Q & As

Q&As with scientists on their research and its applications or special topics in the field.

Brain Stimulation + Imaging Pack Dual Punch to Treat, Unravel Depression Circuitry

Amit Etkin's lab is investigating the use of repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) in combination with whole-brain EEG and functional MRI (fMRI) to treat depression and to help unravel its underlying brain circuitry.

Q&A with Karel Svoboda

In April's Cerebrum article, "Imaging the Neural Symphony," a scientist who has helped pioneer this new form of technology—two-photon microscopy—writes about the development, current capabilities, and enormous promise that will permit neuroscientists go where they have never gone before.

Q&A with Lary C. Walker

In March Cerebrum article, “The Malignant Protein Puzzle,” two scientists who have collaborated for 30 years to identify the pathogenesis of Alzheimer’s disease and comprehend the role of abnormal proteins in neurodegeneration write about the latest advances in an area that has the potential to make a difference in helping people with dementia, Parkinson’s, CTE, ALS, and other neurodegenerative disorders. We asked co-author Walker to elaborate on some of their points.

Q&A with Richard Jope

In “Lithium to the Rescue,” the February Cerebrum article, Richard S. Jope, Ph.D., and Charles B. Nemeroff, M.D., Ph.D., write about the neuroprotective powers of lithium, an element Mother Nature has put in some drinking water sources. We asked Jope to elaborate on some of the points he and Nemeroff make in the article.

Q&A with Michael Baumann

In “The Changing Face of Recreational Drug Use,” the title of January’s Cerebrum article, author Michael H. Baumann, Ph.D., a staff scientist and facility head at the National Institute on Drug Abuse, Intramural Research Program, describes the complexity of the NPS problem, what is known about the molecular mechanisms of action, and the pharmacological effects of NPS. We asked him to elaborate on the article.

A Study of Motivation

It’s difficult to know what motivates people, but R. Alison Adcock’s lab is using imaging to study how states like desire and curiosity can facilitate “motivated memory.” Her work could have implications in the education field, but also in other learning contexts like psychotherapy and behavior change.

Q&A with Diane B. Howieson

There are now 67 countries where the life expectancy is at least 75 years old, according to World Health Organization figures from 2013. As people live longer, a better understanding of the aging brain is viewed as key to an improved quality of life. In “Cognitive Function and the Aging Brain: What to Expect,” the title of the December 2015 Cerebrum article, author Diane B. Howieson, Ph.D., a neuropsychologist and associate professor emerita of neurology at the Oregon Health & Science University, leans on her research and clinical experience to elaborate on the aging brain and offer insights in some other areas.

Q&A with John Ioannidis

His PLoS Medicine paper published in 2005 is the most accessed and downloaded paper in the journal’s history (with approximately 1.5 million hits) and his current citation-impact (exceeding 20,000 new citations in the scientific literature every year) is among the highest of all scientists. John P.S. Ioannidis, M.D., D.Sc. the author of the November 2015 Cerebrum article, “Failure to Replicate: Sound the Alarm,” discusses why most biomedical research papers (including even many of the most influential ones) later turn out to be wrong or exaggerated—and what can be done about it. The Q&A is also based on responses from talks sponsored by PloS and Stanford University.

High-Tech Imaging Targets Brain Damage in Kids with Malaria

Despite being a common disease, little is known about how malaria affects children’s brains. Using high-field MRI to scan children in sub-Saharan Africa, Dana grantee Michael Potchen and his team shed light on what may cause malaria-related brain swelling, which can lead to death and morbidity.

Binge-Eating Disorder: Q&A with Alice V. Ely, Ph.D. and Anne Cusak, Psy.D.

Researchers suspect that many more people suffer from binge-eating disorder (BED) than from anorexia and bulimia, but that cultural insensitivity and the lack of insurance coverage for treatment means that the disorder remains an invisible killer. In “The Binge and the Brain,” the October 2015 Cerebrum article, our authors lean on their research and clinical experience to discuss the state of BED neurobiological underpinnings and advances in treatment that can come from behavioral interventions that target and better understand mechanisms in the brain.

Prescription Drug Abuse: Q&A with Theodore J. Cicero

The current state of dependence is covered in "Prescription Drug Abuse: No End in Sight,” the September 2015 Cerebrum article. Author Theodore J. Cicero, Ph.D., traces the history and evolution of narcotics and leans on his own research, clinical, and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) experience to discuss an issue that many think has reached epidemic proportions.

Schizophrenia: Q&A with Patrick F. Sullivan

Baby steps may become giant steps in the next ten years for schizophrenia, an illness which impacts an estimated 2.4 million Americans and 1 in 100 people worldwide. While drugs have limited impact and there is no known cure, advances in genetics are opening new doors, thanks in part to an international consortium co-founded in July 2014 by psychiatric geneticist Patrick F. Sullivan, M.D., FRANZCP. In the July 2015 Cerebrum, “Schizophrenia: Hope on the Horizon,” the author writes about how the largest biological experiment in the history of psychiatry opened new avenues for exploring the biological underpinnings of schizophrenia and why he and his colleagues believe, after years of frustration, that new insights are coming soon.
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