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News in Brain and Behavioural Sciences
The weekly edition of The Human Nature Daily Review
Volume 2: Issue 74 - 26th October, 2002 - http://human-nature.com/nibbs/

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NEWS & VIEWS

Cannibalism (25 Oct) - Possible evidence for cannibalism and witchcraft recently was found during excavation work at a site for Eton College's rowing course at Dorney Lake in Berkshire, England. [more]


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Palaeoanthropology (25 Oct) - Richard Leakey is a man famed for his previous work in paleoanthropology. Indeed, the Leakey family name is synonymous with fossil finds that revolutionized the understanding of human evolution. His later focus on wildlife conservation, including his famous fight to save elephants from slaughter in his native Kenya, is equally heralded. Now Leakey is bringing his global stature - his star power - to SUNY Stony Brook, whose faculty he joined this week. [more]



Food additives (25 Oct) - Additives in popular snacks can cause hyperactivity and tantrums in young children, a study suggests. [more]


OCD (25 Oct) - Implanting electrodes into the brains of two patients has rid them of the symptoms of obsessive-compulsive disorder, researchers in France report. [more]


Longevity (24 Oct) - A US team has doubled the lifespan of the nematode worm with no apparent physiological side affects. The key to what appears to be uncompromised longevity is to silence a gene involved in ageing at just the right point in a worm's life cycle. [more]


Human genetics (24 Oct) - The Nuffield Council on Bioethics undermined its report on genes and behaviour with some sensationalist press work. [more]


Parenting (24 Oct) - Psychologist Oliver James thinks that parents need a step-by-step guide to loving their kids. [more]


Altruism (24 Oct) - We take risks to attract the opposite sex. But pure altruism, unaffected by selfish instincts, can still exist, says Robert Winston. [more]


Facial expression (22 Oct) - If you meet someone who looks angry or happy, it is often hard to remain expressionless yourself - and now scientists believe they know why. Researchers in Sweden believe your unconscious mind exerts direct control of your facial muscles. However much you struggle to keep a blank face, your brain may be letting you down. [more]


Animal cognition (23 Oct) - California sea lions may have the best memory of all non-human creatures. A female called Rio that learned a trick involving letters and numbers could still perform it 10 years later - even though she hadn't performed the trick in the intervening period. [more]


Smell (22 Oct) - We are obsessed with our odour. We slavishly scrub off all that makes us distinct as members of a species, and then spray ourselves liberally with a homogenous fug of the latest mass-marketed musk. Jeremy Smith wonders why. [more]


Cosmology (22 Oct) - Despite what recent observations suggest, Professor Andrei Linde from Stanford University and his wife Professor Renata Kallosh say the universe will stop expanding and collapse in the relatively near future. [more]


Gay adoption (20 Oct) - "For more than 100 years science has been warning us to be careful about the aphorism that blood is thicker than water. Blood ties do not automatically bind; our natural instincts are not inevitably benign; the relationships between our genes and our behaviour is very complex. Beware any claim about what is 'natural'," writes Will Hutton. [more]


REVIEWS & DISCUSSION (cont.)

Psychiatry - Michael Brodsky reviews The Difficult-to-Treat Psychiatric Patient edited by Mantosh J. Dewan and Ronald W. Pies. [more] [review]

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Psychology - Carl T. Hall reviews The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature by Steven Pinker [more] [by Steven Pinker] [review]

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Will - Isabel Gois reviews The Illusion of Conscious Will by Daniel M. Wegner. [more] [by Daniel Wegner] [review]

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PAPERS & COMMENTARY

Paleontology (25 Oct) - The shapes and internal structures of individual cells within some of the earliest multicellular animals have been revealed for the first time using technology normally associated with hospitals. [more]


  BBC News BBC News 24 BBC Newsnight Today, Newshour, The World Today, BBC World Service, NPR Hourly News, Talk of the Nation, Science in Action, Discovery, One Planet, The Material World, Thinking Allowed, Heart and Soul, Case Notes, Health Matters, Everywoman.

