The Human Mind
The Emperor’s New Drugs: Exploding the Antidepressant Myth by Irving Kirsch Basic Books, 226 pp., $15.99 (paper) Anatomy of an Epidemic: Magic Bullets, Psychiatric Drugs, and the Astonishing Rise of Mental Illness in America The Epidemic of Mental Illness: Why? by Marcia Angell
The brains of children from violent homes function like those of soldiers when it comes to detecting threats. Eamon McCrory at University College London used fMRI to scan the brains of 20 outwardly healthy children who had been maltreated and 23 "controls" from safe environments. During the scans, the children, aged 12 on average, viewed a mixture of sad, neutral and angry faces. When they saw angry faces, the maltreated children showed extra activity in the amygdala and the anterior insula, known to be involved in threat detection and anticipation of pain. Combat soldiers show similar heightened activity (Current Biology, DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2011.10.015). "Our belief is that these changes could reflect neural adaption," says McCrory. Abused children's brains work like soldiers' do - health - 06 December 2011
Does Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Require Trauma? STRESS is an inevitable part of our life. Yet whether our daily hassles include the incessant gripes of a nasty boss or another hectoring letter from the Internal Revenue Service, we usually find some way of contending with them. In rare instances, though, terrifying events can overwhelm our coping capacities, leaving us psychologically paralyzed. In such cases, we may be at risk for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). PTSD is an anxiety disorder marked by flashbacks, nightmares and other symptoms that impair everyday functioning.
A certain genetic signature gives some people the ability to form stronger memories. But that edge also has a dark side: increased risk of post-traumatic stress disorder. Although the genetic effect is small, the results help scientists better understand the link between especially powerful memories and sensitivity to past trauma. Scientists led by neuroscientist Dominique de Quervain of the University of Basel in Switzerland looked at how genetic differences related to a memory task. A population of 723 healthy young Swiss adults viewed 72 photographs. After a 10-minute wait, the volunteers were asked to remember as many images as possible. Gene Study Links Stronger Memories, PTSD
Among the bloodletting boxes, ether inhalers, kangaroo-tendon sutures and other artifacts stored at the Indiana Medical History Museum in Indianapolis are hundreds of scuffed-up canning jars full of dingy yellow liquid and chunks of human brains. Until the late 1960s the museum was the pathology department of the Central Indiana Hospital for the Insane. The bits of brain in the jars were collected during patient autopsies performed between 1896 and 1938. Most of the jars sat on a shelf until the summer of 2010, when Indiana University School of Medicine pathologist George Sandusky began popping off the lids. Frustrated by a dearth of postmortem brain donations from people with mental illness, Sandusky—who is on the board of directors at the museum—seized the chance to search this neglected collection for genes that contribute to mental disorders. Sandusky is not alone. Shelf-Preservation: Researchers Tap Century-Old Brain Tissue for Clues to Mental Illness
THIS PAST JUNE renowned clinical psychologist Marsha M. Linehan of the University of Washington made a striking admission. Known for her pioneering work on borderline personality disorder (BPD), a severe and intractable psychiatric condition, 68-year-old Linehan announced that as an adolescent, she had been hospitalized for BPD. Suicidal and self-destructive, the teenage Linehan had slashed her limbs repeatedly with knives and other sharp objects and banged her head violently against the hospital walls. Diagnosis of Borderline Personality Disorder is Often Flawed
Very Good Description of Schizophrenia stock photos images
A new finding in brain science reveals that the voices in a schizophrenia patient's head can drown out voices in the real world — and provides hope that people with the disorder can learn to ignore hallucinatory talk. The new research pulls together two threads in earlier schizophrenia studies. Many scientists have noticed that when patients hallucinate voices, neurons in brain regions associated with processing sounds spontaneously fire despite there being no sound waves to trigger this activity. Study: Schizophrenia's Hallucinated Voices Drown Out Real Ones | Mental Illness, Mental Disorders & Mental Health | Delusions & Hallucinations
TWIN studies have shown that people with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder have changes in gene activity caused by their environment. The finding provides the strongest evidence yet that such gene changes might cause the conditions. Jonathan Mill at the Institute of Psychiatry, King's College London, and colleagues scanned the genome of 22 pairs of identical twins - chosen because one twin in each pair was diagnosed with schizophrenia or bipolar disorder. As expected, the twins had identical DNA. However, they showed significant differences in chemical "epigenetic" markings - changes that do not alter the sequence of DNA but leave chemical marks on genes that dictate how active they are. These changes were on genes that have been linked with bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. Epigenetic clue to schizophrenia and bipolar disorder - health - 30 September 2011
Schizophrenia’s Core Genetic Features Proposed Schizophrenia’s elusive genetic roots may finally be within grasp. A new, wide-ranging effort has uncovered a set of DNA signatures that are shared by people with the disease consistently enough that the set can be used to reliably predict whether someone has the disease. If replicated, the results may point out ways to diagnose schizophrenia and suggest new targets for treatment. By analyzing a battery of 542 genetic variants, researchers could predict who had schizophrenia in a group of European Americans and African Americans.
