News in Brain and Behavioural Sciences
The weekly edition of The Human Nature Daily Review
Volume 2: Issue 48 - 2nd March, 2002

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Cooking - Richard Wrangham believes that humanity was launched by an ape learning to cook. In a burst of evolution around two million years ago, our species developed the family relations that make us such a peculiar kind of animal. Cooking made us women, men and lovers. [more] [video]

History - Edward Larson talks to Tim Radford about the draw of the Galapagos islands and the mighty influence of Charles Darwin. [more]

Psychology - In 1995, APA's Council of Representatives officially approved a resolution making prescription privileges for psychologists a major policy directive for the association. Since then, advocates for prescription privileges (RxP) have taken the ball and run with it. [more]

Editor's choice Eating disorders - Binge-eating disorder: What's the best treatment? [more] A genetic link to anorexia. [more] Further gene studies show promise. [more] Promising treatments for anorexia and bulimia. [more] Pressing for better insurance coverage for eating disorders. [more] 'Partners in illness': patients trading thinness tips. [more]

Depression - The success of "happy drug" Prozac has helped to destigmatise depression, according to new research. [more]

Aging - Older fathers are more likely to produce fetuses with chromosomal anomalies that lead to miscarriage or birth defects, shows new research. It was known that older women had a higher risk of such problems, but this is the first research to demonstrate a linear link between age and chromosome anomalies for men. [more]

Depression - Sleep apnoea, in which breathing is disrupted during sleep, can have significant effects on mental as well as physical health, a study has suggested. [more]

Science - Science can't save us from ourselves. 'People in the West are beginning to believe that life should be completely controllable and that all babies should be perfect' [more]

Obituary - Dr. Irving Kupfermann, a leading student of the way that animals' nervous systems control their feeding behavior and motivational states like hunger, died on Feb. 19 at his home in Port Washington, N.Y. He was 64. [more]

Science - The world would be a more stimulating and rewarding place if we take an interest in subjects outside our own speciality, argues Dr Peter Cotgreave. [more]

Rape - A test that can prove a woman has been raped even if no sperm are found should be widely adopted, the first large-scale study suggests. [more]

Editor's choice Creationism - According to the enthusiasts for ID ["intelligent design"], metabolic systems, such as the clotting cascade, are too complex ("irreducibly complex" in their preferred wording) to have arisen through evolution.  Problems with this view are readily apparent. [more - free registration required]

Hormones - There is some evidence that irritable male syndrome, which is triggered by a sudden drop in testosterone, affects men as well as animals. New Scientist, Ananova.

Human evolution - A group of scientists recently announced that the human race has run its best laps. We've reached our biological zenith. This is as good as it gets, unless you are rich. Scientists say the wealthy have the best chance of causing ripples in the gene pool. [more]

Genetics - Designer babies, bionic adults and genetically "improved" humans used to be the stuff of science fiction, but now these are not merely possible but probable outcomes of biotechnology. [more]

Aging - Teaching people memorization strategies that can encourage the brain to work more effectively may help reduce the memory loss that often accompanies aging, researchers say. [more]

Kissing - The truth isn't always pretty. Consider the act of kissing. Smooching. Locking lips. Grabbing some sugar. Whatever you call it, kissing is a worldwide pastime so popular, so pleasurable, so commonplace that the average human being will spend two full weeks of their lives doing it. [more]
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Mental health - Too many people who consult their GP over problems with their mental health are offered medication as the only option, say campaigners. [more]

Obituary - Sir Raymond Firth - Social anthropologist who put the fieldwork of the first generation on a sound empirical basis. [more]

Editor's choice Human evolution - On the biggest steps in early human evolution scientists are in agreement. The first human ancestors appeared between five million and seven million years ago, probably when some apelike creatures in Africa began to walk habitually on two legs. They were flaking crude stone tools by 2.5 million years ago. Then some of them spread from Africa into Asia and Europe after two million years ago... [more]

Pheromones - Pheromones are the mysterious fragrances that govern the primal urge to court and mate in creatures from moths to mice. A Harvard biologist, Dr. Catherine Dulac, has now made a surprising discovery about how pheromones control the behavior of male mice. [more]

