Category Archives: Blog

Attention: How a Possible Function of SSRIs Could Be Staring Us in the Face

When TV commercials sing the famous jingle, “Nausea, heartburn, indigestion, upset stomach, diarrhea,” Pepto Bismol fans …

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    1.  Edwards JG. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors. BMJ. 1992;304:1644–1646. doi: 10.1136/bmj.304.6843.1644.
    2.  David J. Nutt, Sam Forshall, Caroline Bell, Ann Rich, John Sandford, Jon Nash, Spilios Argyropoulos, Mechanisms of action of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors in the treatment of psychiatric disorders, European Neuropsychopharmacology, Volume 9, Supplement 3, July 1999, Pages S81-S86, ISSN 0924-977X,
    3.  Martina Di Simplicio, Sonia Doallo, Giulia Costoloni, Gustavo Rohenkohl, Anna C Nobre and Catherine J Harmer, ‘Can you look me in the face?’ Short-term SSRI Administration Reverts Avoidant Ocular Face Exploration in Subjects at Risk for Psychopathology, Neuropsychopharmacology advance online publication 13 August 2014; doi: 10.1038/npp.2014.159.
    4.  Armstrong T., Olatunji B. O. (2012). Eye tracking of attention in the affective disorders: a meta-analytic review and synthesis. Clin. Psychol. Rev. 32, 704–72310.1016/j.cpr.2012.09.004.
    5.  Meera Vaswani, Farzana Kadar Linda, Subramanyam Ramesh, Role of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors in psychiatric disorders: a comprehensive review, Progress in Neuro-Psychopharmacology and Biological Psychiatry, Volume 27, Issue 1, February 2003, Pages 85-102, ISSN 0278-5846,

Food for Thought: How Your Brain Controls What You Eat

One of the most frequent decisions we make is what to eat, but just because it’s …

Categories: Blog, Front Page


    1. Van der laan LN, De Ridder DT, Viergever MA, Smeets PA. The first taste is always with the eyes: a meta-analysis on the neural correlates of processing visual food cues. Neuroimage. 2011;55(1):296-303.
    2. Rolls ET. Taste, olfactory and food texture reward processing in the brain and the control of appetite. Proc Nutr Soc. 2012;71(4):488-501.
    3. Nutritive and Nonnutritive Sweetener Resources. (n.d.). Retrieved November 4, 2014, from
    4. Yapici N, Zimmer M, Domingos AI. Cellular and molecular basis of decision-making. EMBO Rep. 2014;15(10):1023-1035.
    5. Ochoa M, Lallès JP, Malbert CH, Val-laillet D. Dietary sugars: their detection by the gut-brain axis and their peripheral and central effects in health and diseases. Eur J Nutr. 2014;
    6. Plassmann H, O'Doherty J, Shiv B, Rangel A. Marketing actions can modulate neural representations of experienced pleasantness. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA. 2008;105(3):1050-4.
    7. Grabenhorst F, Rolls ET, Bilderbeck A. How cognition modulates affective responses to taste and flavor: top-down influences on the orbitofrontal and pregenual cingulate cortices. Cereb Cortex. 2008;18(7):1549-59.
    8. Suzuki K, Simpson KA, Minnion JS, Shillito JC, Bloom SR. The role of gut hormones and the hypothalamus in appetite regulation. Endocr J. 2010;57(5):359-72.
    9. Wang GJ, Tomasi D, Backus W, et al. Gastric distention activates satiety circuitry in the human brain. Neuroimage. 2008;39(4):1824-31.
    10. Image by Torsten Mangner, licensed under public domain via Wikimedia Commons.

A Bee’s Perspective: Cocaine and Reward Processing

Cocaine affects reward processing in the brain resulting in feelings of well-being and euphoria.

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    1. Barron AB, Maleszka R, Helliwell PG, Robinson GE (2009) Effects of cocaine on honey bee dance behaviour. The Journal of experimental biology 212: 163–168
    2. Calu DJ, Stalnaker TA, Franz TM, Singh T, Shaham Y, Schoenbaum G. Withdrawal from cocaine self-administration produces long-lasting deficits in orbitofrontal-dependent reversal learning in rats. Learn Mem. 2007;14(5):325-8.

Tapeworms on the Brain

For most people, the mere thought of a parasite setting up residence in their tissues is …

Know Your Claustrum!

Figure 1 A general schematic of the claustrum, as shown in the Crick and Koch paper …

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    1. F.C. Crick, C. Koch. What is the function of the claustrum? Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci, 360 (1458) (2005), pp. 1271–1279. PMCID: PMC1569501.
    2. Mohamad Z. Koubeissi, Fabrice Bartolomei, Abdelrahman Beltagy, Fabienne Picard, Electrical stimulation of a small brain area reversibly disrupts consciousness, Epilepsy & Behavior, Volume 37, August 2014, Pages 32-35. PMID: 24967698.
    3. Rastislav Druga. The Structure and Connections of the Claustrum. From: The Claustrum: Structural, Functional, and Clinical Neuroscience, Chapter 2.

Killer Whales Are Non-Human Persons

What makes humans so special? Is it their ability to use language and empathize with others? …