomical organization of axonal connections is important for understanding normal functions of brain systems and disease-related dysfunctions. Such connectivity data are typically generated in neuroanatomical tract-tracing experiments in which specific axonal connections are visualized in histological sections. Since journal publications typically only accommodate restricted data descriptions and example images, literature search is a cumbersome way to retrieve overviews of brain connectivity. To explore more efficient ways of mapping, analyzing, and sharing detailed axonal connectivity data from the rodent brain, we have implemented a workflow for data production and developed an atlas system tailored for online presentation of axonal tracing data. The system is available online through the Rodent Brain WorkBench (www.rbwb.org; Whole Brain Connectivity Atlas) and holds experimental metadata and high-resolution images of histological sections from experiments in which axonal tracers were injected in the primary somatosensory cortex. We here present the workflow and the data system, and exemplify how the online image repository can be used to map different aspects of the brain-wide connectivity of the rat primary somatosensory cortex, including not only presence of connections but also morphology, densities, and spatial organization. The accuracy of the approach is validated by comparing results generated with our system with findings reported in previous publications. The present study is a contribution to a systematic mapping of rodent brain connections and represents a starting point for further large-scale mapping efforts.
This paper introduces the special issue of the Journal of the Canadian Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry on the theme of how multiple factors in early brain and biological development can influence a variety of outcomes in mental health and addictions in childhood, adolescence and adulthood.
In Part 1, we preview three papers in this issue. In Part 2, we highlight two recent innovative knowledge-transfer symposia featuring the application of the science in early development and addictions.
The papers focus on the subtopics of brain plasticity, mood disorders, and comparative research with monkeys on gene-environment interactions and parent-child attachment. In addition, the research presented at the Early Brain and Biological Development Symposium and the Recovery from Addiction Symposium is also reviewed. Held in 2010 in Banff, Alberta, each five-day program was intended to bridge the gap between scientific and clinical experts and those in the province responsible for policy, programs, and services.
The science now links common neurobiological maturation processes, adverse early childhood experiences, and key aspects of the social environment with risks for mental health disorders and addictions later in life. The final paper in this issue examines the clinical and policy implications of this research knowledge.
addiction; brain; development; knowledge-transfer; symposium; addiction; cerveau; développement; transfert de connaissances; symposium