brain-scans

sorry im in a bit of a Ranty mood so pls bear w me. or ignore this

like. abt the self-dx thing. anti self-dxers always act like it’s so simple to get a Proper Official Diagnoses but its rlly???? not????

like ok. assuming u want a pro-dx. assuming u have the time & money & whatever necessary to get one. what do u do next?

go to the gp? you’ll be waiting weeks, possibly months, for your referral to a mental health professional to go thru. mine took 2 weeks, so let’s go with that. 2 weeks later you have your first assessment. you’ll probably have to have blood tests, maybe a brain scan, to rule out a physical cause. while you’ll be able to see your psychologist while waiting for the results, you cant really proceed w a diagnoses until you’ve got them back

assuming you get them back. assuming there’s no physical cause they can find. if you’re under 18 a lot of psychiatrists won’t want to diagnose you. if you’re over 18 some psychiatrists won’t want to diagnose you, too. 

like, just from personal experience here! i’ve been showing symptoms for at least 4? 5? years (that’s not including the anxiety or autism stuff bc i’ve had that for as long as i can remember) & have been seeing a psychologist at camhs for over a year now

hell, if uve been following me for a while ull kno that ive been hospitalised. ive been in hospital for over a month now (by the time of my next review it will have been just under 2 months) & there’s still no diagnoses. there’s a girl at hospital w me who’s been there for 6 months now & she doesn’t have a diagnoses either

but, okay. assume you do get your diagnoses. it’s a good diagnoses that you agree with. you’re happy to know what’s going on with you. to have your feeling validated. to be able to have a way to talk abt ur experiences concisely. but another girl at hospital had her diagnoses of bipolar disorder changed to anxiety—- there’s always the chance that your diagnoses will be changed to something you don’t agree with

like. idk. what im trying to say is it’s not as simple as ‘teenagers romanticising mental illness’. maybe instead of getting mad at mentally ill kids trying to make sense of their minds, you should get mad at the messed up system that leads to us having to self diagnose

Sometimes I want to stand from the rooftops and scream “I AM AUTISTIC” because I am sick and tired of being invisible,

of the “you can’t be” and the “I would have never known” and the “but you’re so much more normal than them.”

How hard is it to understand that there is no me and them, just us just siblings that all have the shared experience of living in a world that was never made for us–

            //too loud too chaotic too rough too jagged too fast too slow too many                   rules too many exceptions how do I know where I stand if I cannot even               tell where I am why are you staring I just need to do this one thing to feel             safe here//

what do I need to do to prove it to you? Do I need a badge, a brain scan? A calendar of every time I was different enough from you to notice? That I was three before I c-could t-talk but only in a st-stutter too fast for m-my m-mouth to keep up?

   Or how about when I was eleven and I wanted to die, to die so badly because      no one would talk to me for fear of being infected with whatever I had? (I am        not contagious I am not contagious I am not)

      Or do I need to show you the relief on my face when I was fourteen and               finally found someone who was like me, who understood why I needed                 earplugs to go to parties, and felt loved and accepted even though he left

         Or that I am eighteen and there are still times when my skin feels like                  lightning, neurons firing electric and I can’t even speak for fear of                          screaming because its TOO LOUD and GET ME OUT–

Please, tell me how I can appease you, because I am tired of living a life that does not even seem to fit the labels that I have been given,

tired of my life being a joke on a sitcom that tells us “HEY, PEOPLE LIKE YOU EXIST, BUT ONLY FOR US TO LAUGH AT” because its so fucking hilarious to make fun of autistic people because they’re different

               //you know what I’ve heard about people like me? “wow their friends                      must have it so hard” “their parents are angels for dealing with                              them” “why are they like that” “who could ever love them when they’re                  like that” “I don’t think I ever could”//

Well I’ll have you know I am full of love and people who love me and if you can’t believe that, then maybe you should rethink which one of us is emotionaly stunted

while I scream from the rooftops and let everyone know I am here and I am alive, and I am worth being visible even if–especially if–you don’t want me to be

          –an open letter from an autistic girl saying “i am alive, notice me” | jocelyn

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Jessica Rey presents the history of the evolution of the swimsuit including the origins of its design, how it has changed overtime and the post-feminist association of the bikini symbolizing female empowerment. She refers to neuro-scientific studies revealing how male brains react to images of scantily clad women versus images of women deemed modest and what the implications of the results are for women in society.

(Note: As the OP, I disagree with Rey’s approach to putting the onus on women to alter ourselves rather than to alter the male perception of women – brain wiring has plenty to do with socialization and if we worked against the culture that fuels men’s objectification of women, women’s clothing choices would matter far less in terms of how men perceive us and determine how to interact with us).

