Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior

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Westwood, CA, United States

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News Article | May 10, 2017
Site: www.eurekalert.org

Study shows that slow-moving meditation practice works just as well as talk therapy, and better than medication If you've ever had insomnia, you know worrying about sleep makes it even harder to fall asleep. For the 30 percent of breast cancer survivors who have insomnia, sleepless nights can lead to depression, fatigue and a heightened risk of disease. Now, new UCLA research shows that tai chi, a form of slow-moving meditation, is just as effective as cognitive behavioral therapy, which has been considered the "gold standard" treatment, with both showing enduring benefits over one year. The results, published today in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, show that tai chi promotes robust improvements in sleep health in breast cancer survivors with insomnia, with additional benefits of improving depressive symptoms and fatigue. Furthermore, both tai chi and cognitive behavioral therapy, which is a form of talk therapy, showed similar rates of clinically significant improvements in symptoms or remission of insomnia. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine considers cognitive behavioral therapy the treatment of choice for insomnia. This approach involves identifying and changing negative thoughts and behaviors that are affecting the ability to fall asleep and stay asleep. While cognitive behavioral therapy treats insomnia, it's too expensive for some people and there is a shortage of trained professionals in the field, said Dr. Michael Irwin, the study's lead author and a UCLA professor of psychiatry and director of the Cousins Center for Psychoneuroimmunology at the Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior. "Because of those limitations, we need community-based interventions like tai chi," Irwin said. Free or low-cost tai chi classes are often offered at libraries, community centers or outdoors in parks. Do-it-yourselfers can find instructional videos on YouTube and smartphone apps. In previous research, Irwin and colleagues found that tai chi, which relaxes the body and slows breathing, reduced inflammation in breast cancer survivors with the potential to lower risk for disease including cancer recurrence. To test tai chi's effect on insomnia, researchers recruited 90 breast cancer survivors, who had trouble sleeping three or more times per week and who also reported feeling depressed and fatigue during the daytime. The participants ranged in age from 42 to 83 and were randomly assigned to weekly cognitive behavioral therapy sessions or weekly tai chi instruction for three months. The tai chi group learned a Westernized form of the practice called tai chi chih. The researchers evaluated the participants at intervals for the next 12 months to determine if they were having insomnia symptoms, as well as symptoms of fatigue and depression, and determined whether they showed improvement. At 15 months, nearly half of the participants in both groups (46.7 percent in the tai chi group; 43.7 percent in the behavioral therapy group) continued to show robust, clinically significant improvement in their insomnia symptoms. "Breast cancer survivors often don't just come to physicians with insomnia. They have insomnia, fatigue and depression," said Irwin, who is also a member of the UCLA Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center. "And this intervention, tai chi, impacted all those outcomes in a similar way, with benefits that were as robust as the gold standard treatment for insomnia." Many of the tai chi participants continued to practice on their own after the study concluded, reflecting the motivation he's observed among breast cancer survivor, Irwin said. "They often are seeking health-promoting activities because they recognize that the mindfulness approach, or health-based lifestyle interventions, may actually protect them," he said. The study's other authors include Carmen Carrillo, Perry Nicassio, Richard Olmstead and Nina Sadeghi, all of the Cousins Center for Psychoneuroimmunology; Dr. Patricia Ganz of the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health and JCCC; and Julienne Bower professor of psychology and a member of the JCCC. The study was supported by grants from the National Cancer Institute (R01 CA 119159), the National Institutes of Health (R01-AG034588, R01-AG026364, R01 CA160245-01, CA195637-01) and the Cousins Center for Psychoneuroimmunology at UCLA's Semel Institute.


