A New Map of the Brain: What Does It Mean?

By Neuroskeptic | July 23, 2016 8:41 am

A new Nature paper has earned a lot of media attention, unusually given that it’s a fairly technical and ‘basic’ piece of neuroscience. In the paper, researchers Matthew F. Glasser and colleagues present a new parcellation (or map) of the human cerebral cortex, breaking the cortex down into 180 areas per hemisphere – many more than conventional maps.

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CATEGORIZED UNDER: fMRI, methods, papers, select, Top Posts

Can Ultrasound Diagnose Autism?

By Neuroskeptic | July 19, 2016 2:17 pm

A paper makes the remarkable claim that autism could be detected through the use of ultrasound to peer beneath the skull. This paper is from 2014, but it just came to my attention.

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Blogs, Papers, Plagiarism and Bitcoin

By Neuroskeptic | July 16, 2016 3:06 pm

Retraction Watch reports on a strange case of alleged plagiarism.

In February 2016, F1000Research published a paper called How blockchain-timestamped protocols could improve the trustworthiness of medical science. The authors, Greg Irving and John Holden, demonstrated the use of the bitcoin blockchain as a way of publicly verifying the existence of a certain document at a certain point in time. This approach, they say, could be used to make preregistered research protocols more secure. A problem with preregistration is that it requires a trusted central authority to securely store the protocols. To overcome this, Irving and Holden suggested using the distributed bitcoin network to timestamp documents.


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Does Sugar Really Fuel Willpower?

By Neuroskeptic | July 14, 2016 10:15 am

Another prominent psychology theory has come under scrutiny by researchers who say the published results look unrealistic.

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CATEGORIZED UNDER: FixingScience, papers, select, Top Posts

Can Psychologists Learn More by Studying Fewer People?

By Neuroskeptic | July 10, 2016 8:25 am

In a brief new Frontiers in Psychology paper, Matthew P. Normand argues that Less Is More: Psychologists Can Learn More by Studying Fewer People.


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CATEGORIZED UNDER: methods, papers, select, Top Posts

False-Positive fMRI Hits The Mainstream

By Neuroskeptic | July 7, 2016 10:37 am


A new paper in PNAS has made waves. The article, called Cluster failure: Why fMRI inferences for spatial extent have inflated false-positive rates, comes from Swedish neuroscientists Anders Eklund, Tom Nichols, and Hans Knutsson.

According to many of the headlines that greeted “Cluster failure”, the paper is a devastating bombshell that could demolish the whole field of functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI):

Bug in fMRI software calls 15 years of research into question (Wired)

A bug in fMRI software could invalidate 15 years of brain research. This is huge. (ScienceAlert)

New Research Suggests That Tens Of Thousands Of fMRI Brain Studies May Be Flawed (Motherboard)

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CATEGORIZED UNDER: fMRI, methods, select, statistics, Top Posts

Book Review: “Patient H.M.”

By Neuroskeptic | July 2, 2016 5:14 am

Review of: Patient H.M. by Luke Dittrich (Random House), August 2016

Patient H.M. – real name Henry Gustav Molaison (1926-2008) – is probably the most famous neurological case study in history. The outlines of his story are familiar to every neuroscience student: H.M. was an epileptic man who underwent a radical surgery intended to cure his disorder in 1953. A surgeon removed his medial temporal lobes on both sides of his brain, including brain structures called the hippocampi. After the surgery, H.M. had ‘anterograde amnesia‘ – he couldn’t form any new long term memories. He would forget people, events and places within minutes. This led scientists to conclude that the hippocampus is essential for memory.

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Are Some Paper Titles “Clickbait”?

By Neuroskeptic | June 30, 2016 2:40 pm

A new article over at The Winnower looks at the phenomenon of Academic clickbait: articles with positively-framed titles, interesting phrasing, and no wordplay get more attention online.

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Drug Trial Scandal at N.Y.U.? What We Know

By Neuroskeptic | June 29, 2016 1:54 am

The New York Times breaks the story of an ostensibly serious case of misconduct at New York University (NYU):

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Should Scientists Work at Night?

By Neuroskeptic | June 28, 2016 1:49 am

Over at Retraction Watch, we learn about the case of a PhD student who has been caught out in acts of apparent scientific fraud (image manipulation.) What caught my eye about this story is something his supervisor said about possible warning signs:

The fact that this happened and I didn’t catch it proves that I was not vigilant enough. I had no suspicions that this student could do something like this. I should have. In retrospect, there were several red flags, including his developing tendency to work mainly at night. It has changed my management style.

Is working at night really a ‘red flag’ for misconduct?

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CATEGORIZED UNDER: mental health, science, select, Top Posts, you


No brain. No gain.

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