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News in Brain and Behavioural Sciences
The weekly edition of The Human Nature Daily Review
Volume 2: Issue 55 - 20th April, 2002

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Race - The British anti-slavery movement was grounded in the belief that colonial subjects could be 'civilised' by Christianity. But, writes Catherine Hall, this vision gave way to a harsher view of race. [more]

Eve - In a television documentary scheduled for airing on the Discovery Channel this Sunday, humankind is said to share a common genetic link that can be traced to one woman who lived in Africa more than 150,000 years ago. [more]

Psychiatry - All of the latest news from the American Psychiatric Association Psychiatric News 19 April 2002; Vol. 37, No. 8. [more]

Smoking - Parents who smoke both before and around the time of conception are more likely to have female babies, it is claimed. [more]

Feral child - A disabled Nigerian boy believed to have been adopted and raised by chimpanzees for 18 months is in care in a specialist children's home in this northern city. [more]

Child development - Having at least one parent with major depression increases a child's risk for depression as well as substance abuse and anxiety disorders in late adolescence and early adulthood, new study findings show. [more]

Light therapy - Bright-light therapy may be an effective treatment for depression in pregnant women, Yale researchers report. [more]

Young love - New research suggests that teenage romance may have a profound influence on depression later in adolescence. [more]

Personality - Australian researchers are testing the hypothesis that asymmetric distribution of brain activity predicts personality. According to the hypothesis, people with more electrical activity in their right frontal lobes are more likely to be depressed. [more]

Men - Men were pronounced economically and evolutionarily finished in the late 1990s. But Charlotte Allen says that manhood is back in fashion. [more]

Personality disorders - Many psychiatrists say people with severe personality disorder who commit sexual and violent offences are untreatable. But is that true? A controversial pilot scheme aims to find out. [more]

Depression - Definitive though it may have sounded, the recent federal study of St. John's Wort still hasn't answered all the questions about the herb's effectiveness in treating depression. [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.

Profile - An insatiably curious observer looks back on a life in evolution. Claudia Dreifus talks to Ernst Mayr. [more]

Writing - Carved in the limestone of a desert cliff in Egypt is a 5,250-year-old tableau of a victorious ruler, perhaps the so-called King Scorpion - whose exploits, previously the stuff of myth and legend, may have been critical to the founding of Egyptian civilization. The archaeologists who discovered the tableau seven years ago now say it may be the world's earliest historical document. [more]

Asian genome project - Genetic research looking into diseases that specifically affect people living in Asia is to be launched in China and Japan. [more]

Noble savage - A romantic-sounding notion dating back more than 200 years has it that people in prehistory, such as Native Americans, lived in peace and harmony. Then "civilization" showed up, sowing violence and discord. Some see this claim as naive. It even has a derisive nickname, the "noble savage myth." [more]

Human genome - A complete detailed map of the human genome will be finished by next year, according to the new president of the Human Genome Organisation. [more]

Medicine - As more people fill surgeries seeking a cure for ageing or alcoholism, doctors are rebelling. Perhaps we need less medicine, not more. [more] and [more]

Profile - "Fellow Darwinists hate Stephen Jay Gould's talent for self-publicity while creationists fear his ability to enthuse millions about evolution. Next week he publishes the climax of his life's work and secures his place in the history of science," writes Robin McKie. [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.

Laughter - Eric Johnson on the biology of humour. [more]

Adult sleepwalking - Adult sleepwalking differs from childhood sleepwalking, and it may have a genetic component, according to research presented during the American Academy of Neurology's 54th Annual Meeting in Denver. [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.

Smell - Whether for finding food, avoiding predators or choosing a mate, the sense of smell is critical for the existence of many creatures. We humans, able to distinguish over 10,000 scents, utilize our sense of smell for a multitude of activities from enjoying the aroma of freshly brewed coffee to deciding whom not to sit next to on the bus. [more]

Traditional medicine - Despite the competition from Western medicine, traditional medicine is still much in demand in Africa. [more]

Sleep - Research has clarified what most parents already know about the sleep patterns of adolescents - they seem to have an unlimited capacity to sleep late on weekends. In a study presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Neurology, researchers propose that teenagers need more sleep than they may be getting, and that sleeping late on weekends may be a result of relative sleep deprivation during the week. [more]

Editor's choice Consciousness - A new web forum called Science and Consciousness Review has just launched. SCR will be an easy-to-read, up-to-date resource for everyone interested in scientific studies of consciousness. We will not publish primary empirical articles, but will focus on interpreting the rapidly growing scientific literature, from sources like Science, Nature, Consciousness & Cognition, and Psyche.

Depression - General practitioners may require more extensive training and support to acquire skills to help patients with depression, finds a study in this week's British Medical Journal. [more] and [more]

Editor's choice Evolution - New research that accounts for gaps in the fossil record challenges traditional methods of interpreting fossils and constructing evolutionary trees. Applying a new statistical approach to primates demonstrates that this group-from which humans developed-originated 85 million years ago (Mya) rather than 65 Mya, as is widely accepted. EurekAlert, BBC News Online, Ananova.

