308 posts · 227,876 views
Comments on neurobiology, neuroimaging, and psychiatry from a skeptical neuroscientist.
Modern life is toxic. …allegedly. It’s not. But a lot of people think so. Driven by media and online coverage of the idea, many believe that things like wifi and cell-phone signals are making them ill. There’s no good evidence that such ‘electrosmog‘ causes health problems. From what we know of physics, it’s most unlikely [...]... Read more »
Witthöft M, & Rubin GJ. (2013) Are media warnings about the adverse health effects of modern life self-fulfilling? An experimental study on idiopathic environmental intolerance attributed to electromagnetic fields (IEI-EMF). Journal of psychosomatic research, 74(3), 206-12. PMID: 23438710
There’s been a lot of discussion lately about Einstein’s brain. Less well-known, but equally fascinating, is the case of Lenin‘s cerebrum – for just like Albert, the founder of the Soviet Union was fated to end up as a series of preserved slices. Lenin died of a series of strokes at the young age of [...]... Read more »
Vinters, H., Lurie, L., & Mackowiak, P. (2013) Vessels of Stone: Lenin's "Circulatory Disturbance of the Brain". Human Pathology. DOI: 10.1016/j.humpath.2012.11.017
I’ve written before about the limitations of self-report measures in psychiatry. It’s an issue that’s been recognized for decades but, unfortunately, self-report seems to be more popular than ever. I suspect that this is because it’s far and away the easiest and cheapest way of getting data, and hence publications, in a great many fields [...]... Read more »
Miller RM, Haws NA, Murphy-Tafiti JL, Hubner CD, Curtis TD, Rupp ZW, Smart TA, & Thompson LM. (2013) Are Self-Ratings of Functional Difficulties Objective or Subjective?. Applied neuropsychology. Adult. PMID: 23383984
Is ‘video game addiction’ a useful concept? Some people certainly play an awful lot of games, and therefore have little of a life outside of them; but that doesn’t in itself mean that games are harming them. Maybe that’s just how they prefer to live. Maybe games are just filling a void that would otherwise [...]... Read more »
Elliott L, Ream G, McGinsky E, & Dunlap E. (2012) The Contribution of Game Genre and other Use Patterns to Problem Video Game Play among Adult Video Gamers. International journal of mental health and addiction, 10(6), 948-969. PMID: 23284310
Some of the world’s leading scientific journals are worryingly lax in ensuring that their papers contain adequate statistical details. So say Italian researchers Tressoldi and colleagues in a provocative paper just out: High Impact = High Statistical Standards? Not Necessarily So They considered all articles published in 2011, that concerned any kind of psychological or [...]... Read more »
Late last year, the excellent Neurobonkers blog covered a case of ‘Profiteering from anxiety’. It seems one Nader Amir has applied for a patent on the psychological technique of ‘Attentional Retraining’, a method designed to treat anxiety and other emotional problems by conditioning the mind to unconsciously pay more attention to positive things and ignore [...]... Read more »
It’s not been a good few weeks for Adrian Owen and his team of Canadian neurologists. Over the past few years, Owen’s made numerous waves, thanks to his claim that some patients thought to be in a vegetative state may, in fact, be at least somewhat conscious, and able to respond to commands. Remarkable if [...]... Read more »
Goldfine, A., Bardin, J., Noirhomme, Q., Fins, J., Schiff, N., & Victor, J. (2013) Reanalysis of "Bedside detection of awareness in the vegetative state: a cohort study". The Lancet, 381(9863), 289-291. DOI: 10.1016/S0140-6736(13)60125-7
We know quite a bit about how long-term memory is formed in the brain – it’s all about strengthening of synaptic connections between neurons. But what about remembering something over the course of just a few seconds? Like how you (hopefully) still recall what that last sentence as about? Short-term memory is formed and lost [...]... Read more »
Johnson S, Marro J, & Torres JJ. (2013) Robust Short-Term Memory without Synaptic Learning. PloS one, 8(1). PMID: 23349664
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