News in Brain and Behavioural Sciences
The weekly edition of The Human Nature Daily Review
Volume 1: Issue 34 - 17th November, 2001

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Human genetics - An Icelandic company that has drawn criticism for mining the medical information of the country's citizens has found 350 genes linked to more than 40 common diseases. [more] A new study shows that using genetic information about patients could avert many harmful drug reactions once thought to be unavoidable. [more]

Depression - Symptoms of depression appear to peak in men during their 50s, but in women there is typically no increase in symptoms with age until about age 65, according to data from a longitudinal study presented Thursday at the Gerontological Society of America meeting in Chicago. [more]

Mental health policy - China's first regional mental health law, aimed at protecting the rights of those suffering from mental illness, is likely to be approved in Shanghai by the end of the year. [more]

Humour - Planning to watch a comedy? It may be good for you -  anticipation of laughter triggers healthy mood changes, may reduce stress hormone levels, boost immune defenses. [more]

Editor's choice Psychiatry - Psychiatric News from the American Psychiatric Association, 16 November, Vol. 36,, No. 22. [more]

ADHD - Many parents of children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) could be doing more to help their child succeed in school and get along with peers and family, results of a national survey suggest. [more]

Editor's choice Clinical trials - National Institute of Mental Health (US) clinical research studies listed by institute of principal investigator. Active accrual of new subjects. [more]

Dreaming - Language is so frequently touted as the most ‘human’ of human capacities that I fear we, as a species, have overlooked that which truly distinguishes us from the rest of the natural world - dream interpretation. [more]

Schizophrenia - Brains of teens with early onset schizophrenia are ravaged by a back-to-front wave of gray matter loss that parallels the progression from hallucinations and delusions to thinking and emotional deficits, National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) - supported scientists have discovered. [more]

Race - "Race" is meaningless genetically, a confounding variable in medical research, and studies should no longer be based on it, geneticists argued at a briefing yesterday. [more]

Science - "I would certainly join a Society for the Protection of Scientific Terms. The urge was particularly strong after I had experienced Shiatsu, which is like acupuncture without needles, not unpleasant. But I was then told that I had very low kidney energy," writes Lewis Wolpert. [more]

Neuropsychology - Researchers say professional musicians can hear music just by thinking about it. Neuroscientists say the violinists they studied have an intuitive sense of notes that amateurs lack. [more]

Editor's choice Australopithecines -  Dr Alexandra Freeman, researcher on the BBC series Walking With Beasts, explains how computer animators portrayed the walking behaviour of Australopithecus, possible ancestors of modern humans that lived around three million years ago. [more]

Depression - Remember your mother telling you: ''Eat your fish. It's good for your brain.'' She may just have been right. Scientists think they have evidence that fish oil could cure mental disorders such as depression and dyslexia -- conditions increasingly common in the Western world. [more]

Stress and depression - For the overwhelming majority of Americans, the primary threat of the anthrax scare isn't bacteria; nor is the top risk of terrorism a suicide bomber. It's the stress these threats arouse that's far more likely to cause harm or even death. [more] Surgeon General predicts increase in depression, suicide in US. [more] In what may be a sign of the times, one depressed dot-commer is offering free Prozac to depressed consumers as part of a promotion by the drug company. [more]

Stress - Several different teams today presented seemingly contradictory results on gender-specific differences in the response to stress. [more] and [more]

Neuropsychology - Just like a kettle that never boils, time seems to slow down or stand still when watching a clock because the brain reconstructs conscious perceptions and rewrites the immediate past. [more]

Male menopause - Japanese scientists have founded a medical institute to study the male menopause. [more]

Neuroscience - The brain of Albert Einstein has clear differences from an average person's gray matter, according to a California researcher. [more]

Art - Eighty years after they were first introduced to the world, robots and humans now exist side by side. The symbiotic relationship between the two has inspired a new generation of art -- and scientific research -- that examines where people end and machines begin. [more]

Neuroscience - Women's brains are more tightly packed with cells in the area that control mental processes such as judgement, personality, planning and working memory, researchers have found. [more]

Prozac (fluoxetine) - The anti-depressant Prozac causes a dramatic increase in aggressive behaviour in mice the day after the drug is administered, US researchers have found. [more]

"War lingo" - It has been ramped up, locked down, weaponized, aerosolized, nasal swabbed, laser-painted and finely milled ever since 9-11. [more] DISCUSSION: Larry Trask.

