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News in Brain and Behavioural Sciences
The weekly edition of The Human Nature Daily Review
Volume 2: Issue 56 - 27th April, 2002
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Human evolution - If one of your hominoid ancestors hadn't gotten a viral infection millions of years ago, you might look really, really different today. [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.
Archive

Human Genome Project - When scientists at Celera Genomics announced two years ago that they had decoded the human genome, they said the genetic data came from anonymous donors and presented it as a universal human map. But the scientist who led the effort, Dr. J. Craig Venter, now says that the genome decoded was largely his own. [more]


Neuroscience - In animals, fear is a behavior that's both innate and learned. A rat will freeze at the sight of its very first cat -- but it can also be taught to freeze when there's no cat in sight. What controls these responses? Is it the same as what controls similar responses in humans? In this hour of Science Friday, Ira talks with scientist Joseph LeDoux about his new book "The Synaptic Self: How Our Brains Become Who We Are." [more] [audio]

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Neanderthals - Neanderthals were once portrayed by scientists as primitive cavemen. These ancient humans, who inhabited Europe 30,000 years ago, were believed to grunt and were considered incapable of creating specialised tools. In the last three decades, the image of the Neanderthal has undergone a large revision with scientists challenging each other's research on this race's ability to speak. [more] [audio]


Genes and medicine - A look at the latest developments in gene-based medicine. How can your genetic information be used to make diagnosis easier and treatment better? [more] [audio]



Ebonics - Rural African-Americans increasingly speak the urban-sounding dialect called ebonics, even when their grandparents sound like their white neighbors. [more]


Animal rights - Animal activists in the United States have launched a new campaign to let chimpanzees go to court. [more]


Eugenics - The condemnation of eugenics went too far and it needs reassessment, a leading scientist is arguing. Eugenics is the science of using genetics ostensibly to "improve" mankind. [more]


Consciousness - Scientists pondering how animal consciousness and self-awareness differ from our own hope to gain insight into how consciousness emerges from the human brain. [more]


Autism - Twins are at risk of developing the condition autism, according to researchers. [more]


Creationism - Stephen Jay Gould, one of the great evolutionary biologists of our time, will publish his "magnum opus", this month, in which he lambasts creationists for deliberately distorting his theories to undermine the teaching of Darwinism in schools. [more]


Sex differences - This is an "exciting time" for studying the difference between male and female brains, says a leading US neurologist. Male and female brains differ in many ways but only now are the molecular underpinnings of these differences beginning to be understood, says Peg McCarthy. [more]


Mental health law - Thousands of psychiatric patients could claim damages after a court ruled the government breached the rights of those held against their will in hospitals. [more]


Schizophrenia - Schizophrenics can't tell the difference between reality and hallucinations because both are stimulated in the same place in the brain, according to a Vanderbilt University psychiatrist. [more]


Neuroscience and the law - Does the existence of a criminal brain diminish the notion of personal responsibility? [more]


Profile - Psychiatric expert witnesses are fixtures of the criminal justice system these days, and nowhere more so than in trials involving pleas of insanity to explain and excuse a crime. One of the most prominent and provocative experts is Dr. Park Dietz. [more]


Mental health - Bethlehem mental hospital is hidden from the world by a high, yellow stone wall and heavy iron doors painted blue. It is usually a peaceful sanctuary, where in-patients can wander around a tree-filled garden, cut off from 19-month-old Israeli-Palestinian conflict. But the madness of war enveloped even the hospital this month. [more]


History - The truth behind the legend of Gregor Mendel, almost as famous for fixing his results as for fathering genetics, could lie buried in storage boxes in a Czech warehouse. [more]


Conspiracy theories - Was 11 September actually the work of the CIA? Why is no plane visible on photos taken seconds before the Pentagon was hit? Johann Hari reports on the vogue for conspiracy theories. [more]


Interview - He's a biologist and environmentalist who has a lifelong consuming passion: ants. In them, Edward O Wilson sees a glimmer of hope for the future of our planet. [more]


PTSD - A national network has been set up to treat children whose post-traumatic stress often goes undiagnosed. [more]

Genetics - A new discovery in the brain of honeybees has researchers at three institutions suggesting that the gene they studied has played a key evolutionary role in the changes of food-gathering behaviors in many creatures. [more]


Primatology - The scientists from I. P. Pavlov Institute of Physiology, Russian Academy of Sciences, have investigated the intellectual abilities of chimpanzees in comparison with the children from a nursery school in Koltushy near St. Petersburg. [more]


Neuroscience - Scientists have today unveiled new technology that may one day help doctors identify subtle brain abnormalities that underly major diseases including many psychiatric disorders and dementia. [more]


Editor's choice Poverty - Hunger and poverty in the United States are severe enough to significantly impair the academic and psychosocial development of school-age children and adolescents, according to two studies at Cornell University. [more]


Anorexia - In a study of suicidal behavior of 246 women with eating disorders over a span of 8.6 years, Debra L. Franko and her colleagues at Massachusetts General Hospital, found that women with anorexia nervosa are 57 times more likely to commit suicide than the expected rate for other women in the same age and racial groups. [more] and [full report]


Editor's choice Schizophrenia - Despite promising evidence that a gene closely linked to schizophrenia would be found on human chromosome number 1, an international team of scientists who scoured the chromosome in more than 1,900 patients concludes it isn't there. [more]


Bipolar disorder - New measures aimed at helping patients with bipolar disorder, formerly known as manic depression, to cope with their illness have been devised by a research team at the University of Edinburgh's Department of Psychiatry. [more]


Editor's choice Sex ratios - In Europe, significantly more boys are born in southern countries than in northern latitudes, whereas the reverse is found in North America. Yet the reasons for this remain a mystery, according to a study in this week's British Medical Journal. [more]


Editor's choice Evolution - We are all descended from a mouse-like animal that scurried among the dinosaurs 125 million years ago, scientists revealed today. Ananova, Nature.