Jessica Rey - The Evolution of the Swim Suit

Ever wondered what your dog thinks of you? Brain scans are making that dream a reality by allowing researchers to see inside the canine mind. And what they’re learning is even better news: it turns out, our furry friends may love us as much as we love them. Read more about this research at Mic, where we’re exploring the universe in our heads with a one-month series on the latest advances in brain research. 

GIF by Julian Glander

Science shows: Yes! Trans people are born that way! We can tell from brain scans.

There are brain scans showing a significant difference in the brains of trans women and trans men.  

To quickly summarize the links of information:  Trans women’s brains are more female, and trans men’s brains are more male.  Their brain identifies more with their identified gender (as in a trans woman identifying as a woman in every day life) rather than their sex (genitalia, and such).

[New Scientist]

[Pinknews]

[New York Times]

New neuroimaging technique: Mapping Myelination

Neuroscientists have known for more than a century that myelination levels differ throughout the cerebral cortex, the gray outer layer of the brain where most higher mental functions take place.  via

Researcher, Van Essen’s journal article here  also explains how in MRI data already collected, or in less than 10 minutes, myelination images can be collected and used in conjunction with other imaging techniques to provide a more well rounded picture and understanding that we could once only see posthumously…after removing the brain, slicing it and staining it for myelin. This is important because:

Better brain maps will result, speeding efforts to understand how the healthy brain works and potentially aiding in future diagnosis and treatment of brain disorders…

The technique makes it possible for scientists to map myelination, or the degree to which branches of brain cells are covered by a white sheath known as myelin in order to speed up long-distance signaling. via


Image: “Red and yellow indicate regions with high myelin levels; blue, purple and black areas have low myelin levels." via

Brain scans could lead to consciousness ‘gold standard’

It can be nearly impossible to know what is happening in the mind of someone who has experienced a severe brain injury, but two new methods could offer some clues. Together, they provide not only a better indication of consciousness but also a more effective way to communicate with some vegetative people.

The way that a seemingly unconscious person behaves does not always reflect their mental state. Someone in a completely vegetative state may still be able to smile simply through reflex, while a perfectly alert person may be left unable to do so if a brain injury has affected their ability to move.

So a different way to assess mental state is needed. Marcello Massimini at the University of Milan in Italy and his colleagues have developed a possible solution by stimulating brains with an electromagnetic pulse and then measuring the response. The pulse acts like striking a bell, they say, and neurons across the entire brain continue to “ring” in a specific wave pattern, depending on how active the connections between individual brain cells are.

The team used this method to assess 20 people with brain injuries who were either in a vegetative state, in a minimally conscious state, or in the process of emerging from a coma. The team compared the patterns from these people with the patterns recorded from 32 healthy people who were awake, asleep or under anaesthesia. In each of the distinct states of consciousness, the researchers found, the neurons “shook” in a distinctive pattern in response to the electromagnetic pulse.

Massimini’s team proposes that each of these different patterns is a signature of a particular state of consciousness. Eventually, a doctor could use this scale, or index, to assess whether a patient is aware of their surroundings – and treat them accordingly.

Big step forward

“This is a big step forward,” says Joseph Giacino of Harvard Medical School, who was not involved in the study. He says the technique needs to be replicated with more patients and will need to be corroborated with other methods, but it may provide a starting point for developing a much-needed gold standard for assessing consciousness.

A consciousness index could be used in other ways too. For instance, it might help to improve our broader understanding of exactly what consciousness is and how it can be measured, says George Mashour at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.

Giacino says that an index could eventually help identify which seemingly unconscious people with brain injuries are in fact sufficiently conscious to communicate with medical staff and friends or family members.

Adrian Owen at the University of Western Ontario in London, Canada, has previously shown that such communication is possible. In 2010, he asked people in a vegetative state a series of questions with yes/no answers, and asked them to imagine performing a complex task, such as playing tennis, whenever the answer was yes. A scanner picked up a unique pattern of brain activity that indicated whether the person is visualising this task.

However, this method is very inexact. In fact, only about three-quarters of healthy conscious people can perform the task in a way that the scanner can interpret. So when someone in a vegetative state shows little brain activity, doctors are left to wonder whether the patients are actually unconscious or simply not performing the task in a way the scanner can pick up on.

Locked-in but alert

Owen and Lorina Naci, also at the University of Western Ontario, have now developed a simpler method of determining the answers to yes/no questions given by people in a vegetative state.

After asking a yes/no question, the researchers repeated the word “yes” a number of times, interspersing the yesses with distracting, random numbers. They then did the same with “no”. The patients had been told to indicate their answer by paying close attention to how many times their desired answer was repeated. The researchers scanned the participants’ brains during this exercise to help recognise when the brain was concentrating. The task was so difficult that it was easy for the participants to ignore the answer that they didn’t want to give, Naci says.

They tested this on three people, two of whom were minimally conscious and one who had been in a persistent vegetative state for 12 years. All three patients were able to correctly answer questions about their names, for instance, or whether they were in a hospital.