Depression - During the past tumultuous months, many people in this country have found themselves confronted by a new demon: the blues. In the week after the Sept. 11 attacks, a staggering 71% of Americans said they felt depressed, according to the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press. Those rates have gradually declined in subsequent surveys, but one theme has remained constant: Women were much more likely than men to say they felt depressed. [more]

Parenting - T. Beery Brazelton, the 83-year-old author of dozens of books on being a parent, is probably the nation's most trusted pediatrician — and a ubiquitous presence in the world of child-rearing. [more]

Artificial intelligence - Creativity is one of those things which makes humans so special. But could there ever be a day when computers are composers, theoretical physicists, or artists? [more]

Psychopharmacology - A study which suggests the controversial drug Ritalin could cause long-term brain changes has been attacked. [more]

Archaeology - The latest archaeological discovery at the Old Stone Age ruins in Yangyuan County, north China's Hebei Province, proves that human activities began in east Asia some 2 million years ago, archaeological sources said. [more]


Call for papers -  The New England Institute for Cognitive Science and Evolutionary Psychology (NEI) invites papers for an historic international conference on "Unconscious Cognition and Evolution". [more]

Language - A selective deficit for living things after temporal lobectomy for relief of epileptic seizures. [more]

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Neuroscience - Scientists at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory have found that experimentally altering nitric oxide levels in the developing brain of tadpoles significantly affects brain size and the number of brain cells. The study is significant because it is the first definitive demonstration of the essential role of nitric oxide during vertebrate brain development. [more]

Editor's choice Funding - 'Elucidation of the underlying mechanisms of the placebo effect'. The goal of this initiative is to stimulate crossing cutting, integrative research aimed at delineating the underlying mechanisms by which a placebo leads to its ultimate physiological and psychological effects. [more]

Editor's choice Transsexualism - Left-handedness may be more common among transsexuals than in the general population, suggesting that the two conditions might share a common developmental origin, according to UK researchers. [more]

Fragile X - Scientists at last may have determined how mental retardation develops in people with fragile X syndrome, a condition caused by the inherited loss of an essential protein, termed the fragile X mental retardation protein (FMRP). [more]

Neuropsychology - Postmenopausal women who take estrogen and young college-aged women perform more consistently on memory tests compared with postmenopausal women not taking the hormone. [more] DISCUSSION: Anna Michaels.

Aggression - Exposure to violent imagery may stun a person into frozen silence, but apparently the brain takes no such pause. Researchers have found that immediately upon viewing scenes of aggression between people, a portion of the brain moves quickly to help the witness form an appropriate emotional response. [more]

Editor's choice Immunology - In a discovery that demonstrates a clear link between the mind and body at a molecular level, scientists have shown that a chemical signal which normally allows nerve cells to communicate with each other –to alter sleep cycles, for example -- can also re-direct actions of the immune system. [more]

Editor's choice Epidemiology - Hormonal changes in women over successive pregnancies could partly explain why firstborns are more likely to develop allergies than their younger brothers and sisters. [more]

Editor's choice Schizophrenia - Maternal infections during pregnancy are associated with the subsequent development of schizophrenia and other psychoses in adulthood. Archives of General Psychiatry, Reuters Health.

Depression and evolution - Depression Is an Adaptation. [more] Sex Hormones, Darwinism, and Depression. [more] Clinical Depression Is a Disease State, Not an Adaptation. [more] Ethical Dilemmas in Prescribing Antidepressants. [more] Is Depression Adaptive for the Human Species? [more] Depression Is an Adaptation. [more]

Editor's choice Genomic neurology - Genomic Neurology: A New Beginning. [more] The Human Genome Is Sequenced: What Does It Mean and Why Is It Important? [more] Impact of the Human Genome Sequence on Neurology and Neuroscience. [more] Genomes, Neuroscience, and Neurology. [more] Neurogenetics in the Postgenomic Era. [more] Thoughts on the Relationship of the Human Genome Project to Neurology. [more] 2025: The Practice of Neurology: Back From the Future. [more]

ADHD - Atomoxetine is safe, well tolerated, and more effective than placebo in reducing symptoms associated with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, according to a report published in the November 5th issue of Pediatrics. [more]

Editor's choice Evolution - A mystery that has puzzled evolutionary biologists for years -- why some animals postpone breeding in order to stay home and help their families -- may actually make good evolutionary sense. [more]

Editor's choice Neuroscience - In a groundbreaking study, Medical College of Wisconsin researchers report that functional magnetic resonance images (fMRI) show the brains of men and women respond differently to stimulation of the viscera or gut. [more]

Neuroimaging - Brain imaging works well in children, too, according to new research at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. [more]

Call for subjects - Within the framework of the research program on "Cognitive Biases" by Dr. Pohl at the Justus-Liebig-Universität Giessen (Germany), we are planning to conduct a cross-cultural study on estimation tasks. [more]

Neuroscience - When we pay attention to the task at hand, we're more likely to do it well, but it's not clear exactly what parts of the brain help us focus. Now, researchers have identified a brain region that monkeys use to pay attention to what they see. [more]

Editor's choice Posttraumatic stress disorder - Thousands of cases of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) will likely emerge from the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Many cases will last a few months, but severely traumatized witnesses could suffer for the rest of their lives. How can a single horrific experience with nasty aftershocks sear the psyche for decades? [more - free registration required]

