2010-07-02 Spike activity

Quick links from the past week in mind and brain news:

NPR have just completed a three part series on violence, psychopaths and the brain.

Bring back the fat cats? Hunger increases financial risk-taking according to a new study covered by the BPS Research Digest.

Time has an in-depth article that covers cocaine’s growth as a middle class drug and its link to the global drug trade. [From 1981! Missed that. Thanks commentors!]

If you’re not familiar with The Beautiful Brain, you’re missing a fantastic and diverse neuroscience site that covers the intersection between art and science.

The New York Times just completed a five-part series on anosognosia and insight that works well as individual scenes but doesn’t really hang together. Worth a read for the individual snapshots though.

Did you know that awesome PSYOPS website PsyWar is now on Twitter as @psywarorg?

The Atlantic argues that we should be giving scientists performance-enhancing drugs. Although, I think actually inventing some might be a good first step. Antireductionazole – stops inappropriate reductionism – fast!

An innovative study that used a tongue stimulator to look at how blind people deal with spatial navigation is covered by Neurophilosophy.

BBC News on how the UK government covered-up an assessment of drugs policy so it couldn’t be be used by critics. Because you can’t be trusted with drugs or information. You know what you’re like.

The tragic story of how a new form of synthetic smack ended up paralysing drug users and helping us understand Parkinson’s disease is covered on Speakeasy Science.

RadioLab has just put another awesome episode online about mistakes which starts with a jaw-dropping piece about Harvard interrogation experiments in the 1960s.

A neat analysis of research trends shows the declining influence of psychoanalysis and Freud over at Neuroskeptic.

The US legal system looks set for a major overhaul regarding eye-witness testimony, according to coverage from the excellent In the News. By the way, the blog’s author is now on Twitter as @kfranklinphd with more great forensic psychology news.

Frontal Cortex has an excellent piece on how the effort of controlling Tourette’s syndrome tics can lead to improved cognitive ability in some areas.

Supporting equal rights for women doesn’t necessarily translate into equal rights for women, according to a new global survey covered by The New York Times.

Harvard Magazine has a piece on research finding that thinking or either good or evil deeds increases physical endurance.

There’s some insightful coverage of the ‘parasite infection levels linked to national IQ’ story over at Not Exactly Rocket Science.

Motherboard.TV has an amazing half hour documentary on smuggling submarines built by Colombian narcotraffickers and you can watch the whole thing online.

There’s a good review of the new book ‘The Madness within Us: Schizophrenia as a Neuronal Process’ over at Somatosphere.

The latest Nature Neuroscience Neuropod podcast has just appeared online and you can grab it from their homepage or as a direct mp3 download.

Scientific American covers the <a href="Amygdaloids
http://www.scientificamerican.com/blog/post.cfm?id=rockin-scientists-nyu-brain-researc-2010-06-28″>latest releases from neuroscientist Joseph LeDoux’s rock n’ roll outfit ‘The Amygdaloids’.

Not sure about the portrayal of marriage counselling but We’re Only Human covers some fascinating research about what hopefulness and the course of a successful marriage.

The Washington Post reports on a global survey which finds that money buys happiness. Suck it up hippies.

After 75 years, we don‚Äôt know how Alcoholics Anonymous works, according to Wired. Nonsense. It’s works by a ‘higher power’. It says in the book.

New Scientist discusses why why men are attracted to women with small feet. Feet?

A computer program has deciphered a dead language that mystified linguists and io9 has the story.

The Economist covers the recent study finding wearing fake goods makes people less honest.

Yet another study finds no link between the XMRV and chronic fatigue syndrome, plus bonus academic murkiness to enliven the story over at Nature News.

Dr Petra asks ‘What do we want from sex and relationships education?’

Classical music alters the heart rate of people in a persistent vegetative state in a similar way to healthy people, according to a new study covered by New Scientist.

The New York Times reports on a how a preliminary hypothesis about multiple sclerosis has prompted calls from surgery and even someone offering to carry out the procedure.

There’s an interview with primatologist Frans de Waal about empathy and social interaction over at American Scientist.

The Washington Post reports on how the US Military’s PSYOPS is awash with soft money that gets spent on contractors.

There’s a review of Paul Bloom’s new book ‘How Pleasure Works’ over at The New York Times.

DSM5 in Distress is the blog of ex-DSM chief and DSM5 critic Allen Frances. He has an excellent post on defining mental disorder.

3 Comments

  1. Jordan
    Posted July 3, 2010 at 7:49 am | Permalink

    You might want to make a note of the fact that the article on cocaine was written in 1981.

  2. Maia Szalavitz
    Posted July 3, 2010 at 5:45 pm | Permalink

    Yeah, what amazes me is that with drug stories, unfortunately, many of them are completely timeless, recycling the same old myths.
    This one is interesting because it is very much of its time in terms of how it does not consider cocaine truly addictive. That’s because back then, physical dependence (AKA puking and shaking when you try to kick) was seen as essential to addiction and that doesn’t happen with cocaine.
    The crack epidemic (which this article predates) conclusively refuted that idea. Unfortunately, different generations and countries have to re-learn drug lessons to their cost: because we insist on having one demon drug at a time, the others are suddenly “not as bad as ____” until they’re not again. The UK seems to have recently developed an infatuation with cocaine that replayed the American 80’s crush to some extent, which is perhaps why two UK-based groups made the same mistake about this article, thinking it was new.

  3. Posted July 6, 2010 at 11:59 pm | Permalink

    Just a note to say that the SciAm Amygdaloids link is borked. I think a tag might be missing somewhere.


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