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  1. dana.swarbrick

    Neuroscience and the Arts

    Neuroscience and the Arts: A Narrative Told Through Tweets Dr. @PatMetheny studies "where the brain meets the soul". Beautiful lecture at the intersection of art and science #SfN18 #SanDiego — Dana&TheMonsters (@DanaSwarbrick) November 3, 2018 Metheny received his PhD from Berklee School of Music and began instructing at the age of 18. Now he is a 20-time Grammy award winner who addressed an audience of thousands at the Society for Neuroscience conference in San Diego. The Society for Neuroscience hosted 30,000 international researchers with interests ranging from the molecular mechanisms of neural phenomena to clinical trials of rehabilitation interventions. During the annual lecture “Dialogues Between Neuroscience and Society”, guest speaker Metheny commented that he had never been in a room with so much combined skill and wisdom which he comically described as “units of human achievement, trademark”. Metheny is particularly well-known for his proficiency at improvising, a practice characteristic to jazz music in which musicians create melodies in real-time. Metheny described the state of flow experienced by improvisers as a place—specifically: “the rare, exalted territory where we can be free”. Dr. Charles Limb, who was on-stage interviewing Metheny, has explored the “neural trace of freedom” using functional neuroimaging. Limb found deactivation in dorsolateral prefrontal and orbital regions which likely represents disengagement of self-monitoring, and increased activation in the frontal polar cortex, which likely represents increased autobiographical representation (Limb & Braun, 2008). Metheny suggests that the process of improvising isn’t much different from other problem solvers. In science, conducting research requires risk-taking, lack of inhibition, and an increase in sense of self may drive creativity and passions. During the poster sessions, several researchers discussed their research combining their passion for the arts with neuroscience. Dr. Joe DeSouza presented work conducted by his PhD student, Karolina Bearss, that demonstrated weekly dance classes protected against disease progression in patients with Parkinson’s disease. Neuroimaging data suggested that this protection may be afforded by increased activation in the supplementary motor area. #SfN18 blogger Dana Swarbrick @DanaSwarbrick explains how dance can impact #Parkinsons disease. Learn more in her poster highlight on Neuronline: https://t.co/jskC5RtPnn pic.twitter.com/er2EO8bko3 — Neuroscience 2018, SfN's Annual Meeting (@Neurosci2018) November 10, 2018 The supplementary motor area is one of the neural regions associated with the human mirror neuron system. In animals, mirror neurons are activated both when an animal executes an action and observes the same action (Gallese et al., 1996), and are therefore believed to be responsible for understanding others’ behaviours. While much controversy exists in discussions of whether these specific neurons exist in humans, when humans observe an action, a network including the premotor area, supplementary motor area, sensorimotor cortex, and the inferior parietal cortex becomes engaged (Cattaneo and Rizzolatti, 2009). DeSouza expressed skepticism of human mirror neurons, but the network was the inspiration for research conducted by Arturo Nuara, MD. Dr. Nuara developed an action-observation treatment for children with cerebral palsy to improve their hand functioning. In collaboration with a professional magician, videos were developed to teach children magic tricks that required usage of their paretic hand. Subsequently, children practiced the tricks with other children with cerebral palsy through peer-to-peer video conferencing. Children demonstrated improved hand functioning, however the children who improved the most were those who had peers that were better than them. #SfN18 @arturo8614 presented action observation #therapy with child to child interaction improved bimanual use in cerebral palsy #fightthestroke pic.twitter.com/kHHkOh0EH0 — Dana&TheMonsters (@DanaSwarbrick) November 7, 2018 Motor learning, or acquiring a skill, can be modulated by genetics. Specifically, certain brain-derived neurotrophic factor polymorphisms are associated with better motor learning abilities. Therefore, Tara Henechowicz hypothesized that there would be a higher prevalence of polymorphisms providing advantaged motor learning in a sample of expert musicians. However, contrary to her hypothesis, the prevalence of her sample was not different than the average population. More research should explore whether those genetically disadvantaged musicians develop compensatory motor learning strategies. If these strategies exist, Henechowicz suggests they may be able to be applied to improve motor learning in rehabilitation contexts. Henechowicz’ colleague, Yuko Koshimori, was examining the neural mechanisms of rhythmic auditory stimulation, an intervention frequently used to assist ambulatory behaviour in patients with Parkinson’s Disease. #SfN18 @UofT student @YKoshimori Moving in time to metronome and music caused