1) Why We Need A Biological Explanation For Depression
We’ve been thinking about this in the last week in Year 1 in the context of understanding the psychological approach to explaining and treating depression. Some answers emerge from items which have appeared this week. This article explains how progress has been made both in identifying bio-markers which could be used for diagnosing depression and in working out who would benefit from particular treatments. This article explains something similar from a study in the US. This article describes a study which looks at changing the diets of people with depression. Regardless of any further psychological interventions, just getting people to eat better has a significant, positive impact on their health. This radio report explains recent progress in the use of ketamine as an antidepressant and what research is being done at the moment.
2) Largest Mental Health Lesson
A couple of years ago, as part of the research project at the end of AS, a group of Year 12 students tried to find out what their peers had learnt about mental health in PSHE lessons in the secondary schools in which they had done their GCSEs. Not much, was the answer, because there had not been many. This video from an event in London therefore represents a welcome step forward.
This video has just won a prize at the British Science Festival. Some Biopsychology beautifully explained.
There’s been much written about the problems of replicating the findings of published research in Psychology. This article sets this problem in a wider context: it’s a problem across all of science. The article shows what might be done.
5) Autistic Ancestors
Autism is strongly genetically determined. There must be a reason why autistic traits have survived in the human genome. This article explains what these might be. This seems to me to represent an example of an unfalsifiable and therefore unscientific evolutionary explanation. The idea that cave art was completed by autistic ancestors is not one that can be empirically tested. As genetic techniques advance, that may just be a matter of time. While we’re on autism, this article from the BPS Digest takes apart the broken mirror hypothesis effectively.
6) Motor Neurone Disease And Schizophrenia
Neither of these conditions is on our course. Both are horrible in their effects. One is a neurological condition, a disorder of the brain, the other is psychological, a disorder of the mind. That has been the view for a very long time. This article explains what has now been found by a research team at Trinity College, Dublin. They affect the brain in similar ways and have some genes in common. That has big implications for the way in which we think about different approaches in Psychology.
This TED-X talk explains some of the principles and research.