News in Brain and Behavioural Sciences
The Weekly Edition of The Human Nature Daily Review
Volume 1: Issue 22 - 14th July, 2001
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Sex problems - Many people with panic disorder or social phobia have sexual problems as well, the results of a new study suggest. The findings may have implications for therapy, the study's authors report, since some of the drugs used to treat the psychological disorders have sexual side effects. [more]


Human genome - Bo Yuan, of Ohio State University, in Columbus, and his colleagues, suspect that the human genome contains not 30,000 genes, but more than twice that figure. Their estimate, arrived at using a different approach from that employed by Celera and the Human Genome Consortium, is 65,000-75,000. [more]


Homosexuality - Brazilian biologists say they have found evidence of homosexual relationships between dolphins. [more]


Gene database - The world's largest and most ethnically diverse DNA database is to be created in the UK, but there are concerns about data confidentiality and "genetic vampires". [more]


Creationism - Judging by the mail we've been receiving, WorldNetDaily has struck a very raw nerve with its recent reporting on the debate over evolution vs. creation. [more] The Board of Education approved Pennsylvania's first science standards Thursday after changing language critics said could lead to the widespread teaching of creationism in the state's public schools. [more]


Suicide - Children as young as six are attempting suicide in Britain after suffering sex abuse, school bullying and exam stress, the counseling service ChildLine said on Wednesday. [more]


Editor's choice Depression - The leaders of their profession have tried for years to convince the public that mental illness is nothing to be ashamed about. But some psychiatrists go to extremes to hide their own treatment for depression, including prescribing Prozac or other drugs for themselves. [more]


Human genome - Humankind stands on the verge of a new era of breakthroughs in treating disease thanks to the sequencing of the human genome, scientists told lawmakers Wednesday. [more]


Tomboys - The way a girl twin's brain develops may be in part influenced by the sex of her fellow twin. BBC News Online, Ananova.


Divorce - The chances of a successful marriage may be determined by your genes. Scientists have found there is a significant genetic influence on whether or not a marriage lasts. [more]


Editor's choice Farming - Modern humans began farming centuries earlier than previously thought, a new study claims. [more]


Archaeology - The world’s oldest stone tools were made by hominids who selected their raw materials carefully and understood how they could be used, new finds from Ethiopia have shown. [more]


Editor's choice Deconstructing the dead - A well-known illusion of a meaningful pattern is the alleged ability of mediums to talk to the dead. [more]


Jazz - The mental health problems of one musician could have led to the creation of jazz. Without his schizophrenia, Charles "Buddy" Bolden - the man credited by some with starting off the jazz movement - might never have started improvisation, psychiatrists have heard. [more]


Mental health - The National Institute for Mental Health in England (NIMHE) will be charged with improving treatment and research in an area which critics say has been neglected for too long. [more]


Editor's choice Primatology - conservation - Chimpanzees are under threat in Africa because of excessive hunting and exploitation, says a leading conservationist. [more]


Science - Transparency, philosophy and questioning are key factors in bridging the gulf in communication that exists between different scientific disciplines and, in the process, restoring public faith in science and scientists, concluded a trio of radical thinkers last night. [more]


Mental health - Rep. Patrick Kennedy, noting his own bouts with depression, says he wants to create a government program to help kids adjust emotionally and socially before entering kindergarten. [more]


Reproduction - Lesbian couples could one day have baby girls that are genetically their own, thanks to a technique being developed in Australia to help infertile men. [more]


Sexual behaviour - When it comes to romance, men, women are polls apart. [more]


Psychiatry - A group of psychiatrists has made a formal protest to the president of the profession's royal college against a drug company's sponsorship of a conference opening today. They complain that the industry's marketing distorts the mental health agenda to the point where pills are seen as the answer to all ills. [more]


Schizophrenia - Many people with schizophrenia are being denied access to the latest drugs, a report has found. [more]


Archaeology - Five years after his discovery, Kennewick Man is still in a custody battle between the federal government and some anthropologists, who made their arguments at a hearing last week in Portland. [more]


