1) Genetics Of Depression
A new study has come out, identifying 44 genetic variants as risk factors for depression. Here is an account from the Institute Of Psychiatry, Psychology And Neuroscience where some of the researchers on the study were based. Here is an account from The Guardian. There are two salient points. Firstly, there are thousands of genes involved. Identifying these 44 variants is just a small step towards understanding fully the genetic basis. Secondly, it is possible to link these variants to specific areas of the brain and to mechanisms based on specific neurotransmitters. Some of these mechanisms are addressed by current drugs but others are not. That opens up possibilities for treatment. In our course, depression is treated as a disorder of thought. This evidence suggests that it cannot be thought of simply as a disorder of thought because it points to the effect of biological factors. Whether these factors represent a fundamental explanation remains a matter for debate.
2) The Inflamed Mind
This video introduces key ideas from Ed Bullmore’s book about the biological basis of depression. Depression is seen at least for some people as a consequence of inflammation. This therefore relates to the question of fundamental cause.
Definitions of abnormality sometimes seems like a difficult topic to grasp because it is not entirely clear why we are arguing about whether or not someone should be defined as psychologically abnormal. This article looks at the consequences both negative and positive of diagnosis.
We’ve seen how Milgram’s study has become the subject of recent controversy. It is possible to read the academic journal articles about this free of charge for a limited period by clicking here.
5) Implications For The Economy
This comes up in exam questions occasionally. Here is an article looking at the economic impact of counselling for children in primary schools.
The BBC is running a series of programmes about obesity. Here is the link to the programme. This article explains the context. This article refers to the MC4R gene which we look at as part of the course.