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News in Brain and Behavioural Sciences
The weekly edition of The Human Nature Daily Review
Volume 4: Issue 110 -  25 January, 2004 - http://human-nature.com/nibbs/

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PTSD (25 Jan) - Up to one in five of the American military personnel in Iraq will suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, say senior forces' medical staff dealing with the psychiatric fallout of the war. This revelation follows the disclosure last month that more than 600 US servicemen and women have been evacuated from the country for psychiatric reasons since the conflict started last March. At least 22 US soldiers have killed themselves - a rate considered abnormally high. [more]

Genetics (22 Jan) - The honeybee has been sequenced - and nobody noticed. Opening a six-page special, Steven Rose asks why we no longer care about genes. [more]

Shyness and sickness (23 Jan) - In the midst of a flu epidemic, some good news-researchers think they've solved the age-old medical mystery of why shy, sensitive people are more vulnerable to infectious disease. [more]

Prisons - mental illness (22 Jan) - On any given day, it is estimated that about 70,000 inmates in U.S. prisons are psychotic. Anywhere from 200,000 to 300,000 male and female prison inmates suffer from mental disorders such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and major depression. Prisons hold three times more people with mental illness than do psychiatric hospitals, and U.S. prisoners have rates of mental illness that are up to four times greater than rates for the general population. [more]

Neanderthals (21 Jan) - It is possibly the longest-running murder mystery of them all. What, or even who, killed humankind's nearest relatives, the Neanderthals who once roamed Europe before dying out almost 30,000 years ago? [more]

Neuroscience (15 Jan) - Are you having trouble keeping that New Year's resolution to get more exercise? As this ScienCentral News video reports, scientists are finding more reasons you should stick to it. We already know that exercise is good for the heart and the body. But now there's more evidence that it's good for the brain too. [more]

Traumatic stress (19 Jan) - Soon after the collapse of the World Trade Center, experts predicted that one out of five New Yorkers-some one and a half million people-would be traumatized by the tragedy and require psychological care. Within weeks, several thousand grief and crisis counsellors arrived in the city. [more]

Cheating (18 Jan) - Researchers ask if Americans are cheating more often -- and what can be done about it. [more]

IQ (20 Jan) - As it reaches its centenary, Wendy Berliner asks if the intelligence test is back in vogue. [more]

Economics - evolutionary psychology (20 Jan) - Anthropologist Alan Fiske has pointed out that there are four ways in which humans transact: on the basis of authority; on the basis of communal sharing; on the basis of equality matching; and on the basis of market pricing. In the era of small hunter-gatherer tribes in which our brains evolved, only the first three were needed. Market pricing is required once you start to interact with strangers. [more]

Death (19 Jan) - Michael Ignatieff has studied and written about wartime atrocities as a journalist and a researcher. But in his latest book, "Charlie Johnson in the Flames," he has summoned the power of fiction to explore conflict's many faces of death. [more]

Imperialism (19 Jan) - The Saddam saga is only a small part of wider narrative of modernity which has been based on imposition of an imperial world order where order is privileged over justice, where stability is promoted over people, where liberation, human rights and democracy remain a convenient tool in the hands of the privileged. [more]

Pollution (19 Jan) - Our pharmaceutical drugs are turning up in the environment and in animals. What will the consequences be? [more]


Journal Clubs (21 Jan) - New research findings are generally published in academic journals, where they become part of the vast record of scientific data and ideas. But as medical student and commentator Joe Wright tells us, scientific journal articles have another life beyond news reports and library shelves. Just as literature aficionados have book clubs, people who care about research have journal clubs. [more]

EuroNews BBC News   Channel Four News (UK) CBC News (Canada) ABC News (Australia) FeedRoom (US) Deutsche Welle RTÉ News (Ireland) CBS News (US) BBC News 24 BBC Newsnight BBC Question Time BBC Radio Player, BBC World Service, Today, Newshour, The World Today, Radio Netherlands, NPR Hourly News, Talk of the Nation, Science in Action, Discovery, One Planet, The Material World, Thinking Allowed, Heart and Soul, Case Notes, Health Matters, Everywoman United Nations US Congress UK Parliament.

