To Chatham native Meaghan Creed, the brain is a puzzle. Her quest for solutions has taken her to Switzerland and now Maryland.
Creed, 30, is turning heads with her research into addiction. Currently an assistant professor in pharmacology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, she recently earned the Science & PINS Prize for Neuromodulation.
Last year, she received the Pfizer Prize for Young Scientists.
The awards are for her research into addiction and its impact on the brain.
Creed grew up in Chatham, attending first McNaughton Avenue Public School and then Chatham-Kent Secondary School, before heading off to the University of Toronto.
It was at McNaughton Avenue PS when she became particularly interested in biology.
“I think I always wanted to be a scientist. I remember a career day in Grade 2 and a scientist came in to talk about genetically engineered corn,” she said. “Biology has been my interest since that second-grade career day.”
She credited a trio of high school educators for honing her interest. […]
The Chatham Voice full article >
The seventeenth International Congress of the European Society for Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (ESCAP) — with “transition” as its central theme — was held in Geneva in July 2017 with nearly 1,400 psychiatrists in attendance. The congress received substantial backing from SYNAPSY, which sponsored eleven symposia.
SYNAPSY looks back on this year’s congress with Stephan Eliez, ESCAP president.
What does “transition” refer to in child psychiatry?
It can be broken down into several levels. The first is the patient’s transition through the various stages of care linked to their development: the organisation of care as they pass from childhood to adolescence and on from adolescence to adulthood. This last transition is an immense challenge. In childhood, care is provided in a specialised and relatively “containing” environment, where interactions with the family play a central part. In adult psychiatry, care is provided in a less containing environment, such as a hospital, and is addressed directly to the patient. Read More »
A patient with severe attention deficit is playing a video game. The goal is to pilot a Space shuttle with the brain by means of an electrode placed in the parietal region. As the game progresses, the patient player is learning how to control his own cerebral rhythm through the feedback given on the screen: his alpha rhythm is correlated with the Space shuttle power and the space shuttle stops when attention is lost. The game helps to develop patient attentional skills. This is a therapeutic technique known as neurofeedback which uses plastic brain properties to reduce certain mood disorders symptoms.
Photo taken by Synapsy member Roland Hasler (Prof. Aubry’s lab) during a pilot experiment at the University of Geneva.
The picture was proposed to the SNSF Scientific Image Competition >
The prize reward Italian and non-Italian women around the world for their creativity and excellence in art, literature, journalism, business, science and social activities.
Schizophrenia patients often experience an altered sense of self, for example, as if someone else is controlling their actions. This impairment is described as a deficit in the “sense of agency”, and while it has been well established and linked to problems with sensorimotor brain signals, another category has been left unexplored: the “sense of body ownership” by which we feel that our bodies belong to ourselves. Using a full-body illusion experiment, EPFL scientists have now determined that body ownership is not affected in schizophrenia.
Schizophrenia patients often experience an altered sense of self, e.g. as if someone else is controlling their actions. This impairment is described as a deficit in the “sense of agency,” and while it has been well established and linked to problems with sensorimotor brain signals, another category has been left unexplored: the “sense of body ownership” by which we feel that our bodies belong to ourselves. Using a full-body illusion experiment, EPFL scientists have now determined that body ownership is not affected in schizophrenia. The study is published in the Schizophrenia Bulletin.
Also on Psych Central >
Researchers demonstrate how some genes evolved from an immune function to an olfactory role in some mammals.
Mammals possess several lines of defense against microbes. One of them is activated when receptors called Fprs, which are present on immune cells, bind to specific molecules that are linked to pathogens. Researchers at the University of Geneva (UNIGE), Switzerland, showed in 2009 that these same receptors were also present in the nose of mice, probably to detect contaminated food or to avoid sick conspecifics. The biologists now describe in the journal PNAS how Fprs have acquired this olfactory role during rodent evolution, moving from the immune system to a neuronal system. This innovation results from two genomic ‘accidents’ that occurred several millions years apart during the evolution of rodents.
Figure legend : Mammals express Fprs in their immune cells (yellow). A first genomic accident led to the expression of an Fpr in olfactory neurons of a rodents’ ancestor (dark blue). This was followed by a second accident that occurred in the mouse lineage (light blue).
A team of researchers from the Swiss Blue Brain Project — a group focusing on supercomputer-powered reconstruction of the human brain — have used a classic branch of maths in a completely new way to better understand the structure of our brains.
The brain is a complicated organ, and little is still known about its inner workings, so this new study, which found that the brain is full of multi-dimensional geometrical structures operating in as many as 11 dimensions, is fascinating, to say the least. The neuroscientists behind the study used algebraic topology, which is a branch of mathematics that describes the properties of objects and spaces without the confinements of how they change shape, to conclude that groups of neurons connect into “cliques.” Their work also revealed that the number of neurons in a clique leads to its size as a high-dimensional geometric object.