News Article | September 9, 2016
Site: www.chromatographytechniques.com

Picture a little boy imitating his father shaving in the mirror or a little girl wobbling proudly in her mother’s high heels. From infancy, we learn by watching other people, then use those memories to help us predict outcomes and make decisions in the future. Now a UCLA–Caltech study has pinpointed the individual neurons in the brain that support observational learning. Published Sept. 6 in Nature Communications, the findings could provide scientists with a better understanding of how the brain goes awry in conditions like learning disorders and social anxiety disorder. In a secondary finding, the research team also discovered that neurons in the same region fire in response to schadenfreude — the pleasure of seeing someone else make a blunder or lose a game. “Observational learning is the cornerstone for our ability to change behavior,” said senior author Itzhak Fried, a professor of neurosurgery and psychiatry at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior. “It’s human nature to want to learn from other people’s mistakes rather than commit your own.” “The ability to quickly learn from others can give humans a critical edge over other species. The skill also contributes to someone feeling he or she is a member of one culture versus another,” said lead author Michael Hill, a former UCLA and California Institute of Technology scientist now based at the Swiss National Science Foundation: Prior to the study, Fried implanted electrodes deep inside the brains of people with epilepsy being treated at UCLA — a standard medical procedure used to identify the origins of epileptic seizures prior to surgery. The researchers used the electrodes to record the activity of individual neurons in the brains of 10 people playing a card game. Players were instructed to draw a card from one of two decks. One deck included 70 percent of the winning cards, while the other deck contained only 30 percent of the winning cards. Each person took turns choosing cards on his or her own and then watched two other players draw cards from the same decks. By learning from the results of their own and the other players’ choices, the participants quickly zeroed in on the deck containing better cards. The research team was surprised to discover that individual neurons deep in the frontal lobe reacted as the patient considered whether they or their opponents would pick a winning card. Called the anterior cingulate cortex, the region plays an important role in high-level functions like decision making, reward anticipation, social interaction and emotion. “The firing rate of individual neurons altered according to what the patient expected to happen,” Hill said. “For example, would their opponents win or lose? The same cells also changed their response after the patient discovered whether their prediction was on target, reflecting their learning process.” The findings suggest that individual nerve cells in the person’s brain used the details gleaned by observing the other players to calculate which deck to choose a card from next. “The anterior cingulate cortex acts as the central executive of human decision-making, yet we know little about the neuronal machinery at this level,” said Fried, who is also a professor of neurosurgery at the Sackler Faculty of Medicine at Tel Aviv University. According to the authors, the findings will help scientists better understand the organization of neurons in the anterior cingulate cortex and exactly what they do. Fried and Hill propose that active stimulation of the neurons in the anterior cingulate cortex could influence human behavior and have possible benefits for people struggling with learning disabilities or difficulty reading social cues. The researchers observed that the cells in the same region fired vigorously each time a person won or the other players lost, and decreased their activity whenever the person lost or the other players won. “While obviously we don’t know precisely what it is that these neurons encode, it’s fascinating to see something like schadenfreude reflected in the activity of individual neurons in the human brain,” Hill said.


News Article | September 12, 2016
Site: www.biosciencetechnology.com

Picture a little boy imitating his father shaving in the mirror or a little girl wobbling proudly in her mother's high heels. From infancy, we learn by watching other people, then use those memories to help us predict outcomes and make decisions in the future. Now a UCLA-Caltech study has pinpointed the individual neurons in the brain that support observational learning. Published this week in Nature Communications, the findings could provide scientists with a better understanding of how the brain goes awry in conditions like learning disorders and social anxiety disorder. In a secondary finding, the research team also discovered that neurons in the same region fire in response to schadenfreude -- the pleasure of seeing someone else make a blunder or lose a game. "Observational learning is the cornerstone for our ability to change behavior," said senior author Dr. Itzhak Fried, a professor of neurosurgery and psychiatry at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior. "It's human nature to want to learn from other people's mistakes rather than commit your own." Said lead author Michael Hill, a former UCLA and California Institute of Technology scientist now based at the Swiss National Science Foundation: "The ability to quickly learn from others can give humans a critical edge over other species. The skill also contributes to someone feeling he or she is a member of one culture versus another." Prior to the study, Fried implanted electrodes deep inside the brains of people with epilepsy being treated at UCLA -- a standard medical procedure used to identify the origins of epileptic seizures prior to surgery. The researchers used the electrodes to record the activity of individual neurons in the brains of 10 people playing a card game. Players were instructed to draw a card from one of two decks. One deck included 70 percent of the winning cards, while the other deck contained only 30 percent of the winning cards. Each person took turns choosing cards on his or her own and then watched two other players draw cards from the same decks. By learning from the results of their own and the other players' choices, the participants quickly zeroed in on the deck containing better cards. The research team was surprised to discover that individual neurons deep in the frontal lobe reacted as the patient considered whether they or their opponents would pick a winning card. Called the anterior cingulate cortex, the region plays an important role in high-level functions like decision making, reward anticipation, social interaction and emotion. "The firing rate of individual neurons altered according to what the patient expected to happen," Hill said. "For example, would their opponents win or lose? The same cells also changed their response after the patient discovered whether their prediction was on target, reflecting their learning process." The findings suggest that individual nerve cells in the person's brain used the details gleaned by observing the other players to calculate which deck to choose a card from next. "The anterior cingulate cortex acts as the central executive of human decision-making, yet we know little about the neuronal machinery at this level," said Fried, who is also a professor of neurosurgery at the Sackler Faculty of Medicine at Tel Aviv University. According to the authors, the findings will help scientists better understand the organization of neurons in the anterior cingulate cortex and exactly what they do. Fried and Hill propose that active stimulation of the neurons in the anterior cingulate cortex could influence human behavior and have possible benefits for people struggling with learning disabilities or difficulty reading social cues. The researchers observed that the cells in the same region fired vigorously each time a person won or the other players lost, and decreased their activity whenever the person lost or the other players won. "While obviously we don't know precisely what it is that these neurons encode, it's fascinating to see something like schadenfreude reflected in the activity of individual neurons in the human brain," Hill said.


