Post Of The Week – Saturday April 22nd 2017

1) More On Short Term And Long Term Memory

More articles have appeared about research into the formation of memories in mice. There are two here and here. The key idea is that, rather than information passing from short term to long term memory, short and long term memories of an event are formed simultaneously. This overturns a long held view of memory within the cognitive approach and has implications for how memory loss and PTSD are treated.

 

2) Functional Connectivity Between Surgically Disconnected Brain Regions

fMRI is based on the idea of functional connectivity. If areas of the brain show simultaneous activity, they are assumed to be connected in order to carry out a task. This article refers to a study which finds evidence of functional connectivity between areas of the brains of participants which are known to have been disconnected by surgery. The article explains what the issues might be. It reminds us that these techniques for studying the brain are not without controversy.

 

3) Antidepressant Prescriptions

This article contains the data for the prescription of anti-depressants in the middle of a discussion of how antidepressants are prescribed heavily in deprived coastal communities. For 2016, there were 64 million prescriptions. The number continues to rise steadily.

 

4)  ECT

When we were looking at cognitive explanations and treatments for depression, we considered why we need a biological approach to go alongside the cognitive. One straightforward answer is here. ECT works and its use is on the increase even though there is stigma attached to it and nobody is sure how it works.

 

5) Stigma And Eating Disorders

Eating disorders are really much like any other psychological disorder. They tend to develop in late adolescence, they affect both males and females and they arise from a complex mix of biological, psychological and socio-cultural factors. Getting this message across is important because people tend to think that eating disorders only affect females and are dieting which got out of hand. This article looks at attempts to deal with stigma relating to eating disorders. There are two salient points. Firstly, emphasising the biological explanation of eating disorders, the “disease like any other approach” is effective in reducing stigma but reduces people’s beliefs about the possibility of getting better. Secondly, studies tend to use medical and psychology students as participants. In this study, when samples were more broadly based, findings were very different.

 

6) Stigma

It’s been an extraordinary week for tackling stigma surrounding mental illness. Here’s a link to Prince Harry’s interview about how he has learnt to deal with the death of his mother. Here’s the BBC programme about people with mental illness training for the London Marathon.

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