Mental health care - Thousands of mentally ill children and teenagers in the country who, doctors, advocates and officials say, are trapped in psychiatric hospitals and in other institutions for lack of treatment programs outside. [more]


Archaeology - After a career of tweaking old-school archaeology's tail, SMU professor Lew Binford shows no signs of slowing down. [more]


Memory - Absent-mindedness is just the start of memory problems. When the brain distorts the past, our view of who we are suffers. [more]


Criminology - Psychologists used to 'solve' crimes by measuring your ears. Now they simply size up your neuroses. [more]


Human genome - Gene mapping seemed the holy grail. Now scientists are realizing that the real truth is hidden in our proteins, says Richard Lewontin. [more]


Intellectuals - What are we thinking of? Gardening and cooking, mostly. True, we British were never that keen on fine minds and big ideas, but is the intellectual in mortal danger? [more]

Pain - For the first time, researchers have examined in real time how different people feel pain in the brain. By monitoring healthy humans experiencing sustained pain, scientists at the University of Michigan got to watch the brain's painkiller system in action and determined that not all brains handle pain equally well. Scientific American, Science, EurekAlert.


SUBSCRIBE to this weekly newsletter on brain, behaviour, and evolution by sending a blank email here. You are welcome to join our discussions on evolution or mental health.


Addiction - Exposure before birth to methamphetamine, an increasingly popular "club" drug, renders males, even as adults, much more susceptible to the drug's brain-damaging effects, reveals a study performed in mice by researchers at the University of Chicago. [more]


Suicide - More young men in the UK are committing suicide than ever before, according to official figures released Thursday. [more] Exposure to the suicidal behavior of friends or relatives and media accounts of suicide may not trigger suicidal behavior in the people who witness such attempts, according to the results of a new study by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). [more]


Editor's choice Human genome - The notion of a uniform genetic blueprint for human beings took a tumble on Thursday, as the most detailed examination yet of variations in the genetic makeup of people detected unexpectedly large individual differences. Reuters, New York Times.


Editor's choice Earliest human ancestor - Anthropologists have discovered the remains of the earliest known human ancestor in Ethiopia, dating to between 5.2 and 5.8 million years ago and which predate the previously oldest-known fossils by almost a million years. EurekAlert, News and Views, Nature, Nature, Nature Science Update, Reuters, BBC News Online, ABC News, Washington Post, Nando Times, New York Times, The Guardian, The Independent, UniSci, Los Angeles Times, San Francisco Chronicle, Chicago Tribune, University of Illinois Press Release, Scientific American, CNN.


Pathological gambling - Like drug and alcohol abuse, pathological gambling should be viewed as a chronic medical condition, Yale researchers assert in an article published in the July 11 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA). [more]


Genomes - Not much was decided at the workshop on "developing guidelines for choosing new genomic sequencing targets," assembled by the US National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) and held July 9 and 10. [more]


Circadian rhythms - Researchers have pondered, and investigated, for decades why one person is alert and productive at 6 a.m. while another can't even focus before noon. But now, their persistence is paying off: chronobiologists, those who investigate circadian rhythms, or daily clocks, are finally making concrete links between sleep patterns in humans and a menagerie of well-studied animal models. [more]


Genealogy - Scientists at Brigham Young University have a large project on their hands: They're collecting blood samples from 100,000 people in order to trace family histories and create a DNA database. [more]


Addiction - Cocaine addicts may have such a tough time kicking the habit because cravings for the drug increase long after they have stopped taking it, scientists said Wednesday. [more]


Editor's choice Brain development - A team of Cornell University neurobiologists has modeled key milestones in brain development across nine mammalian species, from hamsters to humans. They have, for example, pinpointed the date after conception when the cells that make up the retina of the eye are formed. [more]


Editor's choice Brain imaging - When we think, our brain lights up - or so we have been led to believe by the now-familiar pictures of the brain in action, which depict a glow around the active area. Now neuroscientists in Germany have finally worked out what these pictures are telling us. Nature Science Update, Nature, Nature Feature of the Week.


