Wednesday Round Up #20

Brain Health and Illness

Ed Yong, Is Sudden Infant Death Syndrome Caused by a Serotonin Imbalance?
Mice with SIDS, extra serotonin, and environmental stress—a deadly package. Good take from Ed. To see the media’s coverage, here’s a short piece from Yahoo.

John Grohol, Surprise! Mental Health Parity Is Inexpensive
Results in from Massachusetts. Matching the coverage of physical health is very affordable

Alvaro at Sharp Brains, A Multi-Pronged Approach to Brain Health
Interview with Dr. Larry McClearly. Not McDreamy, but he does know his “brain health public education” and what you need to do to keep that brain running smoothly

Alvaro at Sharp Brains, Brain Evolution and Why It Is Meaningful Today to Improve Our Brain Health
The evolutionary rationale for why McDreamy, I mean McClearly, is right

Jonah Lehrer, How Prozac Really Works
“Prozac is simply a bottled version of other activities that have a similar effect, such as physical exercise. They aren’t happy pills, but healing pills.”

Anne Harding, Study Uncovers How Ritalin Works in the Brain
“when groups of neurons in the prefrontal cortex were working in well-organized networks, the small doses of Ritalin enhanced this activity, but suppressed the activity of less organized networks”

Vaughan Bell, Mental Illness: In with the Intron Crowd
The genetics of mental illness from a big, new Nature paper

Shrink Rap, Sunday Morning Coffee Links
One psychiatrist’s round up of the blogosphere—plenty of cool stuff

Tara Parker-Pope, Dance Even If Nobody Is Watching
Dancing helps with depression, anxiety and Parkinson’s—plus the Matt Harding worldwide dance video

Tara Parker-Pope, Should Doctors Lecture Their Patients About Their Weight?
Great reflection, and an enormous number of comments

Benedict Carey, Extinguishing the Fear at the Roots of Anxiety
Anxiety and memory research merging, with implications for PTSD

Dick Cavett, Smiling Through
Depression, laughing and trying to get through it. An essay, and lots of comments

Dick Cavett, Smiling Through-Part Two
More on depression, with reflections about creativity and stars and then Cavett’s reactions to the comments on his previous column


Natasha Dow Schull, Beware: Machine Zone Ahead
MIT anthropologist who has studied gambling and the gambling industry takes us through the manipulations of a slot machine. Antropologi gives us even more on Natasha Dow Schull and her work.

Sharon Begley, Train Your Mind, Kick Your Craving
Strategies to change the meaning of stimuli—the sort of psychobiological research that makes an anthropologist happy

Lizette Alvarez, After the Battle, Fighting the Bottle at Home
Recent veterans deal with an equally difficult and evasive enemy, alcoholism

Todd Soligo & Alex Richards, Prescription Narcotic Consumption
Amazing interactive US map. Mind Hacks provides more info.

Rick Nauert, Cessation of Moderate Drinking May Lead to Depression
Abstinence and depression linked? Evidence from an animal model study

Sandra Baldauf, The Brain on (Lots of) Marijuana
Pot deteriorates the brain? A small study of extreme behavior

New York Times, Letters: Failures in the War against Drugs
A great selection of readers’ comments to the recent NYT op-ed

Daniel Kurtz-Phelan, The Long War of Genaro Garcia Luna
Mexico’s war with drug traffickers—an overview

PLoS One Papers

Nico van Beveren & Lieuwe de Haan, A Visual Metaphor Describing Neural Dynamics in Schizophrenia
Can complex dynamics give us conceptual metaphors to understand the myriad aspects of schizophrenia?

Stefan Koelsch et al., Effects of Unexpected Chords and of Performer’s Expression on Brain Responses and Electrodermal Activity
Music processing with naturalistic stimuli—music-syntactic and emotional processing separate in the brain

Michael Valenzuela et al., Lifespan Mental Activity Predicts Diminished Rate of Hippocampal Atrophy
Go ahead, be complex mentally, your hippocampus will like you.


Nicholas Kristof, It Takes A School, Not Missles
A better way to take on the Taliban in Afghanistan

Speechless, Timeline of Hermeneutics
Covers the entire history. Great introduction if you want to know more about interpretation and texts (including our own experience).

Jay Parini, Why Poetry Matters
Poetry “mirrors the vast interior world, populates it with images and phrases, provides a basis for the reality of individual lives.”

The Winding Path, Introduction to Human Development
A whole series on theoretical perspectives about human development, from psychoanalytic and cognitive to biological and sociocultural.

Embodied Talk. Precision Grip and Cruise at 33,000 Feet
Gestures and communication get their day

James Vlahos, Pill-Popping Pets
Does your dog need Prozac? NYT Magazine article with the usual comprehensive coverage

Donald McNeil Jr., When Human Rights Extend to Non-Humans
Apes get rights in Spain, and the ensuing controversy


Guy Gugliotta, The Great Human Migration
What were humans like 80,000 years ago, and why they left Africa to go colonize the world. Very good Smithsonian article.

Gene Expression, Series on Sewall Wright
Wright is one of the true giants of evolutionary theory, but often under-appreciated. Gene Expression describes Wright’s oeuvre.

The Kenilworthian, Chess and Evolutionary Theory
Evolution—history or selection? Interesting reflection as applied to the development of chess.

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