Braslow J.T.,Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior | Braslow J.T.,University of California at Los Angeles
Annual Review of Clinical Psychology | Year: 2013

Recovery (also known as the "recovery orientation," "recovery vision," or "recovery philosophy") has been the dominant paradigm shaping current mental health policy for the past decade. It is claimed to be a revolutionary departure from the past and a guide to policy that will transform outcomes of severe mental illness. This review looks critically at the history of recovery and examines the ways in which this history has shaped the values, beliefs, and practices of current recovery-based policies. Recovery is a treatment philosophy that emerged from the ruins of deinstitutionalization and the psychopharmaceutical revolution. Yet paradoxically, recovery reflects many of the same ideas that made deinstitutionalization and the era of psychopharmacology possible. Further, history reveals how the recovery movement is deeply indebted to and embedded within the sociocultural values of neoliberalism that have shaped public policy since the presidential election of Ronald Reagan in 1980. Copyright © 2013 by Annual Reviews.


Jeste S.S.,Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior | Geschwind D.H.,University of California at Los Angeles
Nature Reviews Neurology | Year: 2014

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) represents a heterogeneous group of disorders, which presents a substantial challenge to diagnosis and treatment. Over the past decade, considerable progress has been made in the identification of genetic risk factors for ASD that define specific mechanisms and pathways underlying the associated behavioural deficits. In this Review, we discuss how some of the latest advances in the genetics of ASD have facilitated parsing of the phenotypic heterogeneity of this disorder. We argue that only through such advances will we begin to define endophenotypes that can benefit from targeted, hypothesis-driven treatments. We review the latest technologies used to identify and characterize the genetics underlying ASD and then consider three themes-single-gene disorders, the gender bias in ASD, and the genetics of neurological comorbidities-that highlight ways in which we can use genetics to define the many phenotypes within the autism spectrum. We also present current clinical guidelines for genetic testing in ASD and their implications for prognosis and treatment. © 2014 Macmillan Publishers Limited. All rights reserved.


News Article | August 25, 2016
Site: www.biosciencetechnology.com

A 25-year-old man recovering from a coma has made remarkable progress following a treatment at UCLA to jump-start his brain using ultrasound. The technique uses sonic stimulation to excite the neurons in the thalamus, an egg-shaped structure that serves as the brain's central hub for processing information. "It's almost as if we were jump-starting the neurons back into function," said Martin Monti, the study's lead author and a UCLA associate professor of psychology and neurosurgery. "Until now, the only way to achieve this was a risky surgical procedure known as deep brain stimulation, in which electrodes are implanted directly inside the thalamus," he said. "Our approach directly targets the thalamus but is noninvasive." Monti said the researchers expected the positive result, but he cautioned that the procedure requires further study on additional patients before they determine whether it could be used consistently to help other people recovering from comas. "It is possible that we were just very lucky and happened to have stimulated the patient just as he was spontaneously recovering," Monti said. A report on the treatment is published in the journal Brain Stimulation. This is the first time the approach has been used to treat severe brain injury. The technique, called low-intensity focused ultrasound pulsation, was pioneered by Alexander Bystritsky, a UCLA professor of psychiatry and biobehavioral sciences in the Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior and a co-author of the study. Bystritsky is also a founder of Brainsonix, a Sherman Oaks, California-based company that provided the device the researchers used in the study. That device, about the size of a coffee cup saucer, creates a small sphere of acoustic energy that can be aimed at different regions of the brain to excite brain tissue. For the new study, researchers placed it by the side of the man's head and activated it 10 times for 30 seconds each, in a 10-minute period. Monti said the device is safe because it emits only a small amount of energy -- less than a conventional Doppler ultrasound. Before the procedure began, the man showed only minimal signs of being conscious and of understanding speech -- for example, he could perform small, limited movements when asked. By the day after the treatment, his responses had improved measurably. Three days later, the patient had regained full consciousness and full language comprehension, and he could reliably communicate by nodding his head "yes" or shaking his head "no." He even made a fist-bump gesture to say goodbye to one of his doctors. "The changes were remarkable," Monti said. The technique targets the thalamus because, in people whose mental function is deeply impaired after a coma, thalamus performance is typically diminished. And medications that are commonly prescribed to people who are coming out of a coma target the thalamus only indirectly. Under the direction of Paul Vespa, a UCLA professor of neurology and neurosurgery at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, the researchers plan to test the procedure on several more people beginning this fall at the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center. Those tests will be conducted in partnership with the UCLA Brain Injury Research Center and funded in part by the Dana Foundation and the Tiny Blue Dot Foundation. If the technology helps other people recovering from coma, Monti said, it could eventually be used to build a portable device -- perhaps incorporated into a helmet -- as a low-cost way to help "wake up" patients, perhaps even those who are in a vegetative or minimally conscious state. Currently, there is almost no effective treatment for such patients, he said.


