Monthly Archives: August 2006

Psychological wisdom

“You can tell a lot about a person by the way they are.” I’ve heard this attributed to British comedian Harry Hill, but if anyone can verify exactly where it came from, please let me know!

Get your brain scanned

London’s Hammersmith Hospital want to borrow your brain – for about an hour and a half. They are building a medical database of healthy MRI brain scans to allow more accurate comparisons when assessing people with psychiatric or neurological problems. They have a had a number of volunteers already, but are still looking for volunteers […]

How to improve your memory

I watched prime time BBC show How to Improve Your Memory last night and was very impressed. Some of the Beeb’s past efforts to do popular psychology programmes have been a bit dodgy to say the least. I am still haunted by the concept of ‘brain sex’ invented by the producers of Secrets of the […]

2006-08-11 Spike activity

Quick links from the past week in mind and brain news: Psychiatrist Peter Kramer reviews ‘Oath Betrayed: Torture, Medical Complicity, and the War on Terror’ in the Washington Post. Cognitive Daily on psychedelic sunglasses. Could ‘ketamine therapy‘ treat depression? asks the Washington Post. The New York Times reports on the use of the medical lunch […]

Hasta la vista, baby

Human the barricades! OpenCyc are unleashing self-aware software onto the internet.

Did Antidepressants Depress Japan?

Just found this interesting New York Times article from 2004 about the introduction of the concept of depression in Japan since 1999, a country that had no such concept outside of professional psychiatry and medicine. In the late 1980’s, Eli Lilly decided against selling Prozac in Japan after market research there revealed virtually no demand […]

More on gender disparity

Neuroscientist Jake Young gets stuck into the recent debate on male-female mind and brain differences, inspired by a number of recent articles on the topic (see previously on Mind Hacks). Jake does an excellent job of not only summarising what is known about gender differences, but looking at how large these differences are. Sometimes in […]

Neuropsychiatry reviews

Neuropsychiatry Reviews is a monthly magazine that covers new research and emerging trends in neuropsychiatry and neuroscience and publishes its feature articles online two weeks after the paper edition is released. The articles are magazine-style, so don’t contain references, but typically finish with a list of further readings if you want to expand your interest […]

Pathology, plasticity and the sharpened mind

The ever-excellent Developing Intelligence has just posted about research that suggests that certain types of brain pathology may selectively improve mental performance. The first article reports on research that suggests that children with a history of febrile seizures (seizures or ‘fits’ caused by fever) tend to do better in school than their peers. This is […]

Biological psychiatry pioneer dies

One of the pioneers of biological psychiatry, Professor Joseph Schildkraut, died recently, aged 72. ‚ÄúThanks to Schildkraut, it was generally accepted that depression is a medical illness and that many mental disorders are related to imbalances in chemicals in the brain‚Äù, says his obituary that appeared in the Times. Schildkraut laid out his ideas in […]

Sex in the brain

The debate about male-female differences has always been controversial owing to the link with social and political issues. Where science has previously feared to tread, researchers are now beginning to untangle the differences and similarities. The Economist has an in-depth article where they summarise and discuss many of the most reliable male-female differences in psychology […]

Institute of Psychiatry / Maudsley podcasts

King’s College London’s Institute of Psychiatry, the research wing of the Maudsley Hospital, has put a podcast archive of its talks, debates and symposiums online. They include several of the Maudsley Debates where leading researchers debate some of the most controversial issues in mental health (“Schizophrenia – the ultimate delusion?”) and modern cognitive science (“this […]

SciAmMind on neurosurgery, attention and DBS

Scientific American Mind has just released a new issue with several articles freely available online. The article on neurosurgery is by neurosurgeon Dr Katrina Firlik, who we interviewed back in May. In an excerpt from her book, she discusses what influences the decision over whether to operate or not operate on a particular patient. This […]

Area man and his endorphins

The Onion has a funny neuroscience story that charts the struggles of a man in conflict with his troublesome hypothalamus over the need for an endorphin-based mood lift. As always it’s written in their usual laconic style. TALLAHASSEE, FL‚ÄîWith tensions already at an all-time high, the nearly 96-hour standoff between area resident Anthony Shepard and […]

Five minutes with Liz Spikol

Liz Spikol seems to have lived many lives in one. She is currently a journalist, broadcaster and blogger, and the managing editor of the Philadelphia Weekly, one of the city’s leading independent newspapers. She has also experienced the extremes of mood and the unreal world of psychosis, which led to her being admitted to psychiatric […]

New Research Digest, Synapse #4

During the last few days a new edition of the BPS Research Digest has hit the net and neuroscience writing carnival Synapse #4 has been released. The Research Digest is a particularly good one with a piece about hyperlexia (early development of reading) in a 4 year-old autistic boy, a post on how psychopaths understand […]


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