Addictive behavior and epigenetic DNA methylation

This 2018 McGill paper reviewed findings from animal and human studies on the relationships between drug-seeking behavior and epigenetic DNA methylation: “Although there is an increasing line of evidence from preclinical models of addiction, there are only a few human studies that systematically assessed DNA methylation in addiction. Most of the studies were done on … Continue reading Addictive behavior and epigenetic DNA methylation

The lifelong impact of maternal postpartum behavior

This 2018 French/Italian/Swiss rodent study was an extension of the work done by the group of researchers who performed Prenatal stress produces offspring who as adults have cognitive, emotional, and memory deficiencies and Treating prenatal stress-related disorders with an oxytocin receptor agonist: “Reduction of maternal behavior [nursing behavior, grooming, licking, carrying pups] was predictive of … Continue reading The lifelong impact of maternal postpartum behavior

Confusion may be misinterpreted as altruism and prosocial behavior

This 2015 Oxford human study of altruism found: “Division of people into distinct social types relies on the assumption that an individual’s decisions in public-goods games can be used to accurately measure their social preferences. Specifically, that greater contributions to the cooperative project in the game reflect a greater valuing of the welfare of others, … Continue reading Confusion may be misinterpreted as altruism and prosocial behavior

Are hormone ratios useful in explaining health? Behavior? Neurobiology? Anything?

This 2015 Zurich human review addressed: “A remarkable lack of discussion on the meaning and interpretation of frequently used hormone ratios. The interpretation of hormone ratios is complicated and in many cases not sufficiently supported from a theoretical point of view. Based on the assumption that the balance between two interdependent hormones determines their eventual … Continue reading Are hormone ratios useful in explaining health? Behavior? Neurobiology? Anything?

Stress consequences on gut bacteria, behavior, immune system, and neurologic function

This 2015 Canadian rodent study found: “Chronic social defeat induced behavioral changes that were associated with reduced richness and diversity of the gut microbial community. The degree of deficits in social, but not exploratory behavior was correlated with group differences between the microbial community profile. Defeated mice also exhibited reduced abundance of pathways involved in … Continue reading Stress consequences on gut bacteria, behavior, immune system, and neurologic function

A problematic study of testosterone’s influence on behavior and brain measurements

This 2015 US/Canadian human study of people ages 6 to 22 years found: “Testosterone-specific associations between amygdala volume and key prefrontal areas involved in emotional regulation and impulse control: Testosterone-specific modulation of the covariance between the amygdala and medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC); A significant relationship between amygdala-mPFC covariance and levels of aggression; and Mediation effects … Continue reading A problematic study of testosterone’s influence on behavior and brain measurements

The cerebellum’s role in human behavior and emotions

This 2016 Italian human review considered the lower brain’s contributions to an individual’s behavior and temperament: “In evidencing associations between personality factors and neurobiological measures, it seems evident that the cerebellum has not been up to now thought as having a key role in personality. Cerebellar volumes correlate positively with novelty seeking scores and negatively … Continue reading The cerebellum’s role in human behavior and emotions

Inflexible behavior may be a byproduct of stress

This 2015 German human study found: “15-mo-old infants exposed to stress thereafter kept performing a previously effective action, even after the action suddenly became ineffective. Infants in a no-stress control group flexibly adjusted their behavior by disengaging from the newly ineffective action in favor of exploring an alternative action. This finding demonstrates that stress impairs … Continue reading Inflexible behavior may be a byproduct of stress

Unconscious stimuli have a pervasive effect on our brain function and behavior

This 2015 Swedish human study, performed at the institution that awards the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, found: “Pain responses can be shaped by learning that takes place outside conscious awareness.” Images of neutral male faces were used as conditioning stimuli which the subjects were trained to associate with levels of pain. The concluding … Continue reading Unconscious stimuli have a pervasive effect on our brain function and behavior

An inhibitory gene that affects alcohol binge behavior

This 2015 La Jolla rodent study found that an inhibitory gene affected alcohol binging behavior: “Our study reveals the behavioral impact of this cellular effect, whereby the level of GIRK3 [the gene] expression in the VTA [ventral tegmental area] tunes ethanol intake under binge-type conditions: the more GIRK3, the less ethanol drinking.” GIRK3-silenced mice still … Continue reading An inhibitory gene that affects alcohol binge behavior