Naci suspects this relatively straightforward method may reveal consciousness in more patients than had been previously thought to have it – 100 per cent of healthy, conscious people can communicate in this way. “We realise we really have to work hard to treat every patient as if they can understand and process what’s around them,” she says.

Nicholas Schiff of Weill Cornell Medical College in New York City says the study is a great start, although the technique is far from ready for general use in the clinic. But in future, an extensive suite of such tools may be available to give each individual their best chance to communicate – especially as each brain injury has its own unique characteristics. “[Treating] brain injury is the ultimate in personalised medicine,” he says.

Journal references: Massimi et al paper Science Translational Medicine, 10.1126/scitranslmed.3006294; Owen and Naci paper JAMA Neurology, DOI: 10.1001/jamaneurol.2013.3686

Brain scans show what makes us drink water and what makes us stop drinking

Drinking water when you’re thirsty is a pleasurable experience. Continuing to drink when you’re not, however, can be very unpleasant. To understand why your reaction to water drinking changes as your thirst level changes, Pascal Saker of the University of Melbourne and his colleagues performed fMRI scans on people as they drank water. They found that regions of the brain associated with positive feelings became active when the subjects were thirsty, while regions associated with negative feelings and with controlling and coordinating movement became active after the subjects were satiated. The research appears in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Read more

popsci.com
Researchers can translate your thoughts into words...

That’s right, with brain scans.  So, the idea here is that when you have a thought about an object, topic, experience an emotion, construct a plan, these are "ultimately reflected in the pattern of activity across all areas of [the] brain"  to the point where Princeton researchers say, they can translate these thoughts into actual text.  

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Well, not exactly, it’s a proof of concept study (that will surely be replicated and developed further) where they can get a general idea what what your thinking. The example they use is if you think of a chair, they will know your thinking of furniture. That's definitely in the ball park.  Wearing a uniform. Getting ready to bat. See? All those things would show a similar pattern too.

 The eventual goal is to translate brain activity patterns into the correct words to fully describe thoughts, the researchers say.

This could have applications for helping people with disabilities, for whom brain scans might be able to elucidate their thinking more effectively than pictures. via

Hmm mmm. But it will be used for other reasons too, and maybe sooner then we think. I’ll get to that later.

Image.    Full article.

Poorly brain

The brain is an organ. Mental illness is an illness of that organ. Brain scans show that there is a physical difference between a healthy brain and a sick brain. Telling somebody “you’re not really sick, it’s all in your head” is like telling someone with asthma “it’s not real it’s in your lungs” the brain is an organ that can malfunction as much as any other organ.

ncbi.nlm.nih.gov
Fact or Factitious? A Psychobiological Study of Authentic and Simulated Dissociative Identity States

Background:
Dissociative identity disorder (DID) is a disputed psychiatric disorder. Research findings and clinical observations suggest that DID involves an authentic mental disorder related to factors such as traumatization and disrupted attachment. A competing view indicates that DID is due to fantasy proneness, suggestibility, suggestion, and role-playing. Here we examine whether dissociative identity state-dependent psychobiological features in DID can be induced in high or low fantasy prone individuals by instructed and motivated role-playing, and suggestion.

Methodology:
DID patients, high fantasy prone and low fantasy prone controls were studied in two different types of identity states (neutral and trauma-related) in an autobiographical memory script-driven (neutral or trauma-related) imagery paradigm. The controls were instructed to enact the two DID identity states. Twenty-nine subjects participated in the study: 11 patients with DID, 10 high fantasy prone DID simulating controls, and 8 low fantasy prone DID simulating controls. Autonomic and subjective reactions were obtained. Differences in psychophysiological and neural activation patterns were found between the DID patients and both high and low fantasy prone controls. That is, the identity states in DID were not convincingly enacted by DID simulating controls. Thus, important differences regarding regional cerebral bloodflow and psychophysiological responses for different types of identity states in patients with DID were upheld after controlling for DID simulation.

Conclusion:
The findings are at odds with the idea that differences among different types of dissociative identity states in DID can be explained by high fantasy proneness, motivated role-enactment, and suggestion. They indicate that DID does not have a sociocultural (e.g., iatrogenic) origin.

This article follows a study on the biological and neurological differences in others in DID systems, along with a control group with simulated (or faked) multiplicity.

Again, the findings are that DID is NOT caused by any social influence or fantasy proneness, and thus the sociocultural model (which states DID is caused by cultural influence (‘people have DID because they’ve heard of it(/someone convinced them the have it/they convinced themselves they have it)’) is wrong.

