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News in Brain and Behavioural Sciences
The weekly edition of The Human Nature Daily Review
Volume 4: Issue 107 - 4 January, 2004 - http://human-nature.com/nibbs/

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NEWS & VIEWS

Science (2 Jan) - From mad cow, SARS and the flu, to dark energy and the Columbia shuttle disaster -- what were the big science stories of 2003? We'll look back at the science stories that made headlines. [more]


Ancient cosmology (1 Jan) - From our earliest moments, mankind has sought to find meanings in the stars. But the heavens are mute, and can only reflect our own mortal desires and aspirations. [more]


History - Molekul Gospodar begins with the father of genetics, with Mendel and his garden peas. A logical place to start, but this potted cartoon history would have been a dangerous heresy during Lysenko's reign. Dangerous enough for a Gulag reward. [more]



Stress (1 Jan) - Behavior and biology both suggest that females respond to environmental stress by redoubling efforts to care for offspring and creating social support networks, said psychologist Shelley E. Taylor, PhD, at a Nov. 13 lecture, presented as part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) behavioral and social sciences research lecture series. [more]


Psychology and genetics (1 Jan) - A science working group's recommendations have led to plans to further psychologists' knowledge of and involvement in genetics research. [more]


Life (3 Jan) - One tenth of the stars in our galaxy might provide the right conditions to support complex life, according to a new analysis by Australian researchers. And most of these stars are on average one billion years older than the Sun, allowing much more time, in theory, for any life to evolve. [more]


Archaeology (3 Jan) - Humans colonised the Siberian Arctic more than 30,000 years ago, according to Russian discoveries reported today. Flint tools and spear shafts made from mammoth ivory and rhinoceros horn have been found near the Yana river inside the Arctic Circle. [more]


Schizophrenia (1 Jan) - A fuller understanding of signaling in the brain of people with this disorder offers new hope for improved therapy. [more]


Human cloning (30 Dec) - Several fertility doctors around the world maintain they are planning to clone a human baby. For a time late last year, it seemed possible that human cloning had been accomplished. On Dec. 27, 2002, Brigitte Boisselier held a press conference in Florida, announcing the birth of the first human clone, called Eve. A year later, Boisselier, who directs a company set up by the Raelian religious sect, has offered no proof that the baby Eve exists, let alone that she is a clone. NPR's Joe Palca reports on what's happened in the field of cloning since Boisselier's 2002 announcement. [more]


Memory (30 Dec) - That schoolyard fight. That first date. That wild night in Vegas. Such memories seem immutable, like videotapes that can be taken down from a shelf in the mind and played over and over, always the same, until death or dementia erases them. [more]


Anorexia (30 Dec) - Anorexia, the most lethal of psychiatric disorders, afflicts as many as 1 percent of young women and about a tenth as many men, and casts a Svengalian spell, leading its victims to willingly starve themselves in the midst of plenty. Now, psychologist Shan Guisinger has developed a radical new view of anorexia that she says explains both the bizarre features of the illness -- self starvation and hyperactivity -- and its resistance to treatment by traditional psychotherapy. [more]


Bipolar disorder (27 Dec) - A study in the journal Archives of General Psychiatry says MRI images reveal a common physical abnormality in the brains of people of various ages who are diagnosed with bipolar disorder, also called manic-depressive illness. NPR's Michelle Trudeau reports. [more] and [more]


Science (25 Dec) - NPR's Alex Chadwick chats with NPR's Ira Flatow about science highlights in 2003. [more]


"Holiday blues" (25 Dec) - The holiday season is viewed as a time for joy, celebration and cozy family gatherings. Between family obligations and botched travel plans, even those who are usually cheerful might be hit hard by the holiday blues. NPR's Tony Cox talks about maintaining mental well-being during this season with family psychologist Brenda Wade and Dr. Curley Bonds is an Assistant Clinical Professor at the University of California, Los Angeles Neuropsychiatric Institute. [more]


Neanderthals (24 Dec) - Neanderthals were shedding their sturdy physique and evolving in the direction of modern humans just before they disappeared from the fossil record. [more]