News Article | August 24, 2016
Site: www.chromatographytechniques.com

A 25-year-old man recovering from a coma has made remarkable progress following a treatment at UCLA to jump-start his brain using ultrasound. The technique uses sonic stimulation to excite the neurons in the thalamus, an egg-shaped structure that serves as the brain's central hub for processing information. "It's almost as if we were jump-starting the neurons back into function," said Martin Monti, the study's lead author and a UCLA associate professor of psychology and neurosurgery. "Until now, the only way to achieve this was a risky surgical procedure known as deep brain stimulation, in which electrodes are implanted directly inside the thalamus," he said. "Our approach directly targets the thalamus but is noninvasive." Monti said the researchers expected the positive result, but he cautioned that the procedure requires further study on additional patients before they determine whether it could be used consistently to help other people recovering from comas. "It is possible that we were just very lucky and happened to have stimulated the patient just as he was spontaneously recovering," Monti said. A report on the treatment is published in the journal Brain Stimulation. This is the first time the approach has been used to treat severe brain injury. The technique, called low-intensity focused ultrasound pulsation, was pioneered by Alexander Bystritsky, a UCLA professor of psychiatry and biobehavioral sciences in the Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior and a co-author of the study. Bystritsky is also a founder of Brainsonix, a Sherman Oaks, California-based company that provided the device the researchers used in the study. That device, about the size of a coffee cup saucer, creates a small sphere of acoustic energy that can be aimed at different regions of the brain to excite brain tissue. For the new study, researchers placed it by the side of the man's head and activated it 10 times for 30 seconds each, in a 10-minute period. Monti said the device is safe because it emits only a small amount of energy—less than a conventional Doppler ultrasound. Before the procedure began, the man showed only minimal signs of being conscious and of understanding speech—for example, he could perform small, limited movements when asked. By the day after the treatment, his responses had improved measurably. Three days later, the patient had regained full consciousness and full language comprehension, and he could reliably communicate by nodding his head "yes" or shaking his head "no." He even made a fist-bump gesture to say goodbye to one of his doctors. "The changes were remarkable," Monti said. The technique targets the thalamus because, in people whose mental function is deeply impaired after a coma, thalamus performance is typically diminished. And medications that are commonly prescribed to people who are coming out of a coma target the thalamus only indirectly. Under the direction of Paul Vespa, a UCLA professor of neurology and neurosurgery at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, the researchers plan to test the procedure on several more people beginning this fall at the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center. Those tests will be conducted in partnership with the UCLA Brain Injury Research Center and funded in part by the Dana Foundation and the Tiny Blue Dot Foundation. If the technology helps other people recovering from coma, Monti said, it could eventually be used to build a portable device—perhaps incorporated into a helmet—as a low-cost way to help "wake up" patients, perhaps even those who are in a vegetative or minimally conscious state. Currently, there is almost no effective treatment for such patients, he said.


