Author Archives: vaughanbell

Spike activity 22-01-2016

Quick links from the past week in mind and brain news: The New Yorker covers the shifting sands of autism in light of recent books that have rethought the history of the condition. Brian Resnick at Vox asked twenty psych researchers: What do you hate about science journalism? Lots of good stuff. Science reports big […]

World’s stupidest drugs laws enacted by Britain

Yesterday, the UK Parliament approved the Psychoactive Drugs Bill which will become law in April. New Scientist pulls no punches in an uncharacteristically direct article and tells it like it is: It’s official – the UK ban on legal highs that will begin in April is going to be one of the stupidest, most dangerous […]

Spike activity 15-01-2016

Quick links from the past week in mind and brain news: The New York Times has a brilliant piece on the non-scandal around sociologist Alice Goffman that’s also a reflection on sociology itself. There’s a fascinating piece on ‘super forecasters‘ – people who seem to have an exceptional ability to judge the outcome of future […]

Where Are We Now? – David Bowie and Psychosis

The mercurial David Bowie has left the capsule and the world is a poorer place. His circuit is dead, and there definitely is something wrong, at least for those of us still on Planet Earth. There have been many tributes, noting Bowie’s impact on music, art and cinema, and the extent of his eclectic tastes. […]

Spike activity 08-01-2016

Quick links from the past week in mind and brain news: The State of Texas now allows guns in state-run psychiatric hospitals, according to the Statesman. I am genuinely lost for words. Sifting the Evidence has an excellent piece on the science behind the UK’s new lowered alcohol intake recommendations. Scale Invariance: A Cautionary Tale […]

Psychotherapies and the space between us

There’s an in-depth article at The Guardian revisiting an old debate about cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) versus psychoanalysis that falls into the trap of asking some rather clichéd questions. For those not familiar with the world of psychotherapy, CBT is a time-limited treatment based on understanding how interpretations, behaviour and emotions become unhelpfully connected to […]

An inner beauty of neurosurgery

The New York Times has an excellent profile of British neurosurgeon Henry Marsh that manages to be an indiscreet but humane look at the medic now famous for his autobiography Do No Harm It follows Marsh as he operates with colleagues in Albania and recounts both his work and personal style. It is written by […]

The underground smart drug amendment

Last week, some amendments were quietly slipped into the disastrous Psychoactive Substances Bill that’s currently going through parliament. Surprisingly, a new list of permitted substances has been added. Almost all are poorly evidenced substances used informally as ‘smart drugs’. The bill is an embarrassingly bad piece of legislation that aims to ban all psychoactive substances […]

Spike activity 18-12-2015

Quick links from the past week in mind and brain news: 12% of women have eyes with four colour-detecting cone cells instead of three. Why don’t they all have superhuman colour vision? Fascinating piece from great new blog Neurosphere. The BMJ has a genuine but wonderfully sarcastic fMRI study on a Christmas spirit network in […]

Alzheimer’s from the inside

There’s an excellent short-film, featuring journalist Greg O’Brien, who describes the experience of Alzheimer’s disease as it affects him. It’s both moving and brilliantly made, skilfully combining the neuroscience of Alzheimer’s with the raw experience of experiencing dementia. I found it in this Nautilus article, also by O’Brien, who has taken the rare step of […]

Drug control through fantasy neuroscience

I’ve got an article in today’s Observer about the disastrous Psychoactive Substances Bill, a proposed law designed to outlaw all psychoactive substances based on a fantasy land version of neuroscience. “The bottom line is, the only way of knowing whether a mystery substance alters the mind is to take it. You simply can’t tell by […]

A temporary blindness during a wrongful conviction

I’m just reading Clinical Psychology in Britain: Historical Perspectives which is a wonderful book if you are a clinical psychologist but probably about as exciting to non-clinical psychologists as you might expect. However, it does contain a few gems of wider interest. This is a remarkable story from the chapter on the history of forensic […]

Spike activity 04-12-2015

Quick links from the past week in mind and brain news: Sleep Paralysis’ Demons: Influenced by Culture and Fed by Our Fears. Interesting piece at Brain Decoder. The Telegraph has an excellent piece on artist Alice Evans, her work and her experience of schizophrenia. What we can learn about the latest epidemic of opioid drug […]

Neuroimaging in 20 minutes

Neuroscientist Matt Wall did a fascinating talk on all things neuroimaging at a recent TEDx Vienna event. It’s a gently funny, engrossing talk that both introduces brain imaging and discuss some of the cutting-edge developments. He particularly talks about some of the recent fMRI ‘mind reading’ studies – which are more complex, limited, and interesting […]

Spike activity 20-11-2015

Quick links from the past week in mind and brain news: Wired has a good brief piece on the history of biodigital brain implants. Why are conspiracy theories so attractive? Good discussion on the Science Weekly podcast. The Wilson Quarterly has a piece on the mystery behind Japan’s high child suicide rate. The Dream Life […]

Spike activity 13-11-2015

Quick links from the past week in mind and brain news: The Weak Science Behind the Wrongly Named Moral Molecule. The Atlantic has some home truths about oxytocin. Neurophilosophy reports on some half a billion year old brains found preserved in fool’s gold. An Illuminated, 5,000-Pound Neuron Sculpture Is Coming to Boston. Boston magazine has […]


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