News in Brain and Behavioural
NEWS & VIEWS
Psychiatry (18 Oct) - All the latest news from the American Psychiatric Association, Psychiatric News 18 October 2002; Vol. 37, No. 20. [more]
Mental health (18 Oct) - Teenage boys in Japan's cities are turning into modern hermits - never leaving their rooms. Pressure from schools and an inability to talk to their families are suggested causes. Phil Rees visits the country to see what the "hikikomori" condition is all about. [more]
Depression (15 Oct) - Canadians' use of antidepressants has soared by more than 300 per cent over the past two decades, says a study by researchers. [more]
Neuroscience (17 Oct) - A biotech company has developed a way to keep slices of living brain tissue alive for weeks, allowing researchers to study the effect of chemicals on entire neural networks, not just individual cells. [more]
Religion (15 Oct) - "With crystalline precision, Bruce Lincoln tackles and redefines the subject of religion, applying it to a broad range of topics, from the immediate impact of September 11, to the stances taken by President Bush and Osama bin Laden afterward, to the broader role of religion in political conflicts across history," writes Bruce Lawrence. [more] [excerpt]
Male fertility (15 Oct) - The chances of a man having children dip past his 35th birthday, researchers have found. The researchers, from the University of Washington in Seattle, found that damage to the genetic material containing sperm cells increases with age. Unlike most other cells in the body, sperm cells are unable to repair this damage. [more]
Free will (15 Oct) - The issue of free will has perplexed theologians and philosophers for centuries - now neuroscience enters the age-old debate. [more]
Violence (15 Oct) - South African society seems to have become desensitised to violent crime. Ongoing hijackings, murders and robberies have made most people resigned to a fate of living dangerously. But recent cases of infant and child abuse sparked outrage. Carte Blanche brings you a special report on this social epidemic. [more]
Neuroscience (15 Oct) - An intricate society populated by billions of demanding neurons exists inside every brain. Each of those neurons has a complicated life with desires that must be met in order to stave off stupidity, according to research presented at the American Neurological Association's (ANA) annual meeting. [more]
ECT (13 Oct) - Hundreds of mentally ill people are being given electric shock treatment without their consent, the Government has admitted. [more] Max Fink, the psychiatrist known in America as the Grandfather of electro-convulsive therapy (ECT), has that 'I-told-you-so' air of a prophet when he speaks using electric shocks to heal minds. [more]
Psychopharmacology (13 Oct) - Children could soon be given the controversial anti-depressant drug Seroxat - despite evidence linking it to suicidal thoughts and mental problems in young teenagers. [more]
Human cloning (12 Oct) - The first application to clone human embryos in Britain could be lodged within six months. Professor Ian Wilmut plans to seek permission to use the technique which created Dolly the sheep on early human embryos. [more]
Palaeoanthropology (12 Oct) - A recent finding in the dating of Chinese hominid fossils has challenged the prevailing "out-of-Africa" theory regarding the origin of modern man. [more]
Male fertility (11 Oct) - Low birth weight may affect testicle size--and perhaps fertility--later in life, results of a preliminary study from Italy suggest. [more]
REVIEWS & DISCUSSION (cont.)
Psychiatry - Arthur Kleinman reviews The Unbalanced Mind by Julian Leff [more], Creating Mental Illness by Allan V. Horwitz [more], Mad in America: Bad Science, Bad Medicine, and the Enduring Mistreatment of the Mentally Ill by Robert Whitaker [more], and Out of Its Mind: Psychiatry in Crisis. A Call for Reform by J. Allan Hobson and Jonathan A. Leonard. [more] [review]
PAPERS & COMMENTARY
Language- neurolinguistics (18 Oct) - "Two styles of explaining the science of mind and behavior have been competing for as long as anyone cares to remember: empiricist, centering on habit formation, statistical learning, imitation and association; and rationalist, focusing on the projection of internally represented rules. Despite relentless effort, the former has delivered rather meager results, whereas the latter, with its pivotal concept of an internally represented grammar, has produced the solid "conceptual cognitive revolution," writes Massimo Piattelli-Palmarini. [more]
Autism (17 Oct) - The unprecedented increase in autism in California is real and cannot be explained away by artificial factors, such as misclassification and criteria changes, according to the results of a large statewide epidemiological study. [more]
Schizophrenia (17 Oct) - Researchers at the University of Toronto and the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) have discovered a communication link between proteins in the brain that could lead to improved treatments for psychiatric disorders and stroke. The study, published in the Oct. 18 issue of the journal Cell, examined the interaction between two proteins known as dopamine D1 and NMDA receptors. [more]
Sexual behavior (16 Oct) - Teen-age girls are three times more likely to engage in risky sexual behavior if they live in a family afflicted by physical violence - whether they are victims of abuse or witness it between parents, according to a new study by Brown sociologists. [more]
Seasonal affective disorder (17 Oct) - Seasonal patterns of illness have been recognized since ancient times, but the concept of seasonality in psychiatric disorders has only gained prominence in the past two decades. This article reviews the diagnosis, treatment and pathophysiology of winter seasonal affective disorder. [more]
Development (17 October) - Scientists believe they have found a cause of adolescent angst. Nerve activity in the teenaged brain is so intense that they find it hard to process basic information, researchers say, rendering the teenagers emotionally and socially inept. New Scientist, Brain and Cognition.
