Friday, November 24, 2017

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The fMRI scans show regions of over- and underconnectivity between the cerebellum and cerebral cortex in young people with autism spectrum disorder. The fMRI scans show regions of over- and underconnectivity between the cerebellum and cerebral cortex in young people with autism spectrum disorder.
 


What’s New at SDSU: Psychology

Take a look at the recent successes and achievements of SDSU’s psychology department.
By Michael Price
 

Here’s a brief look at some of the innovations, accolades and achievements of the San Diego State University Department of Psychology from the past few months.

A paper by SDSU autism researcher Ralph-Axel Müller and former master’s student Amanda Khan (currently a clinical psychology doctoral student at Suffolk University in Virginia) was named one of the most highly cited articles of the year published in the journal Biological Psychiatry. The work addresses a finding that in children and adolescents with autism spectrum disorder, the connections between the cerebral cortex and the cerebellum appear to be overdeveloped in sensorimotor regions of the brain. This overdevelopment appears to muscle in on brain “real estate” that in typically developing children serves higher cognitive functioning. In light of this success, the journal has asked Müller and Khan to submit a review/meta-analysis article on that topic.

Community and public health researcher Linda Gallo is collaborating with colleagues at the Scripps Research Institute on a project called Dulce Digital-Me. The National Institutes of Health–funded venture will recruit Hispanic adults of low socioeconomic status who have poorly controlled type 2 diabetes and track their blood-sugar levels and medication regimen using a cell phone app. The researchers will test various messages and reminders sent to their phones to see which ones work best to encourage people to responsibly manage their diabetes.

Martin Sereno, SDSU’s newly hired director of the brain imaging facility that will be housed in the Engineering and Interdisciplinary Sciences Complex, is teaching a new course this semester, SCI 596: Systems Neuroscience. The course will utilize SDSU’s Learning Glass technology using illustration- and diagram-based instruction to teach students about neuroanatomy, neuronal chemistry, brain regions and connections, and simple mathematical ways of thinking about brain function.

Cognitive neuroscientist Emily Kappenman, a new hire in the SDSU psychology department, served as guest editor for a special issue of the journal Psychophysiology focused on replication and reproducibility in in her field. Kappenman’s introductory remarks highlight various methods individual scientists, institutions, journals and funding agencies have taken to ensure that published results can be replicated and validated by independent labs.