Post Of The Week – Sunday August 14th 2016

1) Counting The Calories Still

It’s become common in research into dieting and obesity to suggest that a calorie is not just a calorie. In other words, the type of food we eat is as important in determining whether it will make us put on weight as how much we eat. That does not mean, however, that we should abandon thinking about how much we eat. This article looks at some of the reasons why. In particular, it looks at how portion sizes have increased and how people still believe that it doesn’t matter how much they eat as long as they burn it off.


2) Common brain signature marks autism, attention deficit

This article is interesting for a couple of reasons. Firstly, it uses diffusion tensor imaging. This is a technique based on MRI which investigates white matter in the brain: connections between cells. Like MRI, it uses complex software to produce a picture of what is happening. Secondly, it identifies common markers for autism and ADHD. This gets interesting because autism and ADHD are defined as two different things based on the way in which people behave. They may on the basis of what happens in people’s brains be one thing which is manifested in behaviour in two different ways. If they really are one thing, the same treatment might work for both.


3) What Experts Wish You Knew about False Memories

This article offers a quick run through of some important points about Memory, most of which we cover in our course in one way or another.


4) Mapping Gene Activation

One of the problems in identifying genes for mental health disorders is that people may have variants of genes which make them vulnerable but those genes may not be switched on. It becomes impossible to predict who will get ill unless you know about how and why genes are activated. This article explains a clever technique for mapping this in the brain.  It also explains how this technique might be applied.


5) Tracking time can be tricky for children with autism

This article explains some research about the problems which children with autism experience in tracking time. This connects with broader questions about memory and perception. Children with autism do not seem to use their memory of past events to judge duration of events they experience. This is part of a developing picture which moves us beyond the idea that autism is merely the absence of a theory of mind.


6) HM Again

The controversy rumbles on. Two things of note have appeared in the past few days. First, MIT have issued a statement defending the conduct of Suzanne Corkin. Luke Dittrich replies here. What’s happened to all of the data, why HM was allowed to give consent for research on himself for so long and why his eventual conservator claimed to be his closest living relative when he clearly wasn’t remain questions without clear answers.




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