Neurophysiology (20 Dec) - Scientists have found an explanation for those mornings where you put coffee on your cornflakes and the cat in the washing machine.  They say it is because of a change in the kind of brainwaves someone produces. [more]


Depression (19 Dec) - Depression affects millions of adults -- and children -- in the United States. What are the causes, and might there one day be a cure that works for all sufferers? In this hour, we'll get an update on the science of depression -- including what scientists are learning about the genetic components of the disease. Will we one day be able to test for a depression gene? Is enough research being done on children? Plus, one father's battle to find treatment for his children. [more]


Human evolution (18 Dec) - In an essay from a new book charting the 20th century's greatest scientific discoveries, CK Brain describes how Raymond Dart found proof that human life began in Africa. [more]


Mental health in the military (17 Dec) - NPR's Juan Williams talks with Doctor Elspeth Cameron Ritchie, an Army psychologist, about ways the U.S. military is caring for the mental health of those in combat. [more] and [more]


Love (14 Dec) - That crazy little thing called love. It can make you, it can break you, but what is it exactly? From infatuation to friendship, therapist Andrew G Marshall analyses the many faces and descriptions of that overused four-letter word. [more]


Psychopharmacology (10 Dec) - Modern antidepressant drugs which have made billions for the pharmaceutical industry will be banned from use in children today because of evidence, suppressed for years, that they can cause young patients to become suicidal. [more]


Medical publishing (7 Dec) - Hundreds of articles in medical journals claiming to be written by academics or doctors have been penned by ghostwriters in the pay of drug companies, an Observer inquiry reveals. [more]


Paleontology (5 Dec) - Scientists have identified the oldest male fossil animal yet discovered. It is an ocean-dwelling creature from 425-million-year-old rocks in the UK. [more]


False memories (4 Dec) - You were abducted by aliens, you saw Bugs Bunny at Disneyland, and then you went up in a balloon. Didn't you? Laura Spinney on our remembrance of things past. [more]


Athletics (3 Dec) - We all know the goals... stronger, higher, faster. But what is it exactly that comes together to make a great athlete? What combination of genetics, determination, work ethic, muscle memory and intelligence does it take to be the best? Join Neal Conan and his guests for a discussion. [more]


Animal cognition (3 Dec) - Monkeys can manage mathematics. Dolphins can be decisive. But US psychologists have broken new ground in the animal intelligence challenge. They have proved that animals are also smart enough to join the "don't-knows". [more]


Archaeology (2 Dec) - A flint object with a striking likeness to a human face may be one of the best examples of art by Neanderthal man ever found, the journal Antiquity reports. [more]


Science and religion (2 Dec) - In western eyes, science and religion don't mix. But Muslims see no contradiction in a belief system that embraces both science and religion. [more]

RESEARCH & COMMENTARY

Bipolar disorder (1 Jan) - A rarely used combination of magnetic fields generated with a conventional MRI scanner immediately and significantly improved the mood of subjects with bipolar disorder, according to researchers at McLean Hospital in Belmont, Mass. [more]


Postpartum depression (1 Jan) - The children of mothers who experience depression up to three months after giving birth are at greater risk than other children for exhibiting serious violent behavior as 11-year-olds, according to a new study in APA's Developmental Psychology. [more]


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Audio and Video

Biography (1 Jan) - George Udny Yule was born February 18, 1871 in Beech Hill near Haddington, Scotland and died June 26, 1951 in Cambridge, England. He was a member of an established Scottish family composed of army officers, civil servants, scholars, and administrators. Both his father and a nephew were knighted. At the age of 16, he began the formal study of engineering at University College, London. George later moved to Bonn, Germany, where he studied under the famous scientist Heinrich Herz. A great influence in Yule's academic life was the well-known statistician, Karl Pearson, who lured him back to London, awarding him a directorship. George Udny Yule was prolific in journal and book publications and in activities related to the Royal Statistical Society, the highlight of his publications being perhaps the book, Introduction to the Theory of Statistics, which went through fourteen editions. [more]


