Post Of The Week – Saturday 10th October 2015

1) Cracking The Skull Open

This article concerns the relationship between psychiatry and neuroscience.

http://aeon.co/magazine/psychology/why-cant-we-unite-neuroscience-and-psychiatry/

It looks at how progress has been made with our understanding of other aspects of human physiology, for example the heart and cancer, contrasting progress there with ignorance in relation to how the brain works. Along the way, it demolishes the idea that low levels of serotonin cause depression. Plasters can be used to treat cuts to the skin but cuts to the skin are not caused by the absence of sticking plaster. The article ends by suggesting what progress might look like. It uses the example of Alzheimer’s Disease, once thought of as a psychiatric condition but now thought of as neurological, as an example of how the landscape can change.

2) Reversing Type 2 Diabetes

We are just finishing up the A2 Eating Behaviour topic and are now well used to the argument about types of food versus “a calorie is a calorie”.

This YouTube video is about one approach to Type 2 diabetes. It is hard for someone like me who is not a specialist to understand to what extent this approach diverges from the mainstream. This seems to be the work of legitimate science using evidence to make sense of a complex problem.

3) Siblings Of People With Autism

In the Addictive Behaviour A2 topic, we look at Karen Ersche’s research which compares addicted participants with their non-addicted siblings. This research does something similar with autism.

http://www.psychiatry.cam.ac.uk/blog/2015/10/02/autistic-traits-in-unaffected-siblings/

The findings here are surprising. The siblings fall into two groups. Some display a similar level of traits to their diagnosed siblings but others show a level of traits similar to that of the general population. Autism, it turns out, is a complex phenomenon.

4) Drugs And Talk Therapy Affect The Brain In Different Ways

We know that drug and talking therapies for depression work well together. This article explores why.

http://nymag.com/scienceofus/2015/09/drugs-talk-therapy-affect-the-brain-differently.html?mid=twitter-share-scienceofus

Rather than doubling up on the same areas of the brain, these therapies complement each other by acting on different brain areas. That is the conclusion of a large scale meta-analysis. What’s interesting is that this does not apply to all conditions.  In the case of OCD, drug and talk therapies seem to work on the same areas of the brain.

5) SSRIs And Violent Crime

In the A2 Depression topic, we look at claims that SSRI use is associated with suicide.

http://www.nationalelfservice.net/treatment/antidepressants/no-link-between-ssri-use-and-violent-crime-in-over-25s/

This Mental Elf article looks at research into the relationship between violent crime and SSRI use in Sweden. The article explains why it is necessary to be skeptical about claims that appeared in some of the news media about this research.

6) Revisiting RCTs

http://mcpin.org/wp-content/uploads/talking-point-paper-1.pdf

This comes from a charity promoting different perspectives on mental health. This paper comes from someone who has both studied and used mental health services. It offers a string critique of RCTs and suggests that the best way to understand the effectiveness of biological and psychological therapies might be to ask the people who have used them.

7) Why We Forget

In AS at the moment, we are thinking about forgetting, carrying out a study and doing some mastery learning. This article fits in with that mastery learning, explaining a bit more about why we forget.

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/q-a-why-we-need-to-forget/

8) No, Scientists Have Not Found The ‘Gay Gene’

Sometimes, arguments about statistical significance and research methods can seem dry and irrelevant. However, in Psychology, what we know depends on how we know.

http://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2015/10/no-scientists-have-not-found-the-gay-gene/410059/

This article explains some fundamental flaws in the methods used to identify genes associated with homosexuality.

9) Small Things Make A Big Difference

Here’s the latest from Time To Change.

Here’s the campaign page.

http://www.time-to-change.org.uk/talking-about-mental-health

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