(There is a lot more information in the article, but a lot of it is medical terminology and numbers, so here’s a highlight:)

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(In all of these the left is the people with DID, the middle and right are both control groups (that tried to fake DID - middle being with high fantasy-proneness, the right being low fantasy-proneness))

  1. The first picture is the difference between others considered trauma-related identity state (TIS) and normal identity state (NIS).
  2. The second picture is the difference in regional cerebral fluid between trauma-related text (with a small ’t’) and neutral text (“n”).
  3. The third picture is the difference in processing of the trauma-related text between TIS & NIS.


As you can see, the controls (which intended to simulate DID) were not able to replicate what goes on in a brain with DID - they couldn’t replicate the difference in others (and how about that difference! WOWA!), nor the brain’s reaction to trauma stimuli and regular stimuli.

I namely wanted to post the brain scans because it’s not very often we come across brain scans showing the difference, and a lot of people try to say that there’s no difference in brain scans between people with DID and people without DID (which is honestly not true).

To boot, this is a study that had controls who were attempting to fake DID - which proves without a doubt that it’s really not as simple as 'playing make-believe’ or acting/roleplaying.

Criminal Minds Are Different From Yours, Brain Scans Reveal

These brain scans of psychopaths show a deformation in the amygdala compared to non-psychopaths, from a study by Adrian Raine and colleagues.


 In the psychopaths, the researchers observed deformations in another part of the brain called the amygdala, with the psychopaths showing a thinning of the outer layer of that region called the cortex and, on average, an 18-percent volume reduction in this part of brain.

“The amygdala is the seat of emotion. Psychopaths lack emotion. They lack empathy, remorse, guilt,” said research team member Adrian Raine, chair of the Department of Criminology at the University of Pennsylvania, at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Washington, D.C., last month.

Computer can read letters directly from the brain

By analysing MRI images of the brain with an elegant mathematical model, it is possible to reconstruct thoughts more accurately than ever before. In this way, researchers from Radboud University Nijmegen have succeeded in determining which letter a test subject was looking at. The journal Neuroimage has accepted the article, which will be published soon. A preliminary version of the article can be read online.

Functional MRI scanners have been used in cognition research primarily to determine which brain areas are active while test subjects perform a specific task. The question is simple: is a particular brain region on or off? A research group at the Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour at Radboud University has gone a step further: they have used data from the scanner to determine what a test subject is looking at. The researchers ‘taught’ a model how small volumes of 2x2x2 mm from the brain scans - known as voxels - respond to individual pixels. By combining all the information about the pixels from the voxels, it became possible to reconstruct the image viewed by the subject. The result was not a clear image, but a somewhat fuzzy speckle pattern. In this study, the researchers used hand-written letters.

Prior knowledge improves model performance
‘After this we did something new’, says lead researcher Marcel van Gerven. ‘We gave the model prior knowledge: we taught it what letters look like. This improved the recognition of the letters enormously. The model compares the letters to determine which one corresponds most exactly with the speckle image, and then pushes the results of the image towards that letter. The result was the actual letter, a true reconstruction.’

‘Our approach is similar to how we believe the brain itself combines prior knowledge with sensory information. For example, you can recognise the lines and curves in this article as letters only after you have learned to read. And this is exactly what we are looking for: models that show what is happening in the brain in a realistic fashion. We hope to improve the models to such an extent that we can also apply them to the working memory or to subjective experiences such as dreams or visualisations. Reconstructions indicate whether the model you have created approaches reality.’

Improved resolution; more possibilities
‘In our further research we will be working with a more powerful MRI scanner,’ explains Sanne Schoenmakers, who is working on a thesis about decoding thoughts. ‘Due to the higher resolution of the scanner, we hope to be able to link the model to more detailed images. We are currently linking images of letters to 1200 voxels in the brain; with the more powerful scanner we will link images of faces to 15,000 voxels.’

 Criminally Flawed Mind Reading Technologies?

FAST (Future Attribute Screening Technology) is only the latest in a series of methods and technologies employed to probe suspects for scientific evidence of guilt, deceit, or criminal designs, stretching back to the earliest days of the polygraph lie detector in 1921. 

(…) thermal cameras, microphones and a laser radar that can measure heart rate and perspiration, FAST is designed to surreptitiously scan airport travelers for nervous behaviors, rapid blinking, or any other signs that might indicate intentions to commit violent terrorist acts…”  Via by tvjrennie

With a track record in the lab of only 78-80% accuracy and unknown rates of false positives and false negatives, you would think this type of technology isn’t ready for use in the court - but some say that if the technology, however imperfect, is meaningfully better than the next best alternative technique currently deployed in the legal process" then it should be introduced. 

Image: DHS/TSA Via

Research has figured out why you can’t fall asleep in a new bed

This phenomenon is called the “first-night effect,” and it’s when only half your brain goes into rest mode in an unfamiliar setting. To find out why this is, researchers studied the brain scans of 35 Brown University students who hit the hay in the unfamiliar surroundings of a sleep lab. Here’s what the brain scans showed.

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