Festival of Scholars

An annual celebration of research, scholarship, and creativity

Phantastical Phindings in Physiological Psychology

Date: Tuesday, April 30, 2013
Time: 10:00am - 11:00am
Location: Roth Nelson Room
Description: During the past 10 years there have been great advances made in the understanding of brain function. In the current session, students will present some of the most recent findings dealing with how these advances are being applied to topics such as recovery from brain damage, treatment of mental illness, etc. All are welcome.

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Student Abstracts at this Session

Student(s):
Lauren Jensen
and Kristine Flanigan and Jill Logan

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Steven Kissinger
Stimulating the Brain in Treatment Resistant Anorexia Nervosa

Eating disorders currently have the highest mortality rate of all the mental illnesses and are one of the most challenging to treat. Treatment resistant anorexia nervosa patients are at the highest risk for premature death while progression of the disorder is poorly understood. Recent advances in neuropsychology have found abnormalities in the cerebral cortex of anorexic patients, specifically in the prefrontal cortex, the anterior cingulate cortex, the caudate nucleus, the reward pathways associated with serotonin and corticotropin. Recent research has examined the treatment effects of deep brain stimulation (DBS) on treatment resistant anorexia patients. DBS is an invasive technique that involves implanted electrodes stimulating the brain. DBS has been used to treat patients with depression and OCD who are resistant to psychiatric medication and psychotherapy. DBS shows promising outcomes for those who suffer extreme forms of anorexia, instilling hope and the ability to save lives.




Student(s):
Anna Moncharsh
and Shauna Marsh, Damiano Impastato, and Rudy Rios

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Steven Kissinger
Advances in Biofeedback Treatment for Autistic Spectrum Disorders and ADHD

To date, behavioral interventions, such as token economy and contingency management programs, or pharmacological methods have been used to reduce symptoms of autistic spectrum disorders as well as Attention Deficit-Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). However, technological advances have allowed for the development of biofeedback techniques as another method of intervention in helping to reduce autistic and ADHD symptoms. Biofeedback applies behavioral-based concepts to the nervous system, allowing for better control of activity in the central nervous system, specifically. Results of biofeedback treatment for autistic spectrum disorders as well as ADHD have been promising, and our review of the literature details the range of possibilities still attainable from its use in treating this oftentimes challenging population.




Student(s):
Liz Ornelas
and Jeanette Rendina and Paula Broome

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Steven Kissinger
I Was Blind But Now I See

Sensory prostheses are entering a new era, giving individuals the ability to regain lost abilities. The blind can now be given the ability to regain sight. In individuals with conditions such as Retinitis Pigmentosa and Macular Degeneration, where there occurs deterioration of the outer layer of the retina, prostheses enable a person to see. A variety of artificial retinal implants are being developed and have given way to the advancement of visual abilities. Through these artificial retinal implants, the outer layer of the retina is electrically stimulated, allowing a person to see. It is expected that a person will have the ability to see a pixelated scoreboard style of an image, the ability to see light and dark, as well as the ability to identify objects. The future of artificial retinal implants is constantly progressing and is predicted to provide greater resolution through each generation.




Student(s):
Desiree Wilson
and Shirah Bale, Lara Buckley, and Taylor Sorenson

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Steven Kissinger
Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy: A Hidden Epidemic

Chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) is a neurodegenerative brain disease caused by repetitive head trauma that is commonly seen in athletes. The effects of CTE are not seen until years after the injury and are not easily distinguishable from other problematic psychological states. Changes in mood, behavior, and cognition are typical, such as memory impairment, depression, suicidality, aggression, and problems with impulse control. These symptoms, along with the fact that, currently, it can only be diagnosed postmortem, makes diagnosis difficult and thus presents a potential public health threat. This presentation reviews recent findings on the neuropathology CTE, its symptoms, and neuropathological characteristics, by presenting a literature review on recent studies. Because research in this field is still in its infancy, there is much that is unknown about this disease. The presentation reviews the topics that need exploration, such as epidemiology of the disease, risk factors, and ways to diagnose during life.




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