Wednesday Round Up #29

This week we’ve got medical anthropology (including Paul Farmer!), Iraq (in particular the new book The Forever War), the brain, society, evolution, and drug hacks.

Medical Anthropology

60 Minutes, Dr. Farmer’s Remedy
Paul Farmer, doctor and anthropologist, solves health problems linked to poverty and inequality

The Economist, Global Health: The Price of Being Well
Social forces impact health. A major statement by a new WHO group, highlighting the need for social justice alongside the provision of adequate care

Nicholas Wade, A Dissenting Voice as the Genome Is Sifted to Fight Disease
A young professor argues that the evidence on personalized medicine based on genetics doesn’t match the hype

Eugene Raikhel, Moving beyond Race in Pharmacogenomics?
Great discussion, with good links, over at Somatosphere

The Banana Peel Project, Communication, Criticism and Medicine
Foucault, commentary and the role of informed critique

Randal Archibold, Indians’ Water Rights Give Hope for Better Health
See social justice in action. Water rights to farming to having a sense of involvement, rather than the Pima being the case study for genetic vulnerability to diabetes (due to changed social circumstances)

Michael Conlon, Stressed Mothers May Raise Fat Children: Study
Stress from mother transformed into comfort food for kids

Lindsey Tanner, Got a Fat Gene? Get Active for 3-4 Hours a Day
Which is exactly what the modern world dictates, isn’t it?

Alan Feuer, Thousands Later, He Sees Lottery’s Cruelty Close Up
Being poor and chasing the wins—an in-depth look

Jennifer Gibson, Laughter Is the Best – and Possibly Oldest – Medicine
Brain Blogger on the power of laughter in healing

Iraq

Lee Hamilton, Outside the Green Zone, the Human Dimension
“The near-complete American failure to understand Iraq is still evident five and a half years into the war.” NY Times review of the book The Forever War by Dexter Kilkins, journalist become anthropologist through need and circumstance.
You can read the first chapter here. The Times also runs the Baghdad Bureau blog about working in Iraq

LL Wynn, Iraq, Occupation, Culture and the Military
Provocative discussion happening over at Culture Matters

Jonah Lehrer, Cognitive Dissonance and Politics
No weapons of mass destruction? Impossible, there had to be. Also see Jonah’s Why the Facts Don’t Matter in Politics.

Brain

Olivia Judson, A Commitment Pill?
More on vasopressin, voles and wandering men

The Frontal Cortex, Flashbulb Memories
They are about perceived accuracy, not actual accuracy

Neurophilosophy, Neurobiology of a Hallucination
The latest research aims to explain the elusive, and elusive to study, phenomenon

Natalie Angier, Gut’s Instinct Surprising Role in Math
The latest on our “nonverbal number sense”

Benedict Carey, Training Young Brains to Behave
The prefrontal cortex, executive function and using behavior to “accelerate biology”. Part of the special Child Health guide from the NY Times.

Society

Gerry Hassan, The Limits of the “Think Tank” Revolution
Why are progressive think tanks not doing as good a job as conservative think tanks?

Stephen Dubner, How to Think about Sex? A Freakonomics Quorum
Sex and society debated!

Pete Lunn & Tim Harford, Behavioural Economics: Is It Such a Big Deal?
A pro-con debate over at Prospect Magazine

Culture Matters, Current Indigenous Debates, CDEP and the culture of Cultura Nullius
Culture and challenging “governmental intervention”

Patrick Deneen, Technology, Culture and Virtue
Humans as technological creatures, and an essay that tries to find a middle line between notions of nature and culture in relation to technology

Mark Thompson, The Army’s Totally Serious Mind-Control Project
Well, more like mind reading and communications, but you never know…

Jonathan Haidt, What Makes People Vote Republican?
“I think is one of the main reasons that so many Americans voted Republican over the last 30 years: they honestly prefer the Republican vision of a moral order to the one offered by Democrats.”

Evolution

Jennifer Viegas, Neanderthals Beat Mammoths, So Why Not Us?
Meat-eating Neanderthals meets Homo sapiens… Recent research and speculation

John Hawks, Evo-Devo and HACNS1
Developmental regulation and human evolution – the latest from Science which John calls an “extraordinarily important result”

PZ Myers, Michael Reiss’s Big Mistake
PZ on how he teaches creationism in class – as history and the advance of science

Vaughan Bell, Gay Genes, Environment and Gene
A gay evolutionary psychologists gives his funny tours of some explanations thrown out

Drug Hacks

Kevin Sack and Brent McDonald, Popularity of a Hallucinogen May Thwart Its Medical Uses
Salvia divinorum, possible treatments, and Jackass. Mind Hacks follows up here.

Sean Spence, Can Pharmacology Help Enhance Human Morality
An article in the British Journal of Psychiatry that says yes. Mind Hacks reacts.

Mind Hacks, Taking Responsibility
Can we really encourage responsible, informed use of psychoactive substances?

Shirley Skeel, What If We Legalized Drugs?
MSN explores the issues – so here’s a popular take!

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