Pain and the Prognosis for Dementia

While researchers are busy developing sophisticated laboratory tests to predict who will eventually succumb to Alzheimer’s disease, a seemingly mundane observation may provide one of the strongest predictors yet identified: pain.

Pharmacology of aging why age matters

Talking Changes Minds: the Effect of CBT on Depression

Researchers recently examined the effects of cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) on brain functioning in depressed patients and found that the psychotherapeutic approach made actual changes in the brain [1]. The study was published in the journal Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience.

Cognitive behavioural therapy

Voices in the Brain: Disruption of the Default Network Linked to Hallucinations

Hearing voices that are not there was once thought to be a core symptom of schizophrenia and signify severe mental illness. It has been increasingly acknowledged that people with no other symptoms of schizophrenia or psychosis do hear voices [1]. There are several theories about what causes these auditory hallucinations. For example, there is good evidence that hearing voices can be linked to trauma [2]. Attempting to understand the phenomenon is not only scientifically interesting but also relates to how society views people with these experiences and if and how they may be treated. A search for how these experiences are associated with brain function is ongoing. New research published in the journal Human Brain Mapping suggests that the predisposition to hearing voices may relate to abnormal functioning of the brain whilst at rest [3].


Evidence of Basis for Caregiving Impulse Seen in NIH Brain Imaging Study

Distinct patterns of activity, which may indicate a predisposition to care for infants, appear in the brains of adults who view an image of an infant face, even when the child is not theirs, according to a study by researchers at the National Institutes of Health and in Germany, Italy, and Japan. Seeing images of infant faces appeared to activate in the adult’s brains circuits that reflect preparation for movement and speech as well as feelings of reward.

Infant face

Biomarker Bulletin: August 23, 2011

Biomarker Bulletin is an occasionally recurring update of news focused on biomarkers aggregated at Biomarkers are physical, functional or biochemical indicators of normal physiological or disease processes. The individualization of disease management — personalized medicine — is dependent on developing biomarkers that promote specific clinical domains, including early detection, risk, diagnosis, prognosis and predicted response to therapy.

Biomarker Commons

  • Biomarker Commons Named World Companion Diagnostics Summit Media Partner

    Diagnostics used to select patients for treatment with a particular therapeutic or determine what and/or how treatment will be administered have been termed companion diagnostics. Companion diagnostics hold great promise for personalized medicine. A companion diagnostic is a biomarker(s) used in a specific context that provides biological and/or clinical information that enables better decision making about the development and use of a potential therapeutic. Given the significance of companion diagnostics, I’m proud to announce Biomarker Commons’ first media partnership with the 4th World Companion Diagnostics Summit.

  • Personalized Medicine or Patient-centered Care?

    Personalized medicine is a term used in science and medicine that holds significant promise of administering medicines specifically tailored to an individual’s genome or metabolism. However, an editorial published yesterday in the Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ) suggests that the term creates an image for the public that is completely opposite of science and technology and sets up unrealistic expectations.

  • FDA, EMA Seek Input on Companion Diagnostics, Genomic Biomarkers

    Regulators in the U.S. and Europe have each posted requests for public comment on issues affecting the development of medicines by drug companies.

  • FDA Issues New Guidelines on Clinical and Nonclinical Genomic Biomarkers

    The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued new guidelines on biomarkers related to drug or biotechnology product development. The guidance was developed within the Efficacy Working Group of the International Conference on Harmonisation of Technical Requirements for Registration of Pharmaceuticals for Human Use (ICH).

  • Neuroimaging Identifies an Endophenotype and Candidate Biomarker for Autism

    In response to facial expression of emotional, a similar pattern of brain activity is observed in both people with autism and their unaffected siblings. Researchers from the University of Cambridge recently used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), a specialized MRI scan used to measure the change in blood flow related to neural activity in the brain, to show that reduced activity in areas of the brain associated with empathy and face processing is a candidate biomarker for familial risk of autism. The findings were published online recently in the journal Translational Psychiatry.