News Article | January 28, 2016
Site: www.biosciencetechnology.com

An average of 30 years had passed since the traumatic events that had left them depressed, anxious, irritable, hypervigilant, unable to sleep well and prone to nightmares. But for 12 people who were involved in a UCLA-led study — survivors of rape, car accidents, domestic abuse and other traumas — an unobtrusive patch on the forehead provided considerable relief from post-traumatic stress disorder. “We’re talking about patients for whom illness had almost become a way of life,” said Dr. Andrew Leuchter, the study’s senior author, a UCLA professor of psychiatry and director of the neuromodulation division at UCLA’s Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior. “Yet they were coming in and saying, ‘For the first time in years I slept through the night,’ or ‘My nightmares are gone.’ The effect was extraordinarily powerful.” The research, which has been presented at three scholarly conferences and published in the journal Neuromodulation: Technology at the Neural Interface, revealed the first evidence that trigeminal nerve stimulation, or TNS, holds promise for treating chronic PTSD. “Most patients with PTSD do get some benefit from existing treatments, but the great majority still have symptoms and suffer for years from those symptoms,” said Leuchter, who is also a staff psychiatrist at the VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System. “This could be a breakthrough for patients who have not been helped adequately by existing treatments.” Based on the study, which was conducted primarily with civilian volunteers, the scientists are recruiting military veterans, who are at an even greater risk for PTSD, for the next phase of their research. TNS is a new form of neuromodulation, a class of treatment in which external energy sources are used to make subtle adjustments to the brain’s electrical wiring — sometimes with devices that are implanted in the body, but increasingly with external devices. The approach is gaining popularity for treating drug-resistant neurological and psychiatric disorders. TNS harnesses current from a 9-volt battery to power a patch that is placed on the user’s forehead. While the person sleeps, the patch sends a low-level current to cranial nerves that run through the forehead, sending signals to parts of the brain that help regulate mood, behavior and cognition, including the amygdala and media prefrontal cortex, as well as the autonomic nervous system. Prior research has shown abnormal activity in those areas of the brains of PTSD sufferers. “The chance to have an impact on debilitating diseases with this elegant and simple technology is very satisfying,” said Dr. Ian Cook, the study’s lead author. Cook co-invented TNS at UCLA; now on leave from his faculty position, he is serving as chief medical officer at Los Angeles-based Neurosigma, Inc., which is licensing the technology and funding the research. Neurosigma is already marketing the technology overseas and has plans to make it available to patients in the U.S. PTSD affects approximately 3.5 percent of the U.S. population but a much higher proportion of military veterans. An estimated 17 percent of active military personnel experience symptoms, and some 30 percent of veterans returning from service in Iraq and Afghanistan have had symptoms. Sufferers often have difficulty working with others, raising children and maintaining healthy relationships. Many try to avoid situations that could trigger flashbacks, which makes them reluctant to socialize or venture from their homes, leaving them isolated. People with the disorder are six times more likely than their healthy counterparts to commit suicide, and they have an increased risk for marital difficulties and dropping out of school. For the recently completed study, the researchers recruited people with chronic PTSD and severe depression who were already being treated with psychotherapy, medication or both. While continuing their conventional treatment, the volunteers wore the patch while they slept, for eight hours a night. Before and after the eight-week study, the study subjects completed questionnaires about the severity of their symptoms and the extent to which the disorders affected their work, parenting and socializing. The severity of participants’ PTSD symptoms dropped by an average of more than 30 percent, and the severity of their depression dropped by an average of more than 50 percent, the study reports. In fact, for one-quarter of the study subjects, PTSD symptoms went into remission. In addition, study subjects generally said they felt more able to participate in their daily activities. Leuchter is working with the VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System to recruit 74 veterans who have served in the military since 9/11 for the study’s next phase. Half will receive real treatment and half will be given a fake TNS patch, in the way a placebo pill would be used in a drug trial. At the end of the study, subjects who were using the fake patch will have the option of undergoing treatment with an actual TNS system. TNS treatment has been shown to be effective in treating drug-resistant epilepsy and treatment-resistant depression. “PTSD is one of the invisible wounds of war,” Cook said. “The scars are inside but they can be just as debilitating as visible scars. So it’s tremendous to be working on a contribution that could improve the lives of so many brave and courageous people who have made sacrifices for the good of our country.”