less dopamine release in ventral striatum of healthy young adults compared to no auditory stimulation which suggests that #RAS might improve efficiency of the #motor system pic.twitter.com/i02VNAV1Gl — Dana&TheMonsters (@DanaSwarbrick) November 7, 2018 Dr. Michael Thaut, director of the University of Toronto’s Music and Health Research Collaboratory, was also presenting a poster. #SfN18 Dr. Michael Thaut at #MaHRC @UofTMusic @StMikesHospital presents research showing neural underpinnings of why musical memories are preserved longer and how active music listening improves memory of patients with #Alzheimer's disease through increased #neuroplasticity pic.twitter.com/JWRGW9ARCK — Dana&TheMonsters (@DanaSwarbrick) November 7, 2018 Specifically, Dr. Thaut displayed neuroimaging data that suggested that after three weeks of daily exposure to long-term familiar music, patients with Alzheimer’s disease demonstrated increased efficiency and connectivity in neural regions associated with memory and cognition during familiar music listening, and corresponding improvements in a standardized memory test. Other research conducted by Dr. Amy Belfi examined the usage of music for modulating emotional responses in Alzheimer’s disease. #SfN18 @amy_belfi presents her work showing there is a prolonged response to emotional (happy and sad) music in patients with Alzheimer's even though they have no improved recall or recognition of those songs #neuromusic #neurodegen #Alzheimers pic.twitter.com/12fEoDHYio — Dana&TheMonsters (@DanaSwarbrick) November 4, 2018 Trevor McPherson examined physiological differences between active and passive music therapy interventions. @TrevorMcPhers11 @FrohlichLab Active music therapy caused reduction in sympathetic nervous system activity whereas passive music listening made no change. #musicscience #musictherapy #SfN18 #neuromusic pic.twitter.com/rp9Vwjc6CB — Dana&TheMonsters (@DanaSwarbrick) November 7, 2018 While physiology and neuroimaging are imperative to a greater understanding of how the arts can be used in rehabilitation, perhaps the most impactful statement came from outsider Pat Metheny. When questioned with what a satisfying understanding of the neuroscience of music would look like, the neuroscientists Dr. Charles Limb and SfN President-Elect Dr. Richard Huganir responded they are looking forward to improved scientific methodologies that offer greater resolution. But, when Metheny responded, he received an outburst of applause: “I still think there is going to be a point where you will bump into the soul factor and [it] […] is hard to know how that will ever be quantified.” Dana Swarbrick
  2. Highlights on the Motor System, Exercise, and Rehabilitation Motor learning is imperative throughout development and during rehabilitation of neural injury. Several strategies to improve motor learning have gained much interest recently including non-invasive brain stimulation and exercise. The voluntary movements symposium featured several researchers examining the neural mechanisms underlying motor learning and ways to improve it. #SfN18 #motor @jasonlneva discussed how #TMS measures reveal there are separate groups of interneurons specialized for sequence motor learning and for skilled motor control. #neurostim #NIBS — Dana&TheMonsters (@DanaSwarbrick) November 4, 2018 Specifically, applying a transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) pulse in an anterior to posterior direction uniquely primed sequence-specific motor learning and applying a pulse in the posterior to anterior direction primed those neurons responsible for skilled motor control. #SfN18 @UBC_BrainLab @smpeters9 presented her research that complements @jasonlneva. After 20min moderate exercise: preferential activation of interneurons sensitive to anterior-posterior induced current--the same interneurons specialized for sequence specific learning. #UBC — Dana&TheMonsters (@DanaSwarbrick) November 4, 2018 Previous research has shown that an acute bout of high-intensity as opposed to moderate-intensity exercise results in the greatest enhancements to motor learning. Dr. James Coxon corroborated this using intermittent theta burst stimulation to measure neuroplasticity. Motor nanosymposium #SfN18@coxontweets discusses his research showing there may be a dose-response relationship for the effects of exercise on neuroplasticity where high-intensity is better than moderate. @MoveNeuro #neuro #HIIT #neuroexercise — Dana&TheMonsters (@DanaSwarbrick) November 4, 2018 While research has consistently shown that an acute bout of high-intensity exercise causes increased neuroplasticity and improved motor consolidation, research has also shown that genetics and fitness mediate these effects. Since non-invasive brain stimulation is more effective in women and when estradiol levels are higher, it is possible that the neuroplastic effects of exercise may be similarly moderated by menstrual cycle phase. Super cool research from El-Sayes and @cturco10 showing that contrary to #NIBS menstrual phase has no impact on exercise excitability, but: #Females who release more #BDNF in #exercise showed greater increase in excitability but not #males!!! pic.twitter.com/yfC2IZ4mrr — Dana&TheMonsters (@DanaSwarbrick) November 5, 2018 Exercise is not only useful for motor learning, but also for cognition. A poster presented by Dr. Thomas Tollner explored cognitive processing during aerobic exercise using a cognitive task and an event-related EEG approach. Conditions involving exercise (cycling and treadmill) and conditions involving standing (stationary standing and treadmill) improved visual target processing. Thomas and @GordonDodwell present research showing that standing and #exercise improve visual working #memory and there's a neurophysiological basis for these enhancements! #SfN18 #EEG pic.twitter.com/c2f5sPlXx1 — Dana&TheMonsters (@DanaSwarbrick) November 6, 2018 While much of the research on motor learning has explored the acute effects of exercise, the long-term effects of maintaining an exercise routine are very important. Adam Lundquist explored the time-course and locations of neural morphological changes associated with daily exercise. #SfN18 @lundquistaj @KeckMedUSC working with @gpetzinger presents research showing moderate #exercise causes region- and time-specific changes to #astrocyte morphology and metabolism pic.twitter.com/8gWdqE9gbA — Dana&TheMonsters (@DanaSwarbrick) November 7, 2018 Lundquist goes on to suggest that due to the morphological changes driven by daily exercise, exercise may be an important rehabilitation intervention for people with Parkinson’s disease. Other posters also highlighted the potential for neurotechnology and pharmaceutical interventions to assist in rehabilitation of spinal cord injury and stroke. #SfN18 Dr. Wagner and co. @EPFL presented #research showing #surgical implantation of #electrical array paired with #robotic assistance resulted in immediate #recovery of #walking in #paraplegic patients #SCI #rehab #neurorehab #motor @rehabINK pic.twitter.com/AJknoXOcJJ — Dana&TheMonsters (@DanaSwarbrick) November 12, 2018 Dr. JB Mignardot @EPFL presented #research showing #surgical implantation of lumbar electrical #stimulation array in combination with weight-supported #therapy allowed paraplegic #SCI injured #patients to walk with assistive #devices! #neurorehab #SfN18 pic.twitter.com/ApaddLjw5l — Dana&TheMonsters (@DanaSwarbrick) November 12, 2018 During a symposium on spinal cord injury with a special focus on inhibiting inhibitors, Dr. Martin Schwab discussed the struggles and successes he has encountered in development, financing, and execution of clinical trials. Dr. Martin Schwab discusses his inhibition of an inhibitor: Nogo-A prevents growth of neurites. Anti-Nogo-A antibodies and #rehab lead to complete #recovery in rats with #stroke @rehabINK #SfN18 #neurorehab — Dana&TheMonsters (@DanaSwarbrick) November 5, 2018 I am looking forward to hearing more about Dr. Schwab’s phase II clinical trial, and all of the other incredible progress that will be revealed at next year’s Society for Neuroscience conference! Ta ta for now! Dana Swarbrick
  3. Theme C and F Blogger: Lana Grasser Hello everyone! My name is Lana Ruvolo Grasser, and I am one of your 2018 Society for Neuroscience annual meeting bloggers. This is my second year in graduate school, and my first year at SfN! While I have attended our state’s region meetings before, I am happy to be in sunny San Diego, coming from cold and rainy Detroit. Despite the weather, I am loving my time as a graduate student at Wayne State University’s School of Medicine. Here, I am studying trauma and related disorders in a variety of ways, including functional neuroimaging, neuroinflammation, and efficacy of interventions. My work in particular focuses on dance/movement therapy, art therapy, and yoga for relieving symptoms of trauma in Syrian and Iraqi refugees. However here at SfN, I will be presenting work from my mentor’s study, which investigates the combinatorial effects of instruction and experience learning in fear conditioning and fear extinction using functional MRI. This is not my first experience with neuroimaging–during my undergraduate study at Michigan State University, where I received my Bachelors of Science in Neuroscience, I worked in a literary neuroscience lab directed by Dr. Natalie Phillips. I am excited to be sharing my experience at SfN, particularly regarding Themes C and F - Neurodegenerative Disorders and Injury, and Integrative Physiology and Behavior. I really hope that you enjoy my posts. Lana Grasser @lana.grasser