Archaeology (31 Dec) - A skull and jawbones recently found in China is the oldest well-preserved primate fossil ever discovered - as well as the best evidence of the presence of early primates in Asia. But the fossil raises the tantalizing possibility that remote human ancestors may have originated in Asia and stirs up debate about the nature of early primates. [more]


Violence (30 Dec) - Children who observe violence or are victims of it show more behavior problems than other children, according to a study of 175 children aged 9 to 12. [more]


Development (22 Dec) - The brains of mums and dads are tuned in to the sound of toddlers' cries, reveals a brain-imaging study. Non-parents, on the other hand, remain largely oblivious. [more]


Psychiatric protection orders (20 Dec) - Psychiatric patients are routinely treated against their will. Legally enforceable psychiatric protection orders would protect patients from coercive psychiatric interventions. [more]


Comparative genomics (18 Dec) - Nearly 99 percent alike in genetic makeup, chimpanzees and humans might be even more similar were it not for what researchers call "lifestyle" changes in the 6 million years that separate us from a common ancestor. Specifically, two key differences are how humans and chimps perceive smells and what we eat. [more]


Archaeology (17 Dec) - Humans have had a refined artistic bent for at least 33,000 years, according to the discovery of three deftly carved ivory figurines in a cave in southwestern Germany. The miniature statues include a horse, a diving waterfowl, and a half-man, half-lion. [more]  and [more]


Genetics (16 Dec) - A study of coral suggests that ancient members of the animal kingdom slithered through the Precambrian mud with a hefty cache of genes in common with humans. [more]


Shyness (15 Dec) - How you react to stress influences how easily you resist or succumb to disease, including viruses like HIV, discovered UCLA AIDS Institute scientists. Reported in the Dec.15 edition of Biological Psychiatry, the new findings identify the immune mechanism that makes shy people more susceptible to infection than outgoing people. [more]


Addiction (15 Dec) - The anti-spasticity medication baclofen holds promise for helping cocaine abusers overcome their addiction, a study by a UCLA Neuropsychiatric Institute researcher finds. No medication currently holds U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval for treatment of cocaine addiction. [more]


ADHD (11 Dec) - Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and reading disability (RD) are common disorders of childhood that often co-occur. About 20-25% of children and adolescents with ADHD have a reading disability but the cause of this association is unknown. Twin and family studies suggest that genes, strongly indicated for both conditions, may underlie their association. [more]


Depression (9 Dec) - Many people suffering from untreated and undiagnosed depression are turning to Internet communities for help, according to a study published this week in BMC Psychiatry. Scientists believe these virtual communities could be used to offer diagnosis and support to people that are depressed, and offer the possibility of online therapy. [more]


Bullying (9 Dec) - More than one in five 12-year-olds are repeatedly either bullies, victims or both, and bullies are often popular and viewed by classmates as the "coolest" in their classes, according to new UCLA research from the most comprehensive study on young adolescent bullying in an ethnically diverse, large urban setting. [more]


PTSD (7 Dec) - Over one percent of the American population is involved in a serious (causing personal injury) motor vehicle accident (MVA) each year and a majority will experience at least a minor MVA by the age of 30. MVAs are considered the leading cause of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in the general population and car accidents are the number one trauma for men and the second most frequent trauma for women, according to a new book that examines updated research on PTSD among car accident victims and some effective treatments for the disorder. [more]


Evolutionary biology (4 Dec) - In what has been described as the "perfect experiment," evolutionary biologists at the University of Chicago replaced a single gene in fruit flies and discovered a mechanism by which two different "races" begin to become different species, with one group adapted to life in the tropics and the other suited to cooler climates. [more]


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ADHD (4 Dec) - Children with attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) may have significantly altered levels of important neurotransmitters (biochemicals that carry signals to and from cells) in the frontal region of the brain, according to a study publishing in the December issue of the Journal of Neuropsychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences. [more]


Social behavior (3 Dec) - An unusual experiment with monkeys who were switched between mothers shortly after birth has demonstrated the importance of nature over nurture in behavior. Young monkeys reared by a mother other than their own are more likely to exhibit the aggressive or friendly behavior of their birth mothers rather than the behavior of their foster mothers, a University of Chicago researcher has shown for the first time. [more]