Jealousy - Both men and women tend to be more troubled if their partner falls in love with someone else--an emotional infidelity--than if their partner has a sexual infidelity, despite one theory that the genders differ in their jealousy reactions, according to one psychologist. [more]

Antidepressants - Taking antidepressant drugs can help seriously overweight people to lose weight, research suggests. [more]

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Dyslexia - Children in County Durham are being given fatty acids omega three and omega six to see if they can successfully treat dyslexia. [more]

Human genome - A new genomics database is being unveiled this week that its developers say will definitively pinpoint human genes and help clear up the mystery of how many genes there are. [more]

Creationism - A religious campaign to block the teaching of evolutionary biology is taking an inexorable grip on the US. A survey published in Scientific American reveals that the doctrine of creationism - which holds that the origins of humanity and the Earth are recent and divine - is spreading in the world's greatest technological nation at a disturbing rate. More and more states are restricting the teaching of evolution in schools. [more] and [more]

Sex differences - Over the past decade new discoveries in basic human biology have made it increasingly apparent that many normal physiological functions--and in many cases, pathological functions--are influenced either directly or indirectly by sex-based differences in biology. [more]

Editor's choice Browse through our Review of the Year and read the latest controversial and thought-provoking articles and reviews in the Human Nature Review.

ADHD - A new brain-imaging study offers insight into why individual patients respond differently to standard doses of Ritalin, a drug used to treat millions of children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) each year. [more]

Fatherhood - Girls whose fathers are involved in their upbringing are less likely to have mental health problems in later life whilst good father relations can prevent boys from getting into trouble with the police says new research released during National Science Week 2002 which runs from 8 -17 March. [more]

Play - From puppies romping through a field or rat pups wrestling and nipping at each other to an infant shaking a rattle, nearly all social animals play in some form. Myriad species spend some of their time in activities that have no obvious function other than fun. Why would a behavior develop across multiple species if it doesn't have some ulterior function? [more]

Behavioural toxicology - Could exposure to lead in early childhood be behind the rising levels of crime and other antisocial behaviors during the last half of the 20th century? [more]

Editor's choice Depression - Studies have reported that countries with high rates of fish oil consumption have low rates of depressive disorder. [more]

Editor's choice Language - Watkins and colleagues report a new MRI analysis of an inherited speech and language disorder showing structural brain abnormalities. [more]

Pretending - Researchers set out to determine whether children's pretending does them any good. [more]

Meditation - Scientists investigating the effect of the meditative state on Buddhist monk's brains have found that portions of the organ previously active become quiet, whilst pacified areas become stimulated. [more]

Neuroscience - Recent work has suggested an association between the orbitofrontal cortex in humans and practical decision making. The aim of this study was to investigate the profile of cognitive deficits, with particular emphasis on decision-making processes, following damage to different sectors of the human prefrontal cortex. [more]

Editor's choice Amygdala - The amygdala may not be specialized for processing emotional faces, but may instead respond to faces because they provide important information for the defense appraisal that is its primary responsibility. [more]

"Sweaty palm syndrome" - The embarrassing problem of a "clammy handshake" could be genetic, rather than a sign of nervousness, scientists claim. [more] and [more]

ADHD - Preschool children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are similar to older children with ADHD in terms of disease severity, impaired functioning, and psychiatric comorbidity rates, according to a recent report. [more]

Editor's choice Neuroscience - That the adult brain can form new cells--a feat once considered impossible--is now widely recognized, but whether these new neurons are functional has been uncertain. Now scientists in California report that newly formed neurons in the brains of adult mice do seem to mature into fully working cells. Yahoo News, Nature.

Language - Bilingual people switch off one language to avoid speaking double Dutch. By first sounding out words in their brain's dictionary, they may stop one tongue from interfering with another. Nature Science Update, Nature.

Editor's choice Genetics - Researchers from the University of Chicago have demonstrated that natural selection plays a much larger role in molecular evolution than anyone suspected. Their report, published in the February 28 issue of Nature, shows that about 25 percent of genes are evolving rapidly in response to competitive pressures. Press release, Nature, Nature.

