IN THE SPOTLIGHT
New research demonstrates that brain scans from early childhood can be used to define subgroups within individuals who have fragile X syndrome. In this study, published recently in PNAS, lead authors Jennifer Bruno and David Romano, along with senior author Allan Reiss, describe the machine learning methods they used to define the subgroups and explain how these definitions can be important for planning treatments. Stanford School of Medicine blog Scope also highlighted the study in a recent post.
John Merck Profile of Dr. Scott Hall
Read the John Merck news profile on Dr. Scott Hall and his work with Fragile X children. Link to article
Agnes Purcell McGavin Award for Distinguished Career Achievement
Dr. Allan Reiss recieved the Agnes Purcell McGavin Award from the American Psychiatric Association for Distinguished Career Achievement in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.
The Science of Cooperation: Brain Scans Show Different Activity In Men And Women When Working Together
New research shows that the males and females have different patterns of brain activity when engaging in cooperative behavior. Senior author Allan Reiss, professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences, is quoted here and in articles from Live Science, Medical Daily, Quartz, and Talk Media News. Lead author Dr. Joseph Baker was also interviewed on BBC World Service News on whether or not men work better with other men.
Can Cycling and Exercise Create a Better Future for Children with ADHD?
Congratulations to Dr. Hadi Hosseini for obtaining a K25 Mentored Quantitative Research Development Award from the National Insitiute of Aging. Dr. Hosseini will use the award to develop integrated computational techniques and multimodal neuroimaging methods, to study the effects of long-term multi-domain cognitive training on large-scale structural and functional brain networks in mild cognitive impairment (MCI), a risk factor for Alzheimer's disease (AD).
Congratulations to Dr. Hosseini and Dr. Saggar for obtaining grants to further their research. Dr. Hosseini has recieved a NARSAD and CHRI grant. These grants focus on "Integrating NIRS-based neurofeedback and cognitive rehabilitation for improving executive function (EF) network in patients with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)". The proposed intervention would be the first that integrates real time functional imaging feedback (neurofeedback) – using near infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) – with computerized cognitive rehabilitation in order to improve individualized neural systems underlying EF in children with ADHD. The proposed pathology-focused intervention has the potential to be generalized for improving executive function in patients with significant EF deficits including children with autism spectrum disorder and traumatic brain injury.
We would also like to congratulate Dr. Saggar for also obtaining a NARSAD grant. Despite the burgeoning literature showing group-based differences in brain activity at rest, its specific association to any particular disorder is still lacking, making it an ineffective biomarker. We also lack applicable translation of group-based results to personalized clinical care. The proposed research will be particularly focused on developing individualized metrics to capture and computationally model the dynamics of brain activity at rest, so that specific biomarkers can be developed for early detection and treatment of mental illness.
If we had the chance to watch our brain when inspiration strikes, the exact “Aha!” moment of clarity when the solution to a problem comes to us, what areas would we see light up? It’s a question that Dr. Manish Saggar and a research team from CIBSR and Stanford’s d.school have been working to answer. In their paper titled, “Pictionary-based fMRI paradigm to study the neural correlates of spontaneous improvisation and figural creativity,” Dr. Saggar takes a novel approach to the age-old question using fMRI and the game of Pictionary. Participants were placed in an MR scanner and were asked to draw a picture based on words they were given. A different group of participants were shown the pictures and asked to guess what word had been drawn. This process encouraged participants to use creativity to communicate the word they were asked to draw without explicitly being asked to do so. “The results of this study suggest that cerebral-cerebellar connections might contribute to the ‘engine’ that drives human creativity,” says Dr. Allan Reiss, director of CIBSR and the senior author on the paper.
This article was released on Nature.com on May 28th, 2015. To read the article, click here - http://www.nature.com/srep/2015/150528/srep10894/full/srep10894.html
More press about this work –
1. Newsweek.com - http://www.newsweek.com/using-pictionary-study-creativity-and-brain-338323
2. Scientific American MIND - http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/don-t-overthink-it-less-is-more-when-it-comes-to-creativity/
5. Fountia - http://www.fountia.com/creativity-cerebellum-study/
13. Big News Network - http://www.bignewsnetwork.com/index.php/sid/233289283
Congratulations to Dr. Scott Hall on his promotion to Associate Professor.
Dr. Manish Saggar received the prestigious Career Development Award (K99/R00) from the National Institute of Mental Health. This award helps outstanding postdoctoral researchers complete needed mentored training and transition in a timely manner to independent, tenure-track or equivalent faculty positions. Dr. Saggar will use this award to develop individualized metrics and computational models to capture the dynamics of brain activity at rest, so that disorder-specific biomarkers can be developed for early detection and treatment of mental illnesses.
On April 21, 2015, The Center for Interdisciplinary Brain Sciences (CIBSR) hosted the 2nd Annual Stanford Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Center symposium, titled "Next Generation Research and Intervention for Fragile X Syndrome."
Michael Tranfaglia, Medical Director and Chief Scientific Officer of FRAXA.
To view a recording of this symposium, click here.
What shapes a child's sense of humor? Cognitive Neuroscience Society
Dr. Brian Haas' cover artwork was selected to be featured in the Human Brain Mapping March 2014 issue. Human Brain Mapping
The Center for Interdisciplinary Brain Sciences Research (CIBSR) at Stanford University and the Carolina Institute for Developmental Disabilities (CIDD) at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill were recently awarded $5 million in funding by the NIMH for an innovative, five-year, research project involving families who have a child diagnosed with fragile X syndrome. The current project is a continuation of an initial study of infants and preschoolers with fragile X syndrome where our research groups identified patterns of early abnormal brain growth in children with fragile X syndrome who were between the ages of 1 to 6 years. The new study will follow up with the children from the initial study, who are now between the ages of 8 and 14, as well as enroll a group of new participants between 4 and 13 years of age. The results of this study will have important implications for current and future treatment trials directed at reducing symptoms in individuals affected by fragile X. Children with autism, developmental delays, and typical development may also be eligible for participation in the study. Click here to read the full press release and here to learn more about how to participate in the study.
CIBSR Investigators funded to study autism using a cutting edge functional imaging instrument called Functional Near Infra-Red Spectroscopy (fNIRS). FNIRS is a viable brain imaging modality that will be used to investigate brain function in children at risk for Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD).
Dr. Ning Liu received a Translational Postdoctoral Fellowship from Autism Speaks to use imaging-based real-time feedback to enhance therapeutic intervention in ASD. The overarching goal of this study is to accelerate the translation of functional near-infrared spectroscopy for enhancing treatment of Autism Spectrum Disorders.
Dr. Naama Barnea-Goraly, an Instructor in the CIBSR lab, was recently awarded a 2-year grant from the Simons Foundation. In this pilot study we will identify young toddlers (18-24 months old) showing first signs of ASD and compare brain activation in these children with age-matched typical developing children. Our goal is to determine if neural activity at 18-24 months can serve as biomarkers and predict which children will go on to have an ASD diagnosis by age three. Early biomarkers for ASD would be valuable for more fine-tuned early detection of ASD and an earlier start of the most appropriate treatment.
To find out more about our current research in NIRS visit our link here.
Humor study finds that the female brain is hard-wired to respond postively to humor. Medical Daily
Laughter may aid brain development CBS video clip
Article recently released in Neurology Now gives hope for families of children with fragile X.
Brain changes with trauma. Work done on this paper was in collaboration with CIBSR. AMNH Science Bulletins
Featured in Science in School - The science of humour and how women and men react differently to it.
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