NewSci on speed, fatigue, denial and terrorism

ns20050723.jpgThis week’s New Scientist has a mixed bag of articles on psychology and neuroscience, covering the effects of amphetamine on the brain, and developments in understanding chronic fatigue syndrome, anosognosia and suicide bombers.

The effects of amphetamine are a hot topic at the moment, owing to recent sharp increases in its use, illegally – in the form of street speed, particularly methamphetamine or ‘crystal meth’, and on prescription – in the form or dexamphetamine and ADHD drug Adderall.

New Scientist has one of its lead articles on the debates over the potential damaging effects of amphetamine, and what this means for recreational users and the millions of children prescribed amphetamine-like drugs.

One worry is a lack of long-term studies into the effects of using such stimulant drugs in childhood, on adult health and functioning.

Another, shorter article, in the same issue, discusses a condition called anosognosia, where a brain-injured patient may be unaware of, or seem to deny, sometimes quite striking disabilities – for example, being blind or paralysed.

Other short articles tackle the social psychology of terrorism and the role of intra-group declarations of commitment in motivating suicide bombers, and recent findings on contributory genes for the still, largely mysterious, chronic fatigue syndrome.

None of the articles are online (grumble grumble), but your local library may have it if your newsagent doesn’t.

Link to New Scientist contents page.

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