Wednesday, December 27, 2006

New brain fitness links added to blogroll

I've just added two new brain fitness URL's to the Tick Tock IQ Brain Clock blogroll. Both were mentioned in the NY Times article I mentioned in my last post (Random tidbits......)

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Random tidbits from mind blogsphere 12-27-06

  • Thanks to Boing Boing for the interesting post regarding "knitting and mathematics."
  • The brain fitness movement (with regard to late adulthood) made a splash on the New York Times today.
  • More on Go (olfactory) abilities over on the Gene Expression blog. Check out prior Go posts I've made.
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Friday, December 22, 2006

Cerebellum and dyslexia controversy

As noted in a prior post, there has been a recent firestorm surrounding the controversial Dore Achievement Centers cerebellum-based treatment approach to severe reading disabilities (dyslexia). The Myomancy blog has been particularly prominent in covering the controversy and issues surrounding the cerebellum-based Dore Achievement Centers treatment. Given the role of the cerebellum in certain forms of mental/interval time-keeping, I find this controversy and surrounding research of interest.

The mental/interval time-keeping research has implicated the cerebellum in behaviors that operate at the millisecond range of time keeping, but not at the interval levels. I think this point may be relevant to the whole Dore controversy. As summarized previously, more complex cognitive behaviors (e.g., reading) most likely involve both the millisecond and interval level time-keeping systems. The interval level system appears to be important for such cognitive abilities as working memory and executive function, higher-level cognitive functions important for intelligence and achievement.

Thus, if a treatment for dyslexia is based ONLY on the millisecond system (primarily the cerebellum), it is not surprising that there is controversy. Such a brain-based treatment may only be focusing on one brain-related component for reading....while ignoring others (cognitive abilities and functions more dependent on the interval timing system).

This hypothesis is supported by a recent meta-analysis re: the role of impaired balance (due to the cerebellum) and developmental dyslexia. The reference and abstract (and URL link) are provided below. Bottom line--according to this meta-analysis and the mental/interval time-keeping research presented previously at this blog---a treatment focused only on the functions/abilities mediated by the cerebellum is likely only touching on a small portion of the complex set of abilities involved in reading. Brain-based treatments for reading (and other academics) most likely need to also include activities that address cognitive abilities mediated by cognitively controlled interval time-keeping brain mechanisms. I believe the article speaks for itself (although I have added emphasis via italics).
  • Rochell, K. & Talcott, J. (2006). Impaired balance in developmental dyslexia? A meta-analysis of the contending evidence. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 47(11), 1159–1166 (click here to view)

  • Background: Developmental dyslexia is typically defined by deficits in phonological skills, but it is also associated with anomalous performance on measures of balance. Although balance assessments are included in several screening batteries for dyslexia, the association between impairments in literacy and deficits in postural stability could be due to the high co-occurrence of dyslexia with other developmental disorders in which impairments of motor behaviour are also prevalent. Methods: We identified 17 published studies that compared balance function between dyslexia and control samples and obtained effect-sizes for each. Contrast and association analyses were used to quantify the influence of hypothesised moderator variables on differences in effects across studies. Results: The mean effect-size of the balance deficit in dyslexia was .64 (95% CI ¼ .44–.78) with heterogeneous findings across the population of studies. Probable co-occurrence of other developmental disorders and variability in intelligence scores in the dyslexia samples were the strongest moderator variables of effect-size. Conclusions: Balance deficits are associated with dyslexia, but these effects are apparently more strongly related to third variables other than to reading ability. Deficits of balance may indicate increased risk of developmental disorder, but are unlikely to be uniquely associated with dyslexia. Keywords: Meta-analysis, dyslexia, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, balance, postural stability. Abbreviations: ADHD: attention deficit, hyperactivity disorder; DCD: developmental coordination disorder; FSIQ: full-scale intelligence quotient.
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Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Software automates access to brain atlases

Interesting story in Science Daily re: new software that automates access to brain atlases.

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Book review. Jensen's Clocking the Mind

The first available review that I've seen of Arthur Jensen's recent book, Clocking the Mind, has just been posted at the Developing Intelligence blog. Take a peak. I do know that formal journal published reviews of this work are in the works (click here).

McGovern Institute for Brain Research

FYI. Check out the The McGovern Institute for Brain Research at MIT

As stated on the web page, this institute was "created at the start of this new century, with a mandate to use neuroscience to help people with brain disorders, and to ultimately benefit all of mankind by improving human communication and understanding."

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Sunday, December 17, 2006

CHC (Cattell-Horn-Carroll) listserv n=900+

I'm pleased to announce that the IAP-CHC listerv has recently surpassed the n=900+ membership threshold. Only approximately 100 more members and we shall reach a critical mass of n=1000. If you are a routine reader of IQs Corner Blog, you might want to join the CHC listserv in order to monitor/participate in ongoing CHC and intellectual assessment chatter.

Visit the link above to learn more about the CHC listerv. Below is a brief description.

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Friday, December 15, 2006

TMS device for depression

Thanks to Positive Technology Journal re: the post announcing that the FDA is considering the approval of a TMS (Transcranial magnetic stimulation) device to treat drepression.