Sexual behaviour - Despite the brain's central role in sexual function, little is known about relationships between brain activation and sexual response. [more]

Neuroscience - Despite a growing recognition of the anatomical basis of the cortical minicolumn, as well as its physiological properties, the potential of the minicolumn has not been exploited in fields such as comparative neuroanatomy, abnormalities of the brain and mind, and evolution. [more]

Gender differences - Contrary to widely held belief, girls are not under-performing in middle school and high school math; girls' and boys' achievement in math classes is virtually the same. But girls seem to have less interest in the subject, and this may be a contributing factor to the dearth of women in math-related occupations, particularly jobs in information technology. [more]

IQ - Children who are outgoing and adventurous as toddlers have substantially higher IQs by the time they are preteens, according to new research by scientists studying how personality shapes intelligence. Press release, Seattle Times.

Body dysmorphic disorder - Fluoxetine therapy may be useful in the treatment of body dysmorphic disorder (BDD), according to a report published in the April issue of the Archives of General Psychiatry. [more]

Cocaine babies - Scientists know the effects of cocaine on the adult brain and cardiovascular systems. Now there is a growing body of research documenting the effects of prenatal cocaine exposure on infants, which is raising public health concerns about the long-term cognitive and developmental outcomes for these children. [more]

Evolution - A researcher studying the last common link between invertebrate and vertebrate animals has found a key genetic change that separates the spineless from the backboned. [more]

Editor's choice Addiction - Some people's brains may harbor their own built-in defense system against the addictive powers of cocaine. According to new research at The Rockefeller University, a naturally occurring brain opiate called dynorphin may, in certain individuals, serve as an antidote to counter the pleasurable, yet dangerous, effects of cocaine. [more]

Testosterone - Older men with higher testosterone levels performed better on tests of cognition in a new study from UCSF researchers. [more]

Addiction - The first images of inhalants in the brain reveal why solvents may be so addictive. [more]

Editor's choice Development - The transition from childhood to adulthood means we gain some cognitive abilities, but lose others, according to a scientific paper presented at the American Academy of Neurology Annual Meeting in Denver, April 13-20. The conclusions from the relatively small study are preliminary. [more]

Intimate Partner Violence - Recent research has shown that intimate partner violence is a common experience among adolescents. [more]

Human rights - Jon Holbrook reviews From Kosovo to Kabul: Human Rights and International Intervention by David Chandler. [more]
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Palaeontology - David Papineau reviews Time Traveler: In Search of Dinosaurs and Ancient Mammals From Montana to Mongolia by Michael Novacek. [more]

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Trauma - Simon Wessely reviews Traumatic Pasts: History, Psychiatry, and Trauma in the Modern Age, 1870-1930 edited by Mark S Micale and Paul Lerner. [more]

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Politics of science - Richard C. Lewontin reviews Science, Truth, and Democracy by Philip Kitcher, Science, Money, and Politics: Political Triumph and Ethical Erosion by Daniel S. Greenberg and Our Posthuman Future: Consequences of the Biotechnology Revolution by Francis Fukuyama. [more]

Editor's choice Evolutionary psychology - Gary L. Brase reviews Conceptual Challenges in Evolutionary Psychology: Innovative Research Strategies edited by Harmon R. Holcomb III. [more]
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Editor's choice Folk biology - The Biology of the Masses: A Review of Medin and Atran's Folkbiology by William D. Casebeer. [more]

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Life - Kevin Shapiro reviews The Future of Life by Edward O. Wilson. [more]
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History - Peter McCandless reviews Bodies Politic: Disease, Death and Doctors in Britain, 1650-1900 by Roy Porter. [more]

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Medical ethics - John M. Clark reviews Medical Ethics in the Ancient World by Paul Carrick. [more]
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History - Marek Kohn reviews Of Moths And Men: Intrigue, Tragedy and the Peppered Moth by Judith Hooper. [more]

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Life - Marek Kohn reviews The Future of Life by Edward O Wilson. [more]
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Evolution - David Perlman reviews The Structure of Evolutionary Theory by Stephen Jay Gould. [more]
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Editor's choice Creationism - Jason Rosenhouse reviews Intelligent Design: The Bridge Between Science and Theology by William A. Dembski and The Wedge of Truth: Splitting the Foundations of Naturalism by Phillip E. Johnson. [more]

Extinction - Johann Hari reviews A Guide to the End of the World: Everything you never wanted to know by Bill McGuire. [more]
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Language - Kathryn Hughes reviews Language In Danger: How Language Loss Threatens Our Future by Andrew Dalby and The Power of Babel: A Natural History of Language by John McWhorter. [more]

Child abuse - Kenneth W. Feldman reviews Physical Signs of Child Abuse by Christopher J. Hobbs, Jane M. Wynne. [more]
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Eugenics - Tony Platt reviews The Unfit: A History of a Bad Idea by Elof Axel Carlson and Building a Better Race: Gender, Sexuality, and Eugenics from the Turn of the Century to the Baby Boom by Wendy Kline. [more]

Futurology - Steven Johnson reviews Our Posthuman Future: Consequences of the Biotechnology Revolution by Francis Fukuyama. [more]
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Human evolution - Robin McKie reviews A Brain for All Seasons: Human Evolution and Abrupt Climate Change by William H. Calvin. [more]

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Evolution - Michael Shermer reviews The Structure of Evolutionary Theory by Stephen Jay Gould. [more]
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