Your Weekly Dose of #5ThoughtsFriday: A description of what we think is important at BIAMD
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Here are the 5 things we thought were
worth sharing with you this week:
Overturning decades of neuroanatomy dogma, a new study shows that the thalamus is not a critical part of the brain pathway involved in keeping humans awake and conscious. The findings could lead to new, better targets for treating coma and other disorders of consciousness.
With a finding that will "rewrite neuroanatomy textbooks," University of Iowa neurologist Aaron Boes, MD, PhD, and his colleagues show that the thalamus is not a critical part of the brain pathway involved in keeping humans awake and conscious.

The finding upends decades of medical dogma that placed the thalamus as a critical relay point for the signals originating in the brainstem and ending in the cortex that maintain consciousness (wakefulness). The new study, published online Nov. 12 as a preprint in the Annals of Neurology, provides the first systematic evidence from humans that questions the routing of this critical pathway. The study evaluates patients with strokes of the thalamus and shows that even extensive injury to the thalamus does not severely impair consciousness.

"Beyond just challenging a long-standing dogma that has persisted for decades, what's really exciting about this finding is that it has implications for clinical care for patients," says Boes, UI assistant professor of pediatrics and neurology and a member of the Iowa Neuroscience Institute. "Based on the old understanding, people have tried to stimulate the thalamus for disorders of consciousness without much success. Our results suggest that was the wrong target to go after and that the hypothalamus or basal forebrain would be better targets."

CLICK HERE for more on how the brain remains conscious.
A headset that sends electricity through your brain as you sit on the sofa at home doesn’t sound like the most obvious—or safest—immediate treatment for depression.

But Swedish company Flow Neuroscience has created exactly this, and they plan to launch it in Europe next year. The therapy is called transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS), and involves attaching two electrodes to either side of one’s forehead, usually on a headband to keep them in place, sending a very weak electrical signal through the brain. It’s been touted as a way to treat depression, anxiety, chronic pain, and more.

Flow isn’t the first wearable to use tDCS for depression. South Korean startup Ybrain’s Mindd tDCS headband is already available in hospitals around Seoul. And New York-based Soterix has a tDCS treatment that is approved for depression in Europe. In the US there are no FDA-approved tDCS devices for treating depression, but doctors can still choose to use tDCS for depression as an “off-label” treatment.

If approved, however, Flow will be the first tDCS headband that someone can buy online and use to treat depression in their own home, without a prescription or the supervision of a doctor.

CLICK HERE to check out the pros and cons.
Researchers report the first direct evidence that
the cerebellum does more than just control muscle activity.
It also plays a role in cognitive functions.
​It is known that certain areas of the brain are responsible for certain functions of the body. The cerebellum, a structure found in the back of the skull, is known to be important for the control of movement, while the frontal cortex is responsible for cognitive functions such as short-term memory and decision making. However, as researchers continue to unlock the mystery of how billions of neurons in the brain interact, it is becoming more apparent that it is not that black and white.

Dr. Nuo Li, assistant professor of neuroscience and a McNair Scholar at Baylor College of Medicine, and his colleagues have found the first direct evidence that the cerebellum does more than just control muscle activity. It also plays a role in cognitive functions.

"We knew that the frontal cortex and the cerebellum are anatomically connected with each other," Li said. "We also knew that in humans, cerebellar damage has been known to cause memory or planning problems, so the two might be connected."

Li and his colleagues examined activity in the cerebellum during time periods when animals are not moving, but instead are thinking. To do this, the researchers trained mice in a task that required them to make decisions based on short-term memory. Mice were shown a single object in a specific location. After a delay, the animal had to remember where the object was and indicate its location by licking in a left or right direction. The delay represented a moment when the mice had to use short-term memory to recall where the object was before acting out the correct movement.

CLICK HERE for their findings. Muscle Memory, Anyone?
2) What We Are Listening To That You Might Enjoy
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5) Quote We Are Contemplating...
“Nothing is more honorable than a grateful heart.”


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