Addiction - In research employing fruit flies, scientists at the University of Arizona have provided new insights into how molecules may control addiction, memory formation, and brain plasticity. [more]


Depression - The ability to fully engage in and enjoy family, personal and community activities is a critical milestone on the way to overcoming depression, according to the first survey to define treatment success through the eyes of people with depression. [more]


Editor's choice Breastfeeding - How you smell really can change the way people around you behave-and it has nothing to do with bad BO. Breastfeeding women and newborns give off odours that boost the sexual desire of other women. EurekAlert, BBC News Online.


Editor's choice Development - Using a unique set of data collected over 30 years and six generations of captive-bred monkeys, researchers have found the first evidence that low birth weight is linked to a type of DNA only passed along by females. [more]


Prejudice - A National Science Foundation-funded study at Tufts University shows racial bias and prejudice are related to the lightness or darkness of a black person's skin -- rather than other features such as hair length or texture, lip fullness or nose width. [more]


Editor's choice Neanderthals - Evidence has emerged to suggest the Neanderthals had a war-mongering nature. The early hunter-gatherers got into fights and used weapons, according to the results of a study of a skeleton uncovered in French caves. BBC News Online, Ananova, Washington Post, Nando Times, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, CNN, Scientific American, National Geographic.


Physiology - sex differences - Gender differences in fatigue are explained by the use of the body's aerobic pathways. Women demonstrate greater metabolic efficiency, leading to reduced production of by-products that cause muscle fatigue. [more]


Mental health - Providing crisis services through a residential program for patients with severe mental illness is a cost-savings approach compared with inpatient services on a psychiatric unit, investigators report. Differences in effectiveness appear to not be clinically significant. [more]


Physiology - Tibetans retain resistance to the oxygen-deficient disorder hypoxia regardless of altitude. [more]


Evolution - The most comprehensive genetic study to date concerning the evolutionary relationships among the three animal species whose genes have been completely sequenced--the human, the fruit fly, and the nematode worm--has determined that the human species is more closely related to the fruit fly than to the nematode. [more] and [more]


Genetics - Researchers at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center have harnessed the power of yeast - a simple, single-celled organism crucial for brewing beer and baking bread - as a model to study trait inheritance and the genetics of complex conditions and characteristics at the most basic, molecular level. [more]


Depression - Investigators at Howard University have recently observed the antidepressant effect of nicotine in Wistar-Kyoto (WKY) rats, a putative behavioral model of depression. Drs. Youssef Tizabi and K. Y. Tyler will present their findings at the Experimental Biology 2002 meeting in New Orleans on April 22. [more]

Religion and health - Michael Saunders reviews The Link Between Religion and Health: Psychoneuroimmunology and the Faith Factor edited by by Harold George Koenig and Harvey Jay Cohen. [more]

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Normality - Christian Perring reviews What's Normal? Narratives of Mental & Emotional Disorders edited by Carol Donley & Sheryl Buckley. [more]

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Innateness and the Structure of the Human Mind - This interdisciplinary conference will investigate the nature of the innate capacities, processes, representations, biases, and connections in the human mind. What elements of the mind are plausibly innate? How do these innate elements feed into a story about the development of our mature cognitive capacities? Which of these elements are shared with other members of the animal kingdom? What is the structure of the innate mind? [more]


History - Roy Herbert reviews Pavlov's Physiology Factory by Daniel Todes. [more]

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Paedophilia - Heather C. Liston reviews Erotic Innocence: The Culture of Child Molesting by James R. Kincaid. [more]

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Psychoanalysis - Adrian Johnston reviews Lacan by Alain Vanier. [more]

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Biography - Glyn G. Caldwell reviews The Woman Who Knew Too Much: Alice Stewart and the Secrets of Radiation by Gayle Green. [more]

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Genethics - Neil Levy reviews A Companion to Genethics edited by Justine Burley and John Harris. [more]
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History - Philip J. Pauly reviews A Traffic of Dead Bodies: Anatomy and Embodied Social Identity in Nineteenth-Century America by Michael Sappol. [more]

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Profile - He is the intellectual as celeb, ready to pronounce on all the questions of the day including, soon, our "posthuman future". Francis Fukuyama profiled by Godfrey Hodgson. [more]
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Cross-cultural psychology - Mark Welch reviews Cross-Cultural Topics in Psychology Second Edition edited by Leonore Loeb Adler & Uwe P. Gielen. [more]
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Sexual behaviour - Harmful to Minors: The Perils of Protecting Children from Sex by Judith Levine. [more] [more] and [more]

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History - Lloyd A. Wells reviews Console and Classify: The French Psychiatric Profession in the Nineteenth Century: With a New Afterword by Jan Ellen Goldstein. [more]
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Addiction - Christian Perring reviews More, Now, Again: A Memoir of Addiction by Elizabeth Wurtzel. [more]

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Science and religion - Michael Lotti reviews The Sacred Depths of Nature by Ursula Goodenough. [more]

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