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.
The purpose of this study was to review the literature relating to the psychosocial costs associated with traumatic brain injury (TBI).
Nine online journal databases, including MEDLINE, CINAHL, PsychINFO, and PUBMED, were queried for studies between July 2010 and May 2012 pertaining to the economic burden of head injuries. Additional studies were identified through searching bibliographies of related publications and using Google internet search engine.
One hundred and eight potentially relevant abstracts were identified from the journal databases. Ten papers were chosen for discussion in this review. All but two of the chosen papers were US studies. The studies included a cost-benefit analysis of the implementation of treatment guidelines from the US brain trauma foundation and a cost-effectiveness analysis of post-acute traumatic brain injury rehabilitation.
Very little research has been published on the economic burden that mild and moderate traumatic brain injury patients pose to their families, careers, and society as a whole. Further research is needed to estimate the economic burden of these patients on healthcare providers and social services and how this can impact current health policies and practices.
head trauma; post concussional syndrome; traumatic brain injury (TBI); costs; burden; economics
This supplement to the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease contains more than half of the chapters from The Handbook of Imaging the Alzheimer Brain, which was first presented at the International Conference on Alzheimer's Disease in Paris, in July, 2011.
While the Handbook contains 27 chapters that are modified articles from 2009, 2010, and 2011 issues of the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease, this supplement contains the 31 new chapters of that book and an introductory article drawn from the introductions to each section of the book.
The Handbook was designed to provide a multilevel overview of the full field of brain imaging related to Alzheimer's disease (AD). The Handbook, as well as this supplement, contains both reviews of the basic concepts of imaging, the latest developments in imaging, and various discussions and perspectives of the problems of the field and promising directions.
The Handbook was designed to be useful for students and clinicians interested in AD as well as scientists studying the brain and pathology related to AD.
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.
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.
Interest in the brain's circulation dates back more than a century and has been steadily growing. Quantitative methods for measurements of cerebral blood flow (CBF) and energy metabolism became available in the middle of the 20th century and gave a new boost to the research. Scientific meetings dealing with CBF and metabolism were arranged, and the fast growing research led to a demand for a specialized journal. In this scientific environment, the International Society for Cerebral Blood Flow and Metabolism (ISCBFM) and its official Journal of Cerebral Metabolism were established in 1981 and has since then been a major success. The development of new brain imaging methods has had a major impact. Regulation of CBF and ischemia has been the main topics at the meetings. A new field of brain mapping research emerged and has now its own society and meetings. Brain emission tomography research has grown within the society and is now an integrated part. The ISCBFM is a sound society, and support of young scientists is among its goals. Several awards have been established. Other activities including summer schools, courses, satellite meetings, and Gordon conferences have contributed to the success of the society and strengthened the research.
cerebral blood flow; cerebral hemodynamics; cerebral ischemia; cerebral metabolism; magnetic resonance; positron emission tomography
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
The electroretinogram (ERG, retina) and visual evoked potential (VEP, brain) are widely used in vivo tools assaying the integrity of the visual pathway. Current recordings in preclinical models are conducted under anesthesia, which alters neural physiology and contaminates responses. We describe a conscious wireless ERG and VEP recording platform in rats. Using a novel surgical technique to chronically implant electrodes subconjunctivally on the eye and epidurally over the visual cortex, we are able to record stable and repeatable conscious ERG and VEP signals over at least 1 month. We show that the use of anaesthetics, necessary for conventional ERG and VEP measurements, alters electrophysiology recordings. Conscious visual electrophysiology improves the viability of longitudinal studies by eliminating complications associated with repeated anaesthesia. It will also enable uncontaminated assessment of drug effects, allowing the eye to be used as an effective biomarker of the central nervous system.
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.
Desert ungulates live in adverse ecosystems that are particularly sensitive to degradation and global climate change. Here, we asked how two ungulate species with contrasting feeding habits, grazing gemsbok (Oryx g. gazella) and browsing springbok (Antidorcas marsupialis), respond to an increase in food availability during a pronounced rain period. We used a stable isotope approach to delineate the feeding habits of these two ungulates in the arid Kunene Region of Namibia. Our nineteen months field investigation included two time periods of drought when food availability for ungulates was lowest and an intermediate period with extreme, unusual rainfalls. We documented thirteen isotopically distinct food sources in the isotopic space of the study area. Our results indicated a relatively high dietary plasticity of gemsbok, which fed on a mixture of plants, including more than 30% of C3 plants during drought periods, but almost exclusively on C4 and CAM plant types when food was plentiful. During drought periods, the inferred gemsbok diets also consisted of up to 25% of Euphorbia damarana; an endemic CAM plant that is rich in toxic secondary plant compounds. In contrast, springbok were generalists, feeding on a higher proportion of C3 than C4/CAM plants, irrespective of environmental conditions. Our results illustrate two dietary strategies in gemsbok and springbok which enable them to survive and coexist in the hostile Kunene arid ecosystem.
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.