Post Of The Week – Saturday 4th February 2017

1) Split Brains

This article introduces some recent research involving split brain patients which on the face of it challenges the way in which we think of these patients. Its findings suggest that their consciousness is less divided than is suggested by the research of Sperry and Gazzaniga. In the end, there may be a simple explanation for this. Nevertheless, this research is useful in showing us that research with split brain patients is still being done and still raised important questions.

2) Genetic Basis For Depression

This article reports on research in Scotland identifying a gene possibly linked to depression. What’s interesting is the method used: “Regional Heritability Mapping or RHM, which can notice small contributions from rare genetic differences that together have a significant impact”. There is also the size of sample: 20,000 volunteers from the Generation Scotland project. This shows where research in this area is going.

3) A Couple On Autism

This video shows how research from the Institute Of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience has been used by the charity Autistica as a basis for some community work from employees of Deutsche Bank. It’s an example of collaboration between the academic community, a voluntary organisation and a big company. It shows how science works now.

This article looks at how women recovering from anorexia nervosa display characteristics associated with autism in relation to food. There is evidence of brain changes in these women which are typical of women with autism but not of men. Fitting this together in order to make sense is, as the article indicates, the challenge now.


4) A Fear Of Feeling Guilty

This article explains how OCD is related to guilt sensitivity. Guilt sensitivity is a measure of how much people fear feeling guilty. The issue isn’t how much guilt you feel but how you relate to those feelings. There is correlational evidence here. Levels of guilt sensitivity are related to OCD symptoms related to compulsive checking. Because the evidence is correlati0nal, we cannot make assumptions about cause and effect. High levels of guilt sensitivity may be a consequence of OCD rather than a cause. This does however open up possibilities for therapy.


5) Synaptic Homeostasis Hypothesis

We make connections by day as we learn. We dissolve those connections as night as we sleep. This idea about why we sleep is explored in this article by Mo Costandi. The evidence is based on analysis of the brains of mice. The interesting questions come at the end. Once we can see synaptic reduction as a result of sleep, how it works and how this is connected to how we learn and remember become the interesting questions.


6) Uta Frith

Here is Uta Frith talking about autism and several other things.


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