Schizophrenia could be a profound form of jetlag in which the brain's central clock runs out of kilter with peripheral clocks around the rest of the body. People with the illness often complain of sleeping difficulties, and last month a study of 20 people with schizophrenia confirmed that sleep disruption is common and not down to their medication or lifestyle (British Journal of Psychiatry), DOI: 10.1192/bjp.bp.111.096321). Now we may be closer to understanding why: a genetic mutation that triggers schizophrenia-like symptoms in mice also appears to disrupt their circadian rhythm or body clock. Russell Foster at the University of Oxford and his colleagues had been puzzling over the link between sleep disturbances and mental illness. So they investigated circadian patterns in mice with a defect in the SNAP25 gene, often used as an animal model to study the illness. Disrupted body clock may prime you for schizophrenia - health - 19 January 2012
Epigenetics Offers New Clues to Mental Illness Matt is a history teacher. his twin brother, greg, is a drug addict. (Their names have been changed to protect their anonymity.) Growing up in the Boston area, both boys did well in high school: they were strong students in the classroom and decent athletes on the field, and they got along with their peers. Like many young people, the brothers snuck the occasional beer or cigarette and experimented with marijuana.
Treating schizophrenia: Game on Michael Merzenich has courted controversy with his brain-training software. Now he is trying to get it approved by the Food and Drug Administration. The intersection of Mission and Sixth streets in San Francisco's South of Market neighbourhood is considered one of the most crime-riddled in the city. Liquor shops, adult bookshops and single-resident-occupancy hotels inhabit most of the buildings. Homeless people sit on the pavements or shuffle by, many of them showing symptoms of mental illness or drug abuse.
How Violent Sex Helped Ease My PTSD - Media It was my research editor who told me it was completely nuts to willingly get fucked at gunpoint. That's what she called me when I told her the story. We were drunk and in a karaoke bar, so at the time I came up with only a wounded face and a whiny, "I'm not completely nuuuuts!" Upon further consideration, a more explanative response probably would have been something like: Well. You had to be there.
For centuries people have pondered the meaning of dreams. Early civilizations thought of dreams as a medium between our earthly world and that of the gods. In fact, the Greeks and Romans were convinced that dreams had certain prophetic powers. While there has always been a great interest in the interpretation of human dreams, it wasn’t until the end of the nineteenth century that Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung put forth some of the most widely-known modern theories of dreaming. The Science Behind Dreaming
Sleeplessness Agitates The Brain
Study: Nicotine Is Good for You
Been There, Done That—or Did I?: Déjà Vu Found to Originate in Similar Scenes Déjà vu—that uncanny feeling of having experienced a situation before—has eluded explanation for centuries. Now the first study to use virtual reality to model the phenomenon in the laboratory is helping demystify the spooky illusion, revealing that the layout of a scene can trigger it. Previous studies of déjà vu suggested the bizarre feeling most commonly concerns places. As such, cognitive psychologist Anne Cleary at Colorado State University in Fort Collins and her colleagues wanted to see if spaces modeled in virtual reality could experimentally replicate the striking experience. The scientists had college students wear head-mounted video displays that immersed them in a 3-D virtual-reality depiction of a village of structures they called "Deja ville," which Cleary devised.
Brain Injury Rate 7 Times Greater among U.S. Prisoners
Jolt To Brain Aids Language Recovery
9-Year-Old Boy's Shrinking Brain Disorder Baffles Doctors
Explosions cause brain damage through head movement - health - 16 May 2012
Self-Worth Shattering: A Single Bomb Blast Can Saddle Soldiers with Debilitating Brain Trauma
Cracks in the Plaques: Mysteries of Alzheimer's Slowly Yielding to New Research
Cancer Drug May Have Alzheimer's Benefits
Alzheimer's Disease Advance
Protein Tweak May Trigger Alzheimer’s
An Alzheimer’s Gene - One Family’s Saga
Like A Prion, Alzheimer's Protein Seeds Itself In The Brain
The Upside of Dyslexia
Is Pornography Driving Men Crazy? - Naomi Wolf - Project Syndicate
Cocaine Habit Ages Brain Prematurely
Elliot Krane: The mystery of chronic pain
The Brain: A Tiny Key to a Terrible Lock | Mind & Brain
Quantum dots control brain cells for the first time - health - 14 February 2012
Going Under: What we don’t know about anesthetics – Boing Boing
ADHD: Backlash to the Backlash | Guest Blog
In Blur of A.D.H.D., Sleep Troubles May Be a Culprit
Not-So-Quick Fix: ADHD Behavioral Therapy May Be More Effective Than Drugs in Long Run
Listening to Xanax
Why Migraines Strike
Extreme Eaters Show Abnormal Brain Activity
Erasing Painful Memories: Drug and Behavioral Therapies Will Help Us Forget Toxic Thoughts
Gene Hunt Is On for Mental Disabilities in Children