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News in Brain and Behavioural Sciences
The weekly edition of The Human Nature Daily Review
Volume 2: Issue 50 - 16th March, 2002

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Depression - Depressed patients who are not responding to treatment may benefit from a technique that activates one side of the brain, according to a recent report. [more] Mild-to-moderate depression, by far the most common form of the disease, is easily diagnosed and treated by doctors. [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.

Narcissism - Narcissistic people do not make pleasant colleagues, but they perform better than average at tasks that would daunt others, according to new US research. [more]

Male menopause - The male menopause may be all in the mind and men can be as sexually active in their 60s as they were in their 20s, research suggests. [more]

Creationism - Leading scientists are calling for school inspectors to re-examine a faith school over the way it is teaching evolution. [more] "Science is incompatible with religion, regardless of what the religious, desperate to preserve their dwindling patch, may say", according to Peter Atkins. [more] and [more]

Editor's choice Psychiatry - Al the latest news from the American Psychiatric Association: Psychiatric News 15 March 2002; Vol. 37, No. 6. [more]

Music - neuroscience - Neuroscientist and musician Tramo believes music is hardwired in specific parts of the brain, and this accounts for its universality. [more]

Mental health - Mental or behavioural problems which could blight the rest of their lives are suffered by up to one in five of the world's children, two United Nations agencies warned yesterday. [more]

Autism - Doctors may be able to find a cause for autism in more than a third of cases, researchers in the Netherlands suggest. [more]

Stephen Jay Gould - Only Stephen Jay Gould would dare to rewrite Darwin. But will America's best-known scientist leave much of an imprint? [more]

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Mental illness - Andrea Yates' capital murder conviction may help improve understanding of mental illness and how it can best be treated, according to mental health experts. [more]

Editor's choice Human evolution - Thousands of years before Christians, Muslims, and Jews became locked in dispute over the Middle East, humans wrested control of the region from its true original inhabitants, the Neandertals, in what one scientist compares to a prolonged game of football. [more]

Mental health - A study of patients enrolled in Medicare managed-care plans suggests that blacks get poorer quality care than whites when it comes to mental illness and certain other ailments. [more] and [more]

Profile - It's hard to have a discussion of popular natural history and evolution literature without mentioning Stephen Jay Gould. The Alexander Agassiz Professor of Zoology and Geology at Harvard, his essays have been collected in a number of books, including The Panda's Thumb and The Lying Stones of Marrakech. [more]

Economics - Why do we buy more when we have less to spend? Behavioral economists can explain. [more]

Psychology - New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson (R) signed legislation into law authorizing properly trained psychologists to prescribe psychotropic medications to patients, making New Mexico the first state in the country to institute such a law. Originally introduced by Rep. Edward Sandoval (D), bill 170 passed 56-11 in the New Mexico state house chamber and 29-9 in the Senate. [more]

Art and science - An internationally renowned contemporary artist and a professor of neuropsychology peered into their own brains yesterday, to see if they could identify what made them different. [more] and [more]

Psychopharmacology - Should we trust the scientific data on the effects of drugs? Not if the case of depression, for which pharmaceutical companies found a new definition, is anything to go by. Jerome Burne reports. [more]

Obsessive behaviour  - Doctors have begun to treat people who suffer from a compulsive need to shop with a drug originally designed to treat depression. [more]

Mental health - Up to one in five of the world's children is suffering mental or behavioural problems according to two UN agencies. [more]

Creationism - A debate seen as a test case for how children across the United States are taught about the origin of the universe is reaching its climax in Ohio this week. [more] and [more]

Hormones - Obese patients could be helped by experiments which suggest a particular hormone can affect appetite in humans. [more]

Neuroscience - Scanners that could determine our political beliefs, pinpoint our involvements in crime, or even uncover extra-marital liaisons are being developed by neurologists. [more]

Memory - Scientists have identified a key brain protein involved in retaining memories, which could help explain why some are stored away and some are not. [more]

Art and science - A new exhibition about the brain tries to bring visual arts and science together. But it's a false premise. Art does not help us understand how the world works - and to merge the two disciplines trivialises them both claims Lewis Wolpert. [more]

Editor's choice Brain evolution - Progressively larger brains evolved in primates of all stripes, not just humans. We can thank a common capacity for solving a broad range of problems, from coordinating social alliances to inventing tools, according to a new study. [more]

Editor's choice Women and depression - More than 19 million Americans suffer from depression yearly and women are twice as likely as men to experience a major depressive episode. Depression may occur at any age during a woman's life with certain events like puberty, pregnancy, perimenopause, trauma, substance abuse and quality of relationships increasing the risk, according to the leading authorities on the etiologies and treatments for depression. [more]

Neuroscience - Researchers have watched monkeys weigh different decisions while tracking the behavior of individual neurons in their brain. The work, reported in the 14 March issue of Neuron, shows how neurons keep track of recent events while making a comparison. [more]

Placebo effect - Many reports show that placebos have significantly greater effects than giving no treatment, so rather than employing placebos simply as controls in experiments or clinical trials, there is increasing study of the mechanism(s) of placebo effects. As in many cases in biological psychology and biomedical sciences, no single mechanism accounts for all the effects. [more]

Eating disorders - Binge-eating, a disorder that can lead to obesity in young women, can be predicted by looking at a girl's negative emotions, including dissatisfaction with her body image, new data confirms. [more]

Genetics - What is the architecture of genetic change? The model organisms for which linkage maps have been created are often bred in the laboratory to express certain phenotypes, and they can reveal only so much about the structures that give rise to phenotypic diversity. What has been lacking is a system for studying the genetics of adaptation in the wild. [more]

Evolution - New findings support 'out of Asia' hypothesis for origin of key groups of modern mammals. [more]

Editor's choice Pediatrics - In this new study exposure to violence and trauma-related distress in young children were associated with substantial decrements in IQ and reading achievement. Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, New Scientist.

