Author Archives: vaughanbell

A reality of dreams

The journal Sleep has an interesting study on how people with narcolepsy can experience sometimes striking confusions between what they’ve dreamed and what’s actually happened. Narcolepsy is a disorder of the immune system where it inappropriately attacks parts of the brain involved in sleep regulation. The result is that affected people are not able to […]

2004-02-07 Spike activity

Quick links from the past week in mind and brain news: Science News has an extended piece on progress with the still-not-entirely-clear-what’s-going-on billion dollar BRAIN initiative. There might be a little synesthesia in each of us. Nautilus looks at how our senses combine and cross. The LA Times reports that boxing and ultimate fighting promoters […]

Heroin, addiction and free will

The death of Phillip Seymour Hoffman has sparked some strong and seemingly contradictory responses. What these reactions show is that many people find it hard to think of addiction as being anything except either a choice or a loss of free will. The fact that addiction could involve an active choice to take drugs but […]

Revenge is not sweet

An interesting paper in the snappily titled International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology examines what we know about the psychology of revenge. It has a fascinating section where it discusses how often people take vengeful actions and whether they actually bring any relief. It seems that taking revenge is rare, but when it […]

2014-01-31 Spike activity

Quick links from the past week in mind and brain news: Nautilus discusses how music hijacks our perception of time. What the Dunning-Kruger effect is and isn’t. Good in-depth discussion of this often misunderstood effect from [citation needed]. The Atlantic has a fascinating piece on mental illness in Ancient Greece and Rome. Should a robot […]

There probably isn’t an app for that

A man with drug-induced psychosis attempted to swallow his smartphone and the case was reported in the medical journal Internal and Emergency Medicine. A 35 year-old man with no significant past medical history presented to the emergency department (ED) after abusing phencyclidine (PCP). Responding to command auditory hallucinations, he attempted to swallow his 4 cm […]

The cutting edge of brain science technologies

National Geographic has an excellent article that gives a tour of some of the latest technologies of neuroscience that are likely to be leading the way in understanding the brain over the next decade. You can read the full article online but you need to complete a free registration first. A typical publication ploy but, […]

The hallucinated demons of intensive care

I’ve got an article in The Observer about the psychological impact of being a patient in intensive care that can include trauma, fear and intense hallucinations. This has only been recently recognised as an issue and with mental disorders being detected in over half of post-ICU patients it has sparked a serious re-think of how […]

2014-01-17 Spike activity

Quick links from the past week in mind and brain news: Wired magazine has an excellent profile of artificial intelligence bossman Geoff Hinton. Is it time we stopped ‘sectioning‘ people? Thought-provoking piece on the excellent Psychiatry SHO blog. The New York Times has an insightful piece on what the ‘marshmallow study’ really tells us about […]

Parental advisory: teenage kicks in progress

New York Magazine has an excellent piece on whether adolescence is really a time of turmoil for young people or whether it is actually the parents that find their kids’ teenage years the most challenging. The article is a brilliant alternative take on adolescence and looks into a range of studies on how teens develop […]

Ghost psychiatry

The Australian Journal of Parapsychology has an article about post-traumatic stress disorder in people who have been murdered. I suspect diagnosing mental disorder in those who have passed onto another plane of existence isn’t the easiest form of mental health assessment but it seems this gentleman is determined to give it a go. Psychological phenomena […]

Put your hands up and move away from the therapy

An editorial in Molecular Psychiatry has been titled “Launching the War on Mental Illness” – which, considering the effects of war on mental health, must surely win a prize for the most inappropriate metaphor in psychiatry. But it also contains a curious Freudian slip. Five times in the article, the project is described as the […]

2014-01-10 Spike activity

Quick links from the past week in mind and brain news: Not-So-Sweet Home: The Persistence of Domestic Violence. Important piece from Nautilus. The Lancet discusses whether, once again, psychiatry is being used for political repression in Russia. Are we too keen to turn crime into a mental health issues? asks Spiked Online. Nature has an […]

The pull for lobotomy

The Psychologist has a fascinating article by historian Mical Raz on what patients and families thought about the effects of lobotomy. Raz looks at the letters sent between arch-lobotomist Walter Freeman and the many families he affected through his use of the procedure. Contrary to the image of the ‘evil surgeon who didn’t care about […]

2014-01-04 Spike activity

Quick links from the past week in mind and brain news: So Happy 2014 and all that. Let’s get on with it. Brain Watch has an excellent piece on 10 Surprising Links Between Hollywood and Neuroscience. Talking of Hollywood, The Brain That Wouldn’t Die, inspiration for one of the great pulp movie posters of all […]

A multitude of phantoms

A fascinating paper in the neuroscience journal Brain looks at artistic depictions of phantom limbs – the feeling of the physical presence of a limb after it has been damaged or removed – and gives a wonderful insight how the brain perceives non-functioning or non-existent body parts. In fact, most people who have a limb […]

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