News Article | January 28, 2016
Site: www.rdmag.com

An average of 30 years had passed since the traumatic events that had left them depressed, anxious, irritable, hypervigilant, unable to sleep well and prone to nightmares. But for 12 people who were involved in a UCLA-led study -- survivors of rape, car accidents, domestic abuse and other traumas -- an unobtrusive patch on the forehead provided considerable relief from post-traumatic stress disorder. "We're talking about patients for whom illness had almost become a way of life," said Dr. Andrew Leuchter, the study's senior author, a UCLA professor of psychiatry and director of the neuromodulation division at UCLA's Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior. "Yet they were coming in and saying, 'For the first time in years I slept through the night,' or 'My nightmares are gone.' The effect was extraordinarily powerful." The research, which has been presented at three scholarly conferences and published in the journal Neuromodulation: Technology at the Neural Interface, revealed the first evidence that trigeminal nerve stimulation, or TNS, holds promise for treating chronic PTSD. "Most patients with PTSD do get some benefit from existing treatments, but the great majority still have symptoms and suffer for years from those symptoms," said Leuchter, who is also a staff psychiatrist at the VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System. "This could be a breakthrough for patients who have not been helped adequately by existing treatments." Based on the study, which was conducted primarily with civilian volunteers, the scientists are recruiting military veterans, who are at an even greater risk for PTSD, for the next phase of their research. TNS is a new form of neuromodulation, a class of treatment in which external energy sources are used to make subtle adjustments to the brain's electrical wiring -- sometimes with devices that are implanted in the body, but increasingly with external devices. The approach is gaining popularity for treating drug-resistant neurological and psychiatric disorders. TNS harnesses current from a 9-volt battery to power a patch that is placed on the user's forehead. While the person sleeps, the patch sends a low-level current to cranial nerves that run through the forehead, sending signals to parts of the brain that help regulate mood, behavior and cognition, including the amygdala and media prefrontal cortex, as well as the autonomic nervous system. Prior research has shown abnormal activity in those areas of the brains of PTSD sufferers. "The chance to have an impact on debilitating diseases with this elegant and simple technology is very satisfying," said Dr. Ian Cook, the study's lead author. Cook co-invented TNS at UCLA; now on leave from his faculty position, he is serving as chief medical officer at Los Angeles-based Neurosigma, Inc., which is licensing the technology and funding the research. Neurosigma is already marketing the technology overseas and has plans to make it available to patients in the U.S. PTSD affects approximately 3.5 percent of the U.S. population but a much higher proportion of military veterans. An estimated 17 percent of active military personnel experience symptoms, and some 30 percent of veterans returning from service in Iraq and Afghanistan have had symptoms. Sufferers often have difficulty working with others, raising children and maintaining healthy relationships. Many try to avoid situations that could trigger flashbacks, which makes them reluctant to socialize or venture from their homes, leaving them isolated. People with the disorder are six times more likely than their healthy counterparts to commit suicide, and they have an increased risk for marital difficulties and dropping out of school. For the recently completed study, the researchers recruited people with chronic PTSD and severe depression who were already being treated with psychotherapy, medication or both. While continuing their conventional treatment, the volunteers wore the patch while they slept, for eight hours a night. Before and after the eight-week study, the study subjects completed questionnaires about the severity of their symptoms and the extent to which the disorders affected their work, parenting and socializing. The severity of participants' PTSD symptoms dropped by an average of more than 30 percent, and the severity of their depression dropped by an average of more than 50 percent, the study reports. In fact, for one-quarter of the study subjects, PTSD symptoms went into remission. In addition, study subjects generally said they felt more able to participate in their daily activities. Leuchter is working with the VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System to recruit 74 veterans who have served in the military since 9/11 for the study's next phase. Half will receive real treatment and half will be given a fake TNS patch, in the way a placebo pill would be used in a drug trial. At the end of the study, subjects who were using the fake patch will have the option of undergoing treatment with an actual TNS system. TNS treatment has been shown to be effective in treating drug-resistant epilepsy and treatment-resistant depression. "PTSD is one of the invisible wounds of war," Cook said. "The scars are inside but they can be just as debilitating as visible scars. So it's tremendous to be working on a contribution that could improve the lives of so many brave and courageous people who have made sacrifices for the good of our country."


Lenartowicz A.,Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior | Loo S.K.,Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior
Current Psychiatry Reports | Year: 2014

Electroencephalography (EEG) has, historically, played a focal role in the assessment of neural function in children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). We review here the most recent developments in the utility of EEG in the diagnosis of ADHD, with emphasis on the most commonly used and emerging EEG metrics and their reliability in diagnostic classification. Considering the clinical heterogeneity of ADHD and the complexity of information available from the EEG signals, we suggest that considerable benefits are to be gained from multivariate analyses and a focus towards understanding of the neural generators of EEG. We conclude that while EEG cannot currently be used as a diagnostic tool, vast developments in analytical and technological tools in its domain anticipate future progress in its utility in the clinical setting. © 2014, Springer Science+Business Media New York.

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