Biology - Articles marking the 75th birthday of Sydney Brenner, one of the most inventive and influential scientists of his generation. [more]

Body dysmorphic disorder - Violence may be a more serious problem in body dysmorphic disorder than hitherto recognised, especially in view of the associated use of anabolic steroids. [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.

Neurology - Neurology has evolved from a rich, descriptive discipline to one with many diagnostic and therapeutic options supported by an increasingly robust evidence base. [more]

Consciousness - We propose that the isomorphism generally observed between the representations composing our momentary phenomenal experience and the structure of the world is the end-product of a progressive organization that emerges thanks to elementary associative processes that take our conscious representations themselves as the stuff on which they operate, a thesis that we summarize in the concept of Self-Organizing Consciousness (SOC). [more]

ADHD - A new Mayo Clinic study shows that attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (AD/HD) affects up to 7.5 percent of school-age children. Previous studies had estimated the occurrence of AD/HD to be anywhere between one and 20 percent of school-age children. [more]

Anxiety - The clue to understanding anxiety may be written in your genes. [more]

Editor's choice Neuroscience - An animal's ability to move - like the kicking of a developing baby or the crawling and walking of insects - is intrinsic, not dependent on sensory stimulation. Press release, Nature.

Religion and health - Popular claims that religious activity provides health benefits have virtually no grounding in the medical literature, according to an article in the March issue of the Annals of Behavioral Medicine. [more]

Depression - Reductions in glial cell density and neuronal size have been described recently in major depressive disorder - a finding confirmed by the latest study. [more]

Editor's choice Eating disorders - genetics - A multi-center, international collaborative team of researchers is the first to identify a region on chromosome 1 that may contain genes that make an individual vulnerable to developing anorexia nervosa. [more] [more] and [more]

Neuroscience - Alcohol researchers have found significant linkage and linkage disequilibrium between beta brain wave (EEG) frequency and a cluster of gamma-aminobutyric acid type A (GABAA) receptor genes on human chromosome 4. [more]

Editor's choice Memory - researchers at the University of Houston have determined that levels of transport molecules for glutamate - chemicals that latch on to and "sweep away" glutamate - increase during learning, suggesting that this molecular cleaning crew has an important role in the process. [more]

Memory - Elegant research released today from Nobelist Eric Kandel's laboratory reveals that the cAMP response element binding protein (CREB), long implicated in memory consolidation, primes brain cells to retain long-term memories. [more]

Experimental psychology - Without visual cues, people can use either spatial language or 3-D sound to find their way In blind and blindfolded-sighted people, spatial language worked as well as audio cues, aiding the design of navigation tools for the visually impaired. [more]

Epilepsy - Scientists believe they have identified a "master gene" linked to epilepsy and learning difficulties. Although other genes which can help cause epilepsy have already been identified, this gene controls how, where and when other genes work, affecting the way the brain functions. BBC News Online, EurekAlert.

Editor's choice Evolution - Mark Ridley reviews The Structure of Evolutionary Theory by Stephen Jay Gould. [more] and [more]

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Publishing - Brian Dillon reviews The Gutenberg Revolution  by John Man and Radiant Textuality by Jerome McGann. [more]

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Autism - Andrew W. Zimmerman reviews The Biology of the Autistic Syndromes 3rd ed, by Christopher Gillberg and Mary Coleman. [more]
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Mental illness - Nigel Lester reviews Every Family in the Land: Understanding Prejudice and Discrimination against People with Mental Illness edited by Arthur Crisp. [more]

Editor's choice Evolutionary psychology - Robert Kurzban 'Alas Poor Evolutionary Psychology: Unfairly Accused, Unjustly Condemned' essay review of Alas, Poor Darwin edited by Hilary Rose and Steven Rose. [more]

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Biology - Josie Glausiusz reviews The Future of Life by Edward O. Wilson. [more]

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Language - Eric Haeberli reviews Foundations of Language: Brain, Meaning, Grammar, Evolution by Ray Jackendoff. [more]

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Evolutionary psychology - John D. Wagner reviews The Mating Mind: How Sexual Choice Shaped the Evolution of Human Nature by Geoffrey Miller. [more]

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Primatology - Adrian Barnett reviews Significant Others: The ape-human continuum and the quest for human nature by Craig Stanford. [more]

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Genetics - Steven Rose reviews The Intelligent Genome by Adolf Heschl. [more]

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Psychopathology - Fred M. Levin reviews Origins of Psychopathology: The Phylogenetic and Cultural Basis of Mental Illness by Horacio Fabrega. [more]
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Psychiatry - Claudia Bukszpan Rutherford reviews Mad in America: Bad Science, Bad Medicine, and the Enduring Mistreatment of the Mentally Ill by Robert Whitaker. [more]

Mad in America

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Primatology - conservation - Mark Baechtel reviews In the Kingdom of Gorillas: Fragile Species in a Dangerous Land by Bill Weber and Amy Vedder. [more]

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Biology - autobiography - Curt Suplee reviews Genes, Girls, and Gamow: After the Double Helix by James D. Watson. [more]
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Altruism - Craig T. Palmer reviews Altruistically Inclined? The Behavioral Sciences, Evolutionary Theory, and the Origins of Reciprocity by Alexander J. Field. [more]

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Love - Lynn O'Connor reviews A General Theory of Love by Thomas Lewis, Fari Amini, and Richard Lannon. [more]

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Bipolar disorder - autobiography - Drugs, felony charges, even jail couldn't stop him... Electroconvulsive therapy did. A manic memoir by Andy Behrman. [more] and [more]

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