Monthly Archives: November 2007

The joy of sexology

The Charlie Rose Show had a recent discussion on the science of sex, and the video of the programme is available to view online. It’s a fascinating discussion, largely focusing on biology and neuroscience, but as Dr Petra Boyton notes it’s quite a narrow consideration in some respects. For me, simply seeing a discussion of […]

Brave old world: the future of cognitive enhancement

The British Medical Association has just released a report on the ethics of using medical technology to increase cognitive function and optimise the brain. Although the report looks to possible futures, many of them are already upon us. The report is an interesting sign that cognitive enhancement, using largely physical interventions such as drugs and […]

2007-11-23 Spike activity

Quick links from the past week in mind and brain news: Glamour model Daisy Thompson-Lake has a forthcoming paper on synaesthesia in the British Journal of Psychology. Cognitive Daily looks at whether selfishness or competition is the strongest influence on behaviour. How does physical stress and illness affect mental states and psychopathology? ABC All in […]

The last of the neuromercials?

One of the most interesting things about the recent election brain scan nonsense is not that it got to the front page of The New York Times, as that’s happened several times before, but that the slap down from the scientific community has been remarkably strong and public. The media is obsessed by neuroscience but […]

Sad, mad or dangerous to diagnose?

The New York Review of Books has a wonderful article that ostensibly reviews three books about mental illness but is also a powerful summary of some of the most important criticisms of modern psychiatry. One of the key points of debate is the extent to which distressing yet common mental states such as shyness or […]

Personality to prevent teen drinking

A study that successfully used personality-tailored training to reduce teen drinking is shortly to appear in the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry. It’s interesting because it’s one of a few studies that have found that the psychology of personality is useful for solving clinical problems. Your average person on the street probably thinks that […]

It’s not denial, it’s filtered acceptance

The New York Times has a brief but interesting article on the psychology of denial, which according to the piece has got a bad rap. It’s actually a useful and necessary process in many types of relationship. Yet recent studies from fields as diverse as psychology and anthropology suggest that the ability to look the […]

BBC AIl in the Mind on Tasers, film and Anthony Clare

BBC Radio 4 has just kicked off a new series of All in the Mind with a programme on tasers and their use on people with mental illness, the psychoanalytic film festival and a tribute to the late great Irish psychiatrist Anthony Clare. Not to be confused with the Australian radio show of the same […]

Psychopharmacologist’s song

Well, it doesn’t get much stranger than this. OmniBrain has discovered an animation created by Prof Stephen Stahl, researcher and author of numerous academic papers and books on the neuroscience of psychoactive drugs, where he sings about his love of psychopharmacology. If that’s not weird enough for you, it’s to the tune of a Gilbert […]

The ethical psychiatrist

ABC Radio National’s The Philosopher’s Zone had a fascinating discussion recently on the ethics of psychiatry, tackling some of the challenges of this unique medical speciality. Perhaps the most obvious aspect of psychiatry which distinguishes it from other medical specialities is that it more commonly involves treating people against their will. The laws on involuntary […]

Cerebral blood sweets

It looks like a pipette full of cerebral blood, but actually it’s a fun and harmless candy product for children. Bless! But if you’re concerned that this might be a bit too disturbing for your sweet-toothed young ones, another product by the same company will do nothing to dispell your worries. Because they also makes […]

Reflections on the brain of an idiot

I’ve just discovered that the Journal of Anatomy and Physiology have all their past issues freely available online all the way back to 1867. I came across a curious article entitled ‘Description of the Brain of an Idiot’ in the 1871 issue and it made me think about how names for brain disorders have been […]

A pain in the neck, mind, brain and society

Technology Review has an article that looks at recent work on the neuroscience of chronic pain. While understanding the problem in terms of neurobiology is essential, understanding the psychology and social influences on pain is equally important. Chronic pain is an interesting condition because it can continue even when the original tissue damage has healed. […]

2007-11-16 Spike activity

Quick links from the past week in mind and brain news: NPR has a radio programme exploring the significance of dreams and nightmares. The first version of chocolate is discovered to be 500 years older than previously thought The Washington Post has an article on ways of optimising your brain function. An artificial speech implant […]

Does stress turn your hair grey?

Scientific American has a short article which examines whether there’s any truth to the common theory that stress makes your hair go grey. It’s turns out there’s some circumstantial evidence that stress may have an effect, but no definite causal link has been found. Apparently, the gradual loss of melanocyte stem cells, ones that are […]

Uh-oh, little girl, psychotic reaction

It’s an age old story. Boy meets girl, boys loses girl, boy suffers psychotic reaction, boy forms band to sing about his experience on live TV. I feel depressed, I feel so bad ‘Cause you’re the best girl that I ever had I can’t get your love, I can’t get a fraction Uh-oh, little girl, […]


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