In The Spotlight

May 2015

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/

3. Psychology Today - https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-athletes-way/201505/the-cerebellum-may-be-the-seat-creativity

4. Medical Daily - http://www.medicaldaily.com/creativity-and-unremarkable-cerebellum-motor-region-found-play-surprising-role-335680

5. Fountia - http://www.fountia.com/creativity-cerebellum-study/

6. Mirror.co.uk - http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/technology-science/science/your-brain-wired-creativity-scientists-5781849

7. Stanford Med - http://med.stanford.edu/news/all-news/2015/05/researchers-tie-unexpected-brain-structures-to-creativity.html

8. Bioscience Tech - http://www.biosciencetechnology.com/articles/2015/05/creativity-tied-cerebellum-first-time

9. UPI - http://www.upi.com/Science_News/2015/05/28/Researchers-tie-unexpected-part-of-brain-to-creativity/5931432838615/

10. Science World Report - http://www.scienceworldreport.com/articles/26108/20150529/human-creativity-caused-surprising-brain-region.htm

11. RedOrbit –
http://www.redorbit.com/news/health/1113398840/cerebellum-may-be-site-of-creativity-052815/

12. ScienceNews - https://www.sciencenews.org/article/cerebellum-may-be-site-creative-spark

13. Big News Network - http://www.bignewsnetwork.com/index.php/sid/233289283


April 2015

Congratulations to Dr. Scott Hall on his promotion to Associate Professor.


April 2015

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.


April 2015

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."  

Keynote speaker:
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

Recovered bulimics poor at perceiving bodies' internal messages. Read more at Stanford News

September 2013 - 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.

June 2013 - 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

Stanford/Packard imaging study shows how humor activates kids's brain regions. Stanford School of Medicine news and ABC news.

Laughter may aid brain development CBS video clip

Dyslexia is not related to intelligence. Recently released in the LA Times and Stanford School of Medicine news

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.


About Our Lab

**Urgent Current Research Participant needs**

Healthy Volunteers Needed!

-Girls ages 7 - 13 years old for MRI studies

-Girls and Boys in 3rd Grade for NIRS studies

-Girls and Boys ages 10 - 19 years old for NIRS studies

If you would like to be contacted about research studies for which your child may be eligible, please fill out a brief 1-minute survey here

Are you a current or former research participant whose address or contact information has changed? Please Email, call (650) 498-4538, or complete this form. Thank you!