  4. Dance for Parkinson’s Disease During a Gairdner award lecture by Dr. Eric Kandel at the Toronto Reference Library, Kandel prescribed 2 miles of walking a day for protecting against age-related memory declines. Kandel, Nobel prize laureate and expert on the neurobiological basis of memory, described how his research demonstrates that osteocalcin mediates long-term memory formation. Osteocalcin is a hormone released from bones particularly during weight-bearing exercises such as walking. Fast-forward one year to SFN 2018 in San Diego: Instead of walking, “Dr. Kandel, you should try dancing!” joked Dr. Joseph DeSouza, York University researcher who examines the effects of dance on Parkinson’s Disease. “I do love some salsa!”, laughed Dr. Eric Kandel, now 88 years old. (Left to right: Dr. Joseph DeSouza, Dr. Torsten Wiesel, Dr. Eric Kandel, and unknown) Parkinson’s disease is a neurodegenerative disorder in which there is degeneration of dopaminergic cells in the substantia nigra which causes a host of motor symptoms such as tremors and slow, stiff movements. Dr. DeSouza’s poster presentation displays research conducted by PhD student Karolina Bearss. Their research examined the effect of dance lessons on the progression of Parkinson’s disease. They used both behavioural and neuroimaging methods which included Unified Parkinson’s Disease Rating Scale to measure the behavioural symptoms of the disease and functional neuroimaging to assess neural changes caused by training. They showed that weekly exercise classes protected against disease progression in the behavioural measure. The neuroimaging analysis is still ongoing however, the preliminary results suggest that the behavioural protection afforded by the dance lessons may be attributable to increased activation in the supplementary motor area. Dance is a highly complex social activity which involves coordination of movements to an instructor and music. This workout for the body is certainly also a workout for the brain. While enjoying San Diego, hopefully you get to experience some of the local culture, put on your own dancing shoes, and experience some of the same benefits as the patients with Parkinson’s disease. Dana Swarbrick See more on Twitter: @DanaSwarbrick
  5. Welcome to the blog highlighting research on motor systems and neurodegenerative disorders and injury! (That was EC! haha) I recently graduated from the University of Toronto’s Rehabilitation Sciences Institute where my research examined the effects of high-intensity exercise on motor learning—specifically piano learning. (Learn more here: http://www.glse.utoronto.ca/dana-swarbrick-rehabilitation-sciences-institute) My research interests lie at the intersection of music, neuroscience, and exercise, but my personal interests far surpass this niche. I am excited to embark on a learning journey and I hope that you will join me as I learn more about your research and the research being discussed within themes E and C. Dana Swarbrick, MSc Twitter: @DanaSwarbrick Instagram: @dana.and.monsters FB: https://www.facebook.com/danaswarbrickmusic/ Previously an editor for: https://rehabinkmag.com/
  6. 1.jpg960×960 106 KB Hello everyone! My name is Chinmaya Sadangi. I completed my PhD from Germany and recently started a postdoc position at the University of Toronto. My background is in Neurodegenerative disorders, Molecular Neuroscience, and Physiology. I am also interested in science communication and photography. My research interest is in Follow my blog posts for updates on themes C and I (Neurodegenerative disorders and Injury and Techniques). I will also be live tweeting for #SfN17 and you can follow me on Twitter to keep up with the updates. Name: Chinmaya Sadangi Position: Postdoctoral Fellow Affiliation: University of Toronto Neuronline: @csadangi Twitter: addictivebrain Webpage: www.theaddictivebrain.wordpress.com
  7. My first exposure to SFN was in 2013. I got my accommodation a little far away from the giant convention center where the conference took place. Not a problem!!! SFN shuttle was there all over the city. I got into one few steps away from my hotel and as the bus approached the convention center I felt the festive ambience of the world’s largest conference in neuroscience. I met overwhelming crowd of neuroscientists, exhibit booths, scientific posters, professional development workshops and so on. Totally unplanned, I lost my first day looking for something that I really didn’t figure out what. While sitting on the floor exhausted, one thing was certain to me: Drowned in the crowd somewhere, SFN has everything to offer me. All I need is a well-crafted itinerary. So I use this space to remind everyone, especially newcomers, it’s time to plan. If you haven’t done already, download neuroscience 2017 app to your Smartphone and make your schedule there. Figure out early what you are looking for. Follow previous posts from neuroscientists to learn about Exhibit booths, Neurojobs Career Centre and free socials at SFN. Do you want to stand out in the crowd in future with your stimulating science? then go to presidential lectures to meet the role models that take over the floor. You are in Washington DC and want to explore around?, most of the Smithsonian museums are at walking distance from the convention center and has free entry. Also look for World War II Memorial, Lincoln Memorial and Library of Congress. Don’t forget to carry your badge all time. There are volunteers to monitor and you need it to sign up for sessions and at exhibit booths. My badge says Anand Krishnan, University of Alberta. I am a postdoctoral fellow and my research interest is on peripheral nerve regeneration. I will be posting on Themes B&C during the meeting covering glia, neurodegenerative disorders and injury. Once again don’t forget three things before heading to Washington!!! plan plan PLAN
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