 Audio and Video

Paleontology (25 Oct) - The quality and completeness of the fossil record and its credibility as a source of information about the history of life have been debated since before Charles Darwin's time. Now, as part of the Paleobiology Database project, a systematic examination is being conducted with some good news so far. [more]


Depression (24 Oct) - Developmental psychologist Jessica van Mulligen from the University of Nijmegen has compiled a questionnaire to detect depressions in children aged six to eight years. The questionnaire is more attuned to the typical symptoms of young depressive children than a much used American questionnaire. [more]


Schizophrenia (23 Oct) - Schizophrenia may not be one single disease but rather an array of disorders whose psychiatric and cognitive symptoms vary according to which part of the brain is affected and to what degree. That's the conclusion of a study published in the October issue of Neuropsychology, in which a seven-neuroscientist team linked schizophrenic subtypes with different memory problems and different brain anatomies. The scientists say this is a "first step in our efforts to uncover the specific biological mechanisms of the disorder," which they hope will lead to better diagnosis and treatment of people with schizophrenia. [more]


ADHD - genetics (22 Oct) - UCLA Neuropsychiatric Institute researchers have localized a region on chromosome 16 that is likely to contain a risk gene for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, the most prevalent childhood-onset psychiatric disorder. [more]


Psychology (22 Oct) - Talking with friends helps keep the mind sharp, a University of Michigan study suggests. EurekAlert, BBC News Online.



Neuroscience (23 Oct) - Duke University Medical Center researchers have discovered that neurons take in receptors and other molecules from their surface membranes through discrete "doorways" -- specialized domains on the surface of nerve cells that regulate such entry. The discovery of such entry points drastically revises a long-held theory that surface molecules such as receptors are enveloped right where they rest in the fatty membrane, to be drawn into the cell's interior. [more]


Distributed computing (21 Oct) - For the first time, a distributed computing experiment has produced significant results that have been published in a scientific journal. Writing in the advanced online edition of Nature magazine, Stanford University scientists Christopher D. Snow and Vijay S. Pande describe how they - with the help of 30,000 personal computers - successfully simulated part of the complex folding process that a typical protein molecule undergoes to achieve its unique, three-dimensional shape. [more]



Neuroscience (21 Oct) - Researchers have developed a new way to use a decade-old imaging method to directly compare the brains of monkeys with those of humans. Their report appeared in the journal Science. [more]


Pedophilia - neurology (21 Oct) - The sudden and uncontrollable paedophilia exhibited by a 40-year-old man was caused by an egg-sized brain tumour, his doctors have told a scientific conference. And once the tumour had been removed, his sex-obsession disappeared. BBC News Online, New Scientist.


Penis size (18 Oct) - On the heels of a previous report that debunked the notion that a man's shoe size could be used to estimate the length of his penis, a new study now claims that those with inquiring minds need merely take a gander at a man's forefinger. According to Greek scientists, the length of a man's index finger can accurately predict the length of his penis. The findings are published in the September issue of the journal Urology. [more] and [more]


REVIEWS & DISCUSSION (cont.)

Pediatrics - Believers call Dr. Harvey Karp a miracle-worker who can trigger almost opium-like serenity in a crying baby within seconds. Detractors say the pediatrician uses nothing more than an old bag of tricks that have no basis in scientific fact. Like him or not, Karp's new book and video, "The Happiest Baby on the Block," have become the talk of pediatric circles. [more] [review]

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REVIEWS & DISCUSSION

Wealth - Burkhard Bilger reviews The Natural History of the Rich: A Field Guide by Richard Conniff. [more] [review]

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Animal rights - Natalie Angier reviews Dominion: The Power of Man, the Suffering of Animals, and the call to Mercy by Matthew Scully. [more] [review]

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Designer babies - Stuart Derbyshire reviews Debating Matters. Designer Babies: Where Should We Draw the Line? by Ed Ellie Lee. [review]

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Biography - Robert Sapolsky reviews Love at Goon Park: Harry Harlow and the Science of Affection by Deborah Blum. [more] [by Deborah Blum] [review]

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Culture - Adrian Barnett reviews Animal Attractions: Nature on display in American zoos by Elizabeth Hanson [more] and Savages and Beasts: The birth of the modern zoo Nigel Rothfels. [more] [review]

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Physics - Graham Farmelo reviews Explaining the Universe by John Charap. [more] [review]

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Science and war - Jonathan Beard reviews Science Goes to War by Ernest Volkman. [more] [review]

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Synesthesia - Liam Dempsey reviews Synesthesia: A Union of the Senses, Second Edition by Richard E. Cytowic. [more] [by Richard Cytowic] [review]

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Neuroscience - James Hitt reviews The Dynamic Neuron by John R. Smythies. [more] [by John Smythies] [review]

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