Editor's choice Pheromones - The prevailing view of the mammalian olfactory system is that odorants are detected only in the nasal olfactory epithelium, whereas pheromones are generally detected in the vomeronasal organ. Here we show that vomeronasal neurons can actually detect both odorants and pheromones. [more]


Editor's choice Origins of sex - Biologists have long known the advantages of sexual reproduction to the evolution and survival of species. Sex helps a fledgling creature pass on its good mutations and respond better to environmental stresses that would leave its asexual neighbors floundering in the shallow end of the gene pool. Researchers from the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) propose an answer, based on studies of RNA material and computer-simulated activity of bacteria. [more]


Reproduction - Scientists in Australia have found a way to fertilize eggs using genetic material from any cell in the body - and not just sperm. [more] [video] [video] [audio] [audio]


Editor's choice Evolution - In a new study of desert-dwelling fruit flies, University of Arizona researchers have discovered that differences among populations are driven by an arms race between the sexes. [more]


Development - Babies can remember sounds they heard in the womb more than a year after birth, a study has found. [more] UniSci.


Neuroscience - Old mathematical theorems are being used to unfold the human brain. [more]


Editor's choice Hormones - The evolution of hormones has seen long periods when little happened, interspersed with bursts of activity, new research suggests. This challenges the conventional view that all proteins evolve at a more-or-less uniform rate. [more]


Experimental psychology - A team of scientists trying to discover if blondes really do have more fun are appealing for more volunteers to help their research. [more]


Editor's choice Lateral gene transfer - A paper from the Institute for Genomic Research (TIGR) greatly strengthens the case for the lateral transfer of genes from one species to another as a widespread phenomenon in the microbial world. But last month, to much media fanfare, TIGR reported that bacteria-to-human gene transfer is far less likely than what the publicly funded Human Genome Project postulated earlier this year. [more]


Finger length - Scientists have now measured hundreds of people's hands and linked their finger structure to an extraordinary array of behaviors--musical talent, athletic ability, spatial skills, dyslexia, stuttering, sexual orientation. In March, British researchers added autism to the list. [more]


Abuse - Neglect and abuse during early childhood can cause memory loss and impaired cognitive abilities later in life by boosting the production of a hormone that harms the brain's learning and memory center, scientists said on Monday. [more]

Suicide - Suicide: An Unnecessary Death edited by Danuta Wasserman. [more]
Amazon US | Amazon UK
Barnes & Noble


Mental Health - Women and Schizophrenia edited by David J Castle, John McGrath, and Jayashri Kulkarni and Women and Mental Health by Dora Kohen. [more]

Amazon US | Amazon UK
Barnes & Noble


Evolution - Michael Shermer reviews Defenders of the Truth: The Battle for Science in the Sociobiology Debate and Beyond by Ullica Segerstråle. [more]

Amazon US | Amazon UK
Barnes & Noble


Emotion - Marek Kohn reviews Emotion: The Science of Sentiment by Dylan Evans. [more]

Amazon US | Amazon UK
Barnes & Noble


Animal minds - Marina Benjamin reviews Wild Minds: What Animals Really Think by Marc D. Hauser. [more]

Amazon US | Amazon UK
Barnes & Noble


Schizophrenia - Daniel Nettle reviews The Madness of Adam and Eve: How Schizophrenia Shaped Humanity by David Horrobin. [more]

 Amazon UK


SUBSCRIBE to this weekly newsletter on brain, behaviour, and evolution by sending a blank email here. You are welcome to join our discussions on evolution or mental health.



Aging - The Ageing Brain provides the first popular, comprehensive and wide ranging examination of ageing from a biological, social and policy perspective. Within the book, Lawrence Whalley challenges many of the accepted wisdoms surrounding ageing, most importantly that mental decline is inevitable - there are in fact aspects of brain function that improve with ageing. [more]

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Editor's choice Darwin - The twelfth volume of "The Correspondence of Charles Darwin" is published by Cambridge University Press on Wednesday 11 July, 2001. It includes all letters written in 1864 to and from the most celebrated of nineteenth-century naturalists. [more]

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Psychiatry - Paul Raeburn reviews Out of its Mind. Psychiatry in Crisis: A Call for Reform by J. Allan Hobson and Jonathan A. Leonard. [more]

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