Post Of The Week – Saturday 26th September, 2015

1) Keeping A Spotless Mind

We’ve been getting interested in cognitive neuroscience in AS this week. We’ve been looking at the idea of looking inside the brain if we want to understand what actually happens when we remember something. We have also been thinking about how insights from neuroscience move us away from the mechanistic idea of memory as a system to understanding memory as part of a broader picture about how the brain works. This lecture offers some insights into this and a whole lot more. It starts with what we know about what motivates us to forget and looks at what neuroscience has found about what happens in the brain. Along the way, Michael Anderson refers to HM and a chilling example of motivated memory loss and explains the insights this research offers into PTSD.

http://www.memorycontrol.net/index.html

Here is a link to Michael Anderson’s lab at Cambridge.

2) Alcoholism And Depression

When we study Depression in A2, we look at a case of someone with both depression and addiction to depression in order to understand the problem of diagnosing and then treating people with depression. This article sums up the issue succinctly.

http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2015/09/25/ask-well-alcoholism-and-depression/?smid=tw-nytimes&smtyp=cur&_r=0

3) Ketamine Meta-Analysis

There continues to be interest in the use of ketamine as an anti-depressant. It is attractive because it works on the glutamate system rather than the serotonin system.

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/14651858.CD011612.pub2/abstract

This review from the Cochrane Review Group suggests that it is worth doing more research into ketamine as an antidepressant. However, evidence about effectiveness is limited and there remain doubts about appropriateness.

4) What Happens When You Make A Memory

This is intended for students across a range of subjects but serves us as Psychology people well.

http://www.theguardian.com/education/2015/sep/16/what-happens-in-your-brain-when-you-make-a-memory?CMP=share_btn_tw

5) BAP Guidance For Treatment For Depression

The BAP is the British Association For Psychopharmacology. This is their updated guidance for the treatment of depression.

http://www.nationalelfservice.net/treatment/antidepressants/antidepressants-for-depression-new-bap-guidance/sthash.kWBOhxew.uxfs

It contains some familiar points. Doctors should expect to wait two to four weeks after prescription before reviewing effectiveness. IPT and CBT are seen as equally effective. Antidepressant choice depends on expected side effects. This will be worth a look when we get on to the topic.

6) The Brain As A Quantum Field

I was interested a few weeks ago in Jim Al-Khalili’s work on quantum biology and started dimly to understand what quantum mechanics was about.

http://bigthink.com/ideafeed/does-the-mind-play-dice-with-reason

This article develops the idea of quantum theory in Psychology a bit further. I like it because it encapsulates some of the things we have been noticing in the memory topic (see above). Cognitive Psychology has claimed to be able to describe the brain in terms of clearly defined systems. The reality is much less tidy.

http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20141216-can-you-live-with-half-a-brain?ocid=twfut

In similar vein, this article explains why the mechanistic view we have of the brain is largely out of date.

7) Five Principles Of A Happy Marriage

The insights of older people into the maintenance of relationships.

http://www.spring.org.uk/2015/09/the-five-principles-of-a-happy-marriage.php

8) Thomas Insel And Google

Here is Thomas Insel explaining why he has gone to work for Alphabet, the parent company of Google.

http://www.technologyreview.com/news/541446/why-americas-top-mental-health-researcher-joined-alphabet/

Since I visited an A Level PE lesson last summer to see some biofeedback in action, I have been interested in the big data approach to managing health and well-being. That’s clearly a theme here.

9) The Reproducibility Project

I have blogged about this project a few times recently. Here is a fair and balanced discussion from BBC Radio 4’s More Or Less programme. You need to start listening at about 8 minutes in.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b06c4k46

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