Laughter (3 Dec) - There's truth in the maxim 'laughter is a drug'. A comic cartoon fired up the same brain centre as a shot of cocaine, researchers are reporting. [more]


Neurobiology of reward (3 Dec) - By studying how monkeys choose to look at lighted targets for juice rewards, neurobiologists have identified a still-mysterious region of the cerebral cortex as an area that judges the value of rewards, and adjusts that value as circumstances change. [more]


IQ tests (2 Dec) - The year in which IQ is tested can make the difference between life and death for a death row inmate. It also can determine the eligibility of children for special services, adults' Social Security benefits and recruits' suitability for certain military careers, according to a new study by Cornell University researchers. [more]


Sex research (1 Dec) - During a budget debate in the US House of Representatives on July 10, Rep. Patrick Toomey (R-Pa.) proposed an amendment to defund five NIH grants, four of which would examine aspects of human sexuality. "Who thinks this stuff up?" Toomey asked. [more]


Thought sciences (1 Dec) - You see a sweater for sale and think, "I have to have that!" Clint Kilts wants to know why. Kilts, a professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Emory University in Atlanta, is investigating the underlying neural organization that governs personal preferences and the decision-making process. Regarding a product, there's not a lot of conscious deliberation, he says. People decide quickly whether they like something. [more]

REVIEWS & DISCUSSION

Politics - Samantha Power reviews Hegemony or Survival: America's Quest for Global Dominance by Noam Chomsky. [review] [more] [more] and [more]

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Medical enhancement - Stephen Hall reviews The Pursuit of Perfection: The Promise and Perils of Medical Enhancement by Sheila M. Rothman and David J. Rothman. [review] [first chapter]

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Philosophy of biology - Rob Wilson reviews In Mendel's Mirror: Philosophical Reflections on Biology by Philip Kitcher. [review]

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Development - Maria Trochatos reviews The Essential Child: Origins of Essentialism in Everyday Thought by Susan A. Gelman. [review]

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Synergy - David Sloan Wilson reviews Nature's Magic: Synergy in Evolution and the Fate of Humankind by Peter Corning. [review] A review by James Brody. [review]

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Development - Polly Toynbee reviews Meaningful Differences in the Everyday Experience of Young American Children by Betty Hart and Todd R. Risley. [review]

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Psychotherapy - Christian Perring reviews Healing the Soul in the Age of the Brain: Becoming Conscious in an Unconscious World by Elio Frattaroli. [review]

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Parenting - Mark Daims reviews Liberation's Children: Parents and Kids in a Postmodern Age by Kay S. Hymowitz. [review]

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Philosophy - Mathilde Jacobsen reviews Strawson and Kant edited by H-J. Glock. [review]

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Bullying - Mark Daims reviews Odd Girl Out: The Hidden Culture of Aggression in Girls by Rachel Simmons.  [review]

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Mate choice - James Brody reviews The Evolution of Desire: Strategies of Human Mating by David Buss.  [review]

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History - Tom Shellberg reviews Fossils, Finches, and Fuegians: Charles Darwin's Adventures and Discoveries on the Beagle, 1832-1836 by Richard Keynes. [review]

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Body technology - Carl Elliott reviews Our Own Devices: The Past and Future of Body Technology by Edward Tenner. [review]

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Freud - Justin Wintle reviews Killing Freud: 20th-century culture and the death of psychoanalysis by Todd Dufresne. [review]

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Genetics - David W. Pfennig reviews Developmental Plasticity and Evolution by Mary Jane West-Eberhard. [review]

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Science - Peter Pesic reviews Einstein's Luck: The Truth Behind Some of the Greatest Scientific Discoveries by John Waller. [review]

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Literature - David P. Barash reviews A Scream Goes Through The House by Arnold Weinstein. [more] [review]

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Nature vs. nurture - Iver Mysterud reviews Nature via Nurture: Genes, Experience and What Makes us Human by Matt Ridley. [more] [review]

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