Psychosomatics - Theodore M. Brown discusses 'The Rise and Fall of Psychosomatic Medicine' [more], 'The Historical and Conceptual Foundations of the Rochester Biopsychosocial Model' [more], 'The Growth of George Engel's Biopsychosocial Model' [more]

Editor's choice Psychopharmacology - Scientists at the University at Buffalo have shown that the drug methylphenidate, the generic form of Ritalin, which physicians have considered to have only short-term effects, appears to initiate changes in brain function that remain after the therapeutic effects have dissipated. [more]

Self-esteem - American kids have a bloated sense of themselves, a new study suggests. [more] DISCUSSION: Leif Edward Ottesen Kennair, Lynn O'Connor, Leif Edward Ottesen Kennair, Benjamin Beit-Hallahmi, David Smith, Leif Edward Ottesen Kennair, Walter Foddis, Lynn O'Connor, Tom Schoenemann.

Cognitive neuroscience - Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine have found that telling a lie and telling the truth require different activities in the human brain. [more]

Parenting - Men worry about how they can integrate their role as so called providers with their new self image as family focused and 'involved fathers' according to new research. [more]

Obstetric complications - Women who give birth during the winter are the most likely to have suffered potentially dangerous complications in the preceding months. [more]

Evolution - NCSE now has available a Congregational Study Guide, a resource for churches wishing to help their members discuss the new PBS series Evolution. [more]

Editor's choice Phrenology - A digitized copy of George Combe's massive 2 volume System of Phrenology (1853 ed) - complete with scores of illustrations. [more]

Food - Christopher Hirst reviews Food: A History by Felipe Fernández-Armesto. [more]

Amazon UK

Emotion - Wendy Steiner reviews Upheavals of Thought: The Intelligence of Emotions by Martha C. Nussbaum. [more] [first chapter]

Amazon US | Amazon UK
Barnes & Noble

Evolution - The Condensed Edition of Charles Darwin's On The Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life. [more] Squashed philosophers. [more] DISCUSSION: David Hill.

Agency - Thomas Sturm reviews Being Human: The Problem of Agency by Margaret S. Archer. [more]

Amazon US | Amazon UK
Barnes & Noble

Sociobiology - Keith Harris reviews The Triumph of Sociobiology by John Alcock. [more]

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Barnes & Noble

Psychiatry - Sean Spence reviews Brave New Brain: Conquering Mental Illness in the Era of the Genome by Nancy C Andreasen. [more]

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Barnes & Noble

Population - Maurice King reviews Beyond Six Billion: Forecasting the World's Population edited by John Bongaarts, Rodolfo A Bulatao; Panel on Population Projections, Committee on Population, and the National Research Council. [more] and [more]

Biography - Douglas Palmer reviews Emma Darwin: The inspirational wife of a genius by Edna Healey. [more]

Amazon UK

Archaeology - Mike Pitts reviews Stone Age Soundtracks: The acoustic archaeology of ancient sites by Paul Devereux. [more]
Amazon UK

Neuroscience - Solomon L. Moshé reviews The Private Life of the Brain by Susan Greenfield. [more]

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Barnes & Noble

Genetics - Nathaniel H. Robin reviews Your Genetic Destiny: Know Your Genes, Secure Your Health, and Save Your Life by Aubrey Milunsky. [more]

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Eugenics - Barron H. Lerner reviews Homo Sapiens 1900 a film by Peter Cohen. [more]

Medicine - William L. Nyhan reviews The Metabolic and Molecular Bases of Inherited Disease, vols 1-4 edited by Charles R. Scriver, Arthur L. Beaudet, Williams S. Sly, and David Valle. [more]

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Language - Herbert Gintis reviews Educating Eve: The "Language Instinct" Debate by Geoffrey Sampson. [more] DISCUSSION: William Benzon, Herbert Gintis, Herbert Gintis, William Benzon, Jules Levin

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Asperger's syndrome - David Corcoran reviews The OASIS Guide to Asperger Syndrome: Advice, Support, Insight, and Inspiration by Patricia Romanowski Bashe, Barbara L. Kirby, Tony Attwood. [more]

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Emergence - Harvey Blume reviews Emergence: The Connected Lives of Ants, Brains, Cities, and Software by Steven Johnson. [more]
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Emotions - Christian Perring reviews Strong Feelings: Emotion, Addiction, and Human Behavior by Jon Elster. [more]

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Self-psychology - Aleksandar Dimitrijevic reviews The Tragedy of the Self: Individual and Social Disintegration Viewed Through the Self Psychology of Heinz Kohut by Gary F. Greif. [more]

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Ethics - Simon Kirchin reviews Fact and Value: Essays on Ethics and Metaphysics for Judith Jarvis Thomson edited by Alex Byrne, Robert Stalnaker and Ralph Wedgwood. [more]
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