Monthly Archives: May 2013

2013-05-31 Spike activity

Quick links from the past week in mind and brain news: A video of a brain surgery patient playing guitar during the procedure. Theatre nurse on drums. The Guardian has an excellent piece on ‘appreciating the politics of psychiatry’. Hints of Viennese wood and iodine with a curiously bitter aftertaste. “Yesterday, I read a paper […]

Does brain stimulation make you better at maths?

The Headlines Brain stimulation promises “long-lasting” maths boost Mild electric shocks to brain may help students solve maths problems Electrical brain boost can make you better at maths What they actually did Researchers led by Roi Cohen Kadosh at the University of Oxford trained people on two kinds of maths skills, rote learning simple arithmetic […]

Photographing hallucinations

BMJ Case Reports has a paper that describes two patients with Parkinson’s disease who experienced hallucinations that transferred onto photos they took to try and prove they were real. This is ‘Patient 1’ from the case report: Patient 1 was first evaluated at age 66, having been diagnosed with PD [Parkinson’s Disease] at age 58… […]

Why you might prefer more pain

When is the best treatment for pain more pain? When you’re taking part in an experiment published by a Nobel prize winner and one of the leading lights in behavioural psychology, that is. The psychologist in question is Daniel Kahneman; the experiment described by the self-explanatory title of: When More Pain Is Preferred to Less: […]

Science behind the billion dollar brain hype

If you want to hear me talk about what the US and Europe’s billion dollar brain projects are trying to achieve, I’m on the latest BBC All in the Mind discussing the science behind the quite considerable hype. I discuss these latest brain initiatives alongside presenter Claudia Hammond and distinguished neuroscientist Donald Stein – who […]

Did the eyes really stare down bicycle crime in Newcastle?

This is the first fortnightly column I’ll be writing for The Conversation, a creative commons news and opinion website that launched today. The site has been set up by a number of UK universities and bodies such as the Wellcome Trust, Nuffield Foundation and HEFCE, following the successful model of the Australian version of the […]

A world of swearing

The Boston Globe has a short but fascinating interview on the history of swearing where author Melissa Mohr describes how the meaning of the act of swearing has changed over time. IDEAS: Are there other old curses that 21st-century people would be surprised to hear about? MOHR: Because [bad words] were mostly religious in the […]

The ‘unnamed feeling’ named ASMR

Here’s my BBC Future column from last week. It’s about the so-called Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response, which didn’t have a name until 2010 and I’d never heard of until 2012. Now, I’m finding out that it is surprisingly common. The original is here. It’s a tightening at the back of the throat, or a tingling […]

Disaster response psychology needs to change

I’ve got an article in today’s Observer about how disaster response mental health services are often based on the erroneous assumption that everyone needs ‘treatment’ and often rely on single-session counselling sessions which may do more harm than good. Unfortunately, the article has been given a rather misleading headline (‘Minds traumatised by disaster heal themselves […]

2013-05-03 Spike activity

Quick links from the past week in mind and brain news: I can’t recognise my own face! In my case, it’s because the Botox has worn off but for person described in the New Scientist article it’s because of prosopagnosia. The Guardian reports that the UK Government’s ‘Nudge Unit’ is set to become a commercial […]

Mind and brain podcast radio rush

Several new mind and brain radio series have just started in the last few weeks and all can be listened to online. The two ‘All in the Minds’ have just started a new series. BBC Radio 4’s All in the Mind has just started a new series with the first programme including end-of-the-world hopefuls and […]

National Institute of Mental Health abandoning the DSM

In a potentially seismic move, the National Institute of Mental Health – the world’s biggest mental health research funder, has announced only two weeks before the launch of the DSM-5 diagnostic manual that it will be “re-orienting its research away from DSM categories”. In the announcement, NIMH Director Thomas Insel says the DSM lacks validity […]


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