Monthly Archives: June 2011

Brain’s hot mess centre discovered

Wake up in the morning feeling like R-Sperry…   Link to (original?) image on Beats not Bombs tumblr (via @pepperbee)

Traumatic brain injuries in the Asterix comics

A team of neurosurgeons has completed an exhaustive study of the causes of traumatic brain injury in the Asterix comics. Needless to say, it is a work of pure genius. And if the conclusions at the end of the summary don’t make you beam with delight, you are dead inside.   Traumatic brain injuries in […]

But what does it teach you?

The New Yorker has a fantastic article on theories of education and how the reasons for why people go to college have changed over the years. The description sounds a bit dull but the article is really very good. It tracks how the perception of what a college education should do, at least in the […]

Psychometric schooling snark

A sarcastic comment on the horrors of school, unexpectedly hidden away in the 1986 book A handbook of test construction: introduction to psychometric design by Paul Kline. A test is said to be face valid if it appears to measure what it purports to measure, especially to subjects. Face validity bears no relation to true […]

The psychiatrist delusion

My attention was caught by a recently published case study in which a patient with psychosis had the delusion that he was a psychiatrist: “This 44-year-old single man was first admitted at the age of 27, with a two-week history of hyperactivity and decreased need for sleep. He described a feeling of well-being and believed […]

Biblioamnesia and the gentle fading of books

The Washington Post has a curious short article on what the author light-heartedly refers to as ‘biblio-amnesia’ where once-read books slowly fade from memory. After I posted the story on internet service The Twitter, user @bfwriter pointed me toward a fantastic piece by poet Billy Collins, on exactly this experience.   Forgetfulness by Billy Collins […]

Searching for the Alzheimer’s key

BBC Radio 4’s Crossing Continents has an excellent programme on how an extended family in Colombia with an inherited form of dementia are providing clues that may help us understand Alzheimer’s disease. The research is being led by a group from the University of Antioquia in Colombia’s second city, Medellín, and has caused waves of […]

Where next for chronic fatigue after XMRV a bust

Nature News has an excellent piece reviewing the state of play after the first reports of the XMRV virus in people with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) have been put in doubt both by a string of failed replications and evidence of contamination in the original research samples. Chronic fatigue syndrome or CFS is associated with […]

Carl Jung: a character of complexes

Carl Jung, the brilliant kaleidoscopic mind of psychoanalysis, died 50 years ago next week and The Guardian have the first part of a new series exploring his life and work. In the history of psychology, Jung lives as a intense sunburst of experiences and ideas. Sometimes the rays are so bright it’s hard to distinguish […]

Alice through the crooked glass

Not Exactly Rocket Science covers a fascinating study where participants felt they were the size of a doll or had expanded to giant proportions simply by using a headset, a camera and a bit of foot stroking. In a typical experiment, a volunteer is being stroked while wearing a virtual reality headset. She’s lyng down […]

From the bottom of my hard disk

The latest edition of RadioLab is a wonderful exploration of how we interact with machines and whether it is possible to simulate the humanity at the core of who we are. While most discussions on this topic tend to focus on theoretical artificial intelligence of the future, the programme instead looks at technologies that attempt […]

Animated psychiatry

Beards and Bowties is a wonderful animated short film about the outdated stereotypes of psychiatrists that still persist. It’s been created by psychiatrist Kamran Ahmed and is a light-hearted exploration of how psychiatry is perceived by people he meets and others in the medical profession. The film notes that the important speciality is stigmatised, not […]


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