Depression (16 Oct) - Elderly people who suffer from depression can take the edge off faster by using a drug called mirtazapine, which appears to work more quickly compared to rival drugs. [more]
Cognitive science - Researchers have begun to explore animals' capacities for uncertainty monitoring and metacognition. This exploration could extend the study of animal self-awareness and establish the relationship of self-awareness to other-awareness. It could sharpen descriptions of metacognition in the human literature and suggest the earliest roots of metacognition in human development. [more]
Alcoholism (16 Oct) - Genetic factors play a key role in the development of alcoholism. A family history of alcoholism does not, however, guarantee that individual offspring will develop the disease. In an effort to discover identifying "markers" of those at risk for alcoholism, researchers in the October issue of Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research evaluate the influence of a family history of alcoholism on the response of saccadic eye movements to alcohol. [more]
PTSD (15 Oct) - A study of 40 men who saw combat in Vietnam and their twins who did not suggests the size of the brain region involved in storing memory can predict vulnerability to post-traumatic stress disorder. New York Times, Nature Neuroscience.
Human biology (15 Oct) - People with red hair are more susceptible to pain, according to doctors. Research carried out in the United States suggests that redheads need 20% more anaesthesia than people with other hair colour. BBC News Online, Nando Times.
Menopause (15 Oct) - Women who experience poverty as a child or as an adult are more likely to start the menopause early, a study suggests. Researchers in the United States have found that women who suffer economic hardship are 80% more likely to have early symptoms than those who have had no money worries. BBC News Online, Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health.
Fear (15 Oct) - In a discovery with implications for treatment of anxiety disorders, UCLA Neuropsychiatric Institute investigators have identified a distinct molecular process in the brain involved in overcoming fear. The findings will be published in the Oct. 15 edition of the Journal of Neuroscience. EurekAlert, BBC News Online.
Neuroscience (13 Oct) - Neuropsychologists have mapped different aspects of attention to different parts of the brain's frontal lobes. In particular, problems in screening out irrelevant information seem to be based in the frontal lobes' right side. This research joins mounting scientific evidence that attention is a complex, multi-faceted brain-based process. EurekAlert, Neuropsychology.
REVIEWS & DISCUSSION (cont.)
Antisocial behavior - Lloyd A. Wells reviews Antisocial Behavior in Children and Adolescents: A Developmental Analysis and the Oregon Model for Intervention by John B. Reid, Gerald R. Patterson and James J. Snyder. [more] [review]
Women's rights - Etelka Lehoczky reviews Women for Afghan Women: Shattering Myths And Claiming the Future edited by Sunita Mehta [more], The Good Women of China: Hidden Voices by Xinran Xue [more], and The Vatican's Women: Female Influence at the Holy See by Paul Hofmann. [more] [review]
Science and religion - Michael Ruse reviews Lost Discoveries: The Ancient Roots of Modern Science - from the Babylonians To the Mayans By Dick Teresi [more], Charles Darwin: The Power of Place by Janet Browne [more], and In Darwin's Shadow: The Life and Science Of Alfred Russel Wallace. A Biographical Study On the Psychology of History by Michael Shermer. [more] [review]
REVIEWS & DISCUSSION
Aggression - Nigel Hunt reviews Cross-Cultural Approaches to Research on Aggression and Reconciliation edited by J. Martin Ramirez and Deborah S. Richardson. [review]
History of science - Jon Turney reviews Science: A history 1543-2001 by John Gribbin. [review]
Science - P. D. Smith reviews Fabulous Science: Fact and Fiction in the History of Scientific Discovery by John Waller [more] and The Eureka! Moment: 100 Key Scientific Discoveries of the 20th Century by Rupert Lee. [more] [review]