Post Of The Week – Sunday December 11th 2016

1) Epigenetics And Addiction

Some research from King’s College, London and from Bristol was reported in two places this week, here and here. Changes in the expression of genes have been found amongst participants whose parents smoke. These participants go on to be at greater risk of developing addiction. The challenge now for researchers is to understand why the mutations identified, most notably in a gene which affects how neurons branch and communicate, should be connected with addiction.


2) Living With Autism – Disney Films

We’ll be looking at autism soon. It is sometimes a distressing story. This is therefore a welcome antidote. It features Owen Suskind, who experienced regressive autism as a toddler and who learnt to communicate with reference to Disney movies. This is more than a feelgood story about triumph over adversity. Owen’s father Ron has some powerful things to say about how we accept difference.


3) Psychosis And The Immune System

This news story relates to a documentary, The Inflamed Mind, broadcast last summer. It suggests that some cases of psychosis can be explained by disruption to brain functioning caused by the immune system. That sounds plausible: the issue is how many people there might be to whom this applies.


4) Genetic Research

We’ve been thinking about biological explanations of anorexia and obesity in the Year 2 course. I’ve found myself trying to come to an overview of how much the science tells us about how and why people get ill and where the gaps are. This article in relation schizophrenia does this rather well.


5) HM

Here’s a TED Ed talk about HM. It contains a few details that are not often recorded about HM and an explanation both of the role of the hippocampus and of the distinction between semantic and procedural memory.


6) Headway

I’m grateful to Miss Machray for sending me this link. It explains how art is used for people recovering from head injury and is integrated into a wider therapy programme. It should remind us that there is a far greater sweep of therapy out there than the core therapies we cover in our course.


7) Is There A Reproducibility Crisis In Science?

Here’s a clear statement of the position from TED-Ed.


8) How Does Your Body Know What Time It Is?

Another fine video from TED-Ed.

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