Social Neuroscience Advances
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Social Neuroscience Advances
Understanding ourselves and how we interact
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Brain’s synaptic pruning continues into your 20s - relevant to late-onset disorders like schizophrenia

Brain’s synaptic pruning continues into your 20s - relevant to late-onset disorders like schizophrenia | Social Neuroscience Advances | Scoop.it
The pruning of brain connections characteristic of adolescence doesn't end with puberty after all – which could improve our understanding of schizophrenia

 

"As children, we overproduce the connections – synapses – between brain cells. During puberty the body carries out a kind of topiary, snipping away some synapses while allowing others to strengthen. Over a few years, the number of synapses roughly halves, and the adult brain emerges.

 

"Or so we thought. Pasko Rakic at Yale University and colleagues at the University of Zagreb, Croatia, and the VU University Medical Center in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, have now found that the brains of adults in their 20s are still subject to synaptic pruning."

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The finding also has implications for our understanding of some psychiatric disorders. The PFC is thought to be particularly relevant to late-onset disorders such as schizophrenia, says Rakic, but it is unclear whether such disorders are triggered by developmental or degenerative processes. The new finding is likely to give weight to the idea that schizophrenia emerges as a result of late brain development.

“I’m sure that for many people schizophrenia has a strong developmental component,” says Sabine Bahn, who researches schizophrenia at the University of Cambridge – although she adds that some cases will likely have a degenerative component."


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What causes paranoia, hallucinations and grandiose ideas? As likely triggered by environment as genes

What causes paranoia, hallucinations and grandiose ideas? As likely triggered by environment as genes | Social Neuroscience Advances | Scoop.it
Daniel and Jason Freeman: The widespread symptoms typically associated with schizophrenia are at least as likely to be triggered by people’s environment as their genes, a new study suggests

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Some Patients with Schizophrenia Have Impaired Ability to Imitate According to Study | Neuroscience News Research Articles | Neuroscience Social Network

Some Patients with Schizophrenia Have Impaired Ability to Imitate According to Study | Neuroscience News Research Articles | Neuroscience Social Network | Social Neuroscience Advances | Scoop.it

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 the researchers report that when patients with schizophrenia were asked to imitate simple hand movements, their brains exhibited abnormal brain activity in areas associated with the ability to imitate.

“The fact that patients with schizophrenia show abnormal brain activity when they imitate simple hand gestures is important because action imitation is a primary building block of social abilities,” said first author Katharine Thakkar, who conducted much of the research while completing her doctoral program at Vanderbilt and is now a post-doctoral fellow at the University Medical Center in Utrecht. “The ability to imitate is present early in life and is crucial for learning how to navigate the social world. According to current theory, covert imitation is also the most fundamental way that we understand the intentions and feelings of other people.”

 


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Differences in Brain Structure for People With Schizophrenia

Differences in Brain Structure for People With Schizophrenia | Social Neuroscience Advances | Scoop.it
Structural brain abnormalities in patients with schizophrenia, providing insight into how the condition may develop and respond to treatment, have been identified in an internationally collaborative study led by a Georgia State University scientist.

 

"Researchers discovered individuals with schizophrenia have smaller volume in the hippocampus, amygdala, thalamus, nucleus accumbens and intracranial space than controls, and larger pallidum and ventricle volumes. Image is for illustrative purposes only."


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Schizophrenia need not be a life sentence, but treatment is falling short

Schizophrenia need not be a life sentence, but treatment is falling short | Social Neuroscience Advances | Scoop.it
Laura Sherlock's medication lets her live with the condition. But charity says too few sufferers receive the best help available

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