Editor's choice Antidepressants - Studies establishing the effectiveness of antidepressants are based on highly selective samples of depressed patients. New research by Brown University psychiatrists found as many as 85 percent of depressed patients treated in an outpatient setting would be excluded from the typical study to determine whether an antidepressant works. Press release, American Journal of Psychiatry.

Human evolution - Everyone outside of Africa - Asians, Europeans, Native Americans, Southeast Asians, Australian Aborigines, etc. - came from the same small band of humans that left the mother continent some 80,000 years ago by way of Ethiopia, according to a new theory unveiled Monday by geneticists and DNA detectives. [more]

Aging - By studying a chemical marker in the brain that reflects the health of brain tissue, researchers at Duke University Medical Center have found new clues about why some people experience more rapid age-related brain changes than others. [more]

Editor's choice Social cognition - Successful social interaction partly depends on appraisal of others from their facial appearance. A critical aspect of this appraisal relates to whether we consider others to be trustworthy. Researchers have determined the neural basis for such trustworthiness judgments using event-related functional magnetic resonance imaging. Nature Neuroscience.

Neurogenesis - Serotonin and norepinephrine selective reuptake inhibitors, monoamine oxidase inhibitors, and electroconvulsive seizures increase neurogenesis in the adult rat hippocampus. [more]

Malaria and psychosis - Self-limiting neurologic sequelae--most often, psychosis--can occur in cases of cerebral malaria, Indian researchers report. [more]

Editor's choice Odours - New observations provide convincing evidence that female olfactory acuity to a variety of odorants can vastly improve with repeated test exposures, and suggest a sensory basis for the anecdotal observation of greater olfactory sensitivities among females and raise the possibility that the olfactory-induction process may be associated with female reproductive behaviors such as pair bonding and kin recognition. [more]

ADHD and Tourette's - Research has recently revealed an effective drug therapy for children who have chronic tic disorders (including Tourette's syndrome) concurrent with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. [more] and [more]

Science - John Horgan reviews Science Fictions: A Scientific Mystery, a Massive Coverup, and the Dark Legacy of Robert Gallo by John Crewdson. [more]

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Editor's choice Black history - Gerald Early reviews Nigger: The Strange Career of A Troublesome Word by Randall Kennedy, The Anatomy of Racial Inequality by Glenn C. Loury and The Envy of the World: On Being a Black Man in America by Ellis Close. [more] [Glenn Loury] [first chapter - Nigger] [first chapter - The Envy of the World]

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Psychiatry - Jeffrey Poland reviews DSM-IV Sourcebook, Volume 2 edited by Thomas A. Widiger, Allen J. Francis, Harold Alan Pincus, Ruth Ross, Michael B. First, Wendy Wakefield Davis. [more]
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Ethics - Ben Mulvey reviews Practical Rules: When We Need Them and When We Don't by Alan H. Goldman. [more]
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Psychoanalysis - Craig E. Smith reviews Heinz Kohut: The Making of a Psychoanalyst by Charles B. Strozier. [more]

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Anti-psychiatry - Gordon Fisher reviews Pharmacracy: Medicine and Politics in America by Thomas Szasz. [more]

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Editor's choice Browse through our Review of the Year and read the latest controversial and thought-provoking articles and reviews in the Human Nature Review.

Ethics - Valerie Gray Hardcastle reviews Biomedical Ethics by Terry O'Neill. [more]
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Psychoanalysis - Adrian Johnston reviews Why Psychoanalysis? by Elisabeth Roudinesco. [more]

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Self - Susan Blackmore reviews The Synaptic Self: How our brains become who we are by Joseph LeDoux. [more]

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Mind - Roy Herbert reviews Hidden Minds: A History of the Unconscious by Frank Tallis. [more]

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Medicine - Sharon K. Hull reviews From Detached Concern to Empathy: Humanizing Medical Practice by Jodi Halpern. [more]

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Neurology - Michael J. Aminoff reviews Brain's Diseases of the Nervous System edited by Michael Donaghy. [more]

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Peer Harassment - Kirsti Kumpulainen reviews Peer Harassment in School: The Plight of the Vulnerable and Victimized edited by Jaana Juvonen and Sandra Graham. [more]

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Evolutionary psychology - Dylan Evans reviews The Mind Made Flesh: Frontiers of Psychology and Evolution by Nicholas Humphrey. [more]

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