Audio and Video

Sexual behaviour (21 Jan) - Researchers have suggested that size matters when it comes to sex - the size of part of the brain, that is. According to David Reutens at the University of Melbourne, Australia, a person's sex drive may be proportional to the size of their amygdala, a small 'emotion' centre nestled at the base of the brain. [more]

Addiction (21 Jan) - The discovery of a molecular "addiction switch" in the mammalian brain has the potential to control the addiction process in drug addicts. [more]

Stress (21 Jan) - High levels of estrogen may enhance the brain's response to stress, making women more vulnerable to mental illnesses such as depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), according to a Yale study. [more]

Panic disorder (20 Jan) - Three brain areas of panic disorder patients are lacking in a key component of a chemical messenger system that regulates emotion, researchers at the NIH’s National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) have discovered. [more] Data from large scale epidemiological surveys suggest that panic disorder is more common in women than in men (Joyce et al., 1989; Katerndahl and Realini, 1993; Reed and Witchen, 1998). [more]

Learning - sleep (22 Jan) - "Sleep on it" is standard advice to anyone agonizing over a tricky puzzle. A study of mathematical problem-solving has now shown that a good night's rest really does give you a fresh perspective. The discovery lends credence to the popular maxim that sleep stimulates lateral thinking, says Jan Born of the University of Lübeck, Germany, who led the project. Nature Science Update, Associated Press

Reward - addiction (20 Jan) - The reward mechanism involved in addiction appears to regulate lifelong social or pair bonds between monogamous mating animals, according to a Center for Behavioral Neuroscience (CBN) study of prairie voles published in the January 19 edition of the Journal of Comparative Neurology. [more]

Primate evolution (20 Jan) - Yoav Gilad and his colleagues at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthology in Germany and the Weizmann Institute in Israel have found a correlation between the loss of olfactory receptor (OR) genes, which are the molecular basis for the sense of smell, and the acquisition of full trichromatic color vision in primates. [more] and [more]

Memory (20 Jan) - Long-lasting neuronal reverberation following novel waking experiences can occur in several forebrain sites and is strongly enhanced during slow-wave sleep. Because neuronal reverberations are sustained for long periods, this may support a mechanism to recall and amplify memories until they are effectively stored. [more] and [more]

Personality (20 Jan) - A test that can assess a dog's personality has helped to prove what pet owners know, but many psychologists deny: pooches have personality. The test, developed by Sam Gosling from the University of Texas at Austin and his colleagues, may help researchers to unravel the biology of animal and human character. [more]

Memory (18 Jan) - Cypin is found throughout the body, but in the brain it regulates nerve cell or neuron branching. Branching or dendrite growth is an important process in normal brain function and is thought to increase when a person learns. A reduction in branching is associated with certain neurological diseases. [more] and [more]


Complexity - Rainer Kamber reviews From Complexity to Life: On the Emergence of Life and Meaning edited by Niels Henrik Gregersen. [review]

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Science on stage (23 Jan) - From Proof to Copenhagen, plays starring science have met with critical acclaim. But what makes for a good science drama? A look at how science is being brought to the stage. Have we moved beyond the stereotype of the crazy-haired professor? Plus, we'll hear songs from two science musicals: Fermat's Last Tango and Einstein's Dreams. [more]

Development - Peter B. Raabe reviews The Psychology of Good and Evil: Why Children, Adults, and Groups Help and Harm Others by Ervin Staub.  [review]

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Neuroscience - Steven Rose reviews The Space Between Our Ears: How the Brain Represents Visual Space by Michael Morgan. [review]

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Sexual health (13 Jan) - Britain is in the grip of an epidemic of sexually transmitted infections. The number of cases of gonorrhoea has doubled in the last 5 years - the number of confirmed syphilis cases has risen tenfold! But Chlamydia remains the most worrying infection. [more] [audio]

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Self - The idea of the self as something wholly constructed out of the narratives we create about our lives has become a staple across the humanities. But it's utter nonsense, says Galen Strawson, considering Making Stories by Jerome Bruner. [review]

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