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Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Mental time clock - fewer brain areas involved?

In prior posts re: mental/interval time-keeping, I have drawn on key neuroscience research articles regarding the potential brain areas/functions involved in the brain's master clock (this information was summarized in the "Interactive Metronome: Whats happening under the hood" on-line PPT slide show available on the right side of this blog) . This week I ran across a new fMRI study that questions the number and breadth of involvement of some of these key areas of the brain (viz., cerebullum, basal ganglia, frontal-striatal loop, dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, parietal lobe) in mental time-keeping. Below is the article reference and abstract. I believe the article speaks for itself.

As with all science, this is one more bit of information that needs to be added to the extant research knowledge base. The preponderance of research to date suggests the involvement of the areas summarized above, but this new study needs to examined (and hopefully replicated) so that possible adjustments to current thinking can be modified as needed.

I've also placed this article in the the "key research articles" section of this blog.

Livesey, A., Wall, M. Smith, A. (2007). Time perception: Manipulation of task difficulty dissociates clock functions from other cognitive demands Neuropsychologia,45,321–331. (click here to view)

Abstract (italics added by blogmaster)
  • Previous studies suggest the involvement in timing functions of a surprisingly extensive network of human brain regions. But it is likely that while some of these regions play a fundamental role in timing, others are activated by associated task demands such as memory and decisionmaking. In two experiments, time perception (duration discrimination) was studied under two conditions of task difficulty and neural activation was compared using fMRI. Brain activation during duration discrimination was contrasted with activation evoked in a control condition (colour discrimination) that used identical stimuli. In the first experiment, the control task was slightly easier than the time task. Multiple brain areas were activated, in line with previous studies. These included the prefrontal cortex, cerebellum, inferior parietal lobule and striatum. In the second experiment, the control task was made more difficult than the time task. Much of the differential time-related activity seen in the first experiment disappeared and in some regions (inferior parietal cortex, pre-SMA and parts of prefrontal cortex) it reversed in polarity. This suggests that such activity is not specifically concerned with timing functions, but reflects the relative cognitive demands of the two tasks. However, three areas of time-related activation survived the task-difficulty manipulation: (i) a small region at the confluence of the inferior frontal gyrus and the anterior insula, bilaterally, (ii) a small portion of the left supramarginal gyrus and (iii) the putamen. We argue that the extent of the timing “network” has been significantly over-estimated in the past and that only these three relatively small regions can safely be regarded as being directly concerned with duration judgements.
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Monday, December 11, 2006

More on Go (olfactory abilities)

Thanks to Omni Brain for the FYI post regarding the "oflactometer" from the Berkely Olfactory Research Project (BORP). In prior posts I've highlighted emerging research that implicates Go (General olfactory abilities) as an important component of Cattell-Horn-Carroll (CHC theory of cognitive abilities).

Brain snow globe..I want

I wish I could figure out how to get one of these brain snow globes.

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Interesting/informative interview on Sharp Brains with Dr. Elkhonon Goldberg, a clinical professor of neurology at New York University School of Medicine. Topics covered include neuroimaging, the frontal lobes and the executive functions, cognitive training and brain fitness programs, and emotions and art.

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Sunday, December 10, 2006

Blog status - blogmaster has been recovering

Regular readers may have noticed a dip in my blog activity the past 1.5 weeks. As noted previously, I alerted readers to the fact that I was going to be "on the road again." That expected decrease in blog activity was extended for a longer period of time due to my involvement (as a passenger) in a car accident on 12-1-02.

Without getting into details, I've been dealing with some back, neck and shoulder pain and muscle problems this past week and have found it difficult to focus on work, partially due to the side effects of the pain medication and my increased need to sleep and rest. This weekend I believe I've rounded the corner with regard to the pain and my need for extra rest. I hope to gradually increase my blogging activity this week.

Thanks for your patience. The good news is that the hit counter for this humble blog has remained steady...which provides me the motivation to get back in the bloggin' saddle.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Tech tidbit - interactive communication pillows

Thanks to Positive Technology for the interesting post regarding "interactive pillows" that are designed to "enhance long distance communication." Very cool. Not sure how I would use one, but being someone who lives on the bleeding edge of technology, I may need to add it to my XMAS list

Exec. Function and Clinical Neuropsych PPT

Chris Chatham, the author of the fantastic Developing Intelligence blog, has made available (in PPT or PDF format) a presentation he put together on clinical neuropsychology and executive function. Below is what Chris says about his presentation. His presentation can be downloaded for free from his site. Kudos to Chris.
  • This presention summarizes the essential findings from three studies on the clinical neuropsychology of executive function. It begins with a preface on the basic differences between cognitive neuroscience and clinical neuropsychology, then delving into the difficulties facing any attempt to use theories of executive dysfunction in clinical neuropsych (this section is based on the Royall et al paper)

  • The second half of the presentation deals with factor analyses of executive dysfunction among patients with traumatic brain injury, and ways in which patients with traumatic brain injury can be assessed and possibly rehabilitated.

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