1) Marcus Munafo On Mental Health Genetics
Here’s Marcus Munafo on a Mental Elf podcast.
He says many important things about what we do and don’t know about the genetics of mental health. There is much here for our work on nature and nurture. Beyond that, he has something important to say about the connection between research and clinical practice and the responsibility of scientists to promote public understanding of science.
2) Anxiety Epidemic
We are starting the AS course by thinking about the idea of an anxiety epidemic. This link leads to a piece about the differences between males and females in the experience of anxiety.
3) Sandra Aamodt On Dieting
Sandra Aamodt’s TED talk explains why diets don’t work. She has just published a book which explains this in more detail. In this extract, she explains what the role of bacteria in the gut might be in influencing body weight.
4) Karen Ersche On Habit Forming And Addiction
We use Karen Ersche’s work on the psychology of drug addiction to understand the principles of genotype and phenotype. Here, she writes about research into cocaine addiction. People addicted to cocaine are more likely to form habitual responses and less likely to break habits which lead to harm. Reward rather than punishment may therefore be the better route to treating addiction.
5) The Dawn Of Antidepressants
This article explores in some detail the history of the controversy surrounding antidepressants. It’s all here: serendipitous discovery, publication bias, problems of understanding placebo. The article makes the point that despite all of these concerns, there is consistent evidence that antidepressants do something and that something is generally beneficial.
6) Fixed Odds Betting Terminals
This news story from the BBC explains some of the concerns about fixed odds betting terminals, explaining the lengths some companies will go to in order to persuade customers to use them. One gambler writes about his experience of using them.