I awoke this morning to a ferocious lightning storm. The house shook from thunderous booms. The predawn darkness blanched in blazing white flashes. Lightning is impressive; especially in contrast to the feeble bioelectricity generated by the body’s nerve cells. Or is that just an illusion? Neuroscientist Michael Persinger has done some back-of-the-envelope calculations that may surprise you.
Beginning on October 1, researchers seeking NIH grants must balance male and female cells and animals in their NIH funded research. Under the banner of ending sex bias, this new mandate appears to be a significant advance in the way research is done, but many scientists fear the well-intentioned directive is misguided. Continue reading
Guys who need it have Viagra; Ladies with the similar needs have nothing now that the FDA has denied approval of a new drug, flibanserin, which would treat sexual dysfunction in women. What’s interesting from a neuroscience perspective is how the drug works. What’s interesting from a social perspective is how difficult it is to address this medical concern in women pharmacologically. Continue reading
I’ll never forget it. They strapped electrodes to my wrist, cranked up a black dial on a frightening electronic device encrusted with switches and knobs, and shocked me repeatedly with jolts of electricity. Continue reading
San Diego–Would we have Poe’s Raven today if the tormented author had taken lithium to suppress his bipolar illness? Not likely, considering the high frequency of psychiatric illnesses among writers and artists concludes psychiatrist Kay Jamison of Johns Hopkins Medical School speaking this week at the Society for Neuroscience annual meeting in San Diego. Madness electrifies the creative process Jamison concludes, but this difficult drug-use dilemma raises an even more provocative question: Would we have Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds had the Beatles not taken LSD?
Women suffer depression and anxiety disorders at higher rates than men; a new study finds an interesting new explanation for this. Unwholesome family life can alter development of threat-detection circuits in the brain of young girls, which persist into adulthood and predispose women to developing mood and anxiety disorders as adolescents and young adults. Boys are also negatively impacted by family stresses during childhood, but the lasting effects on their brain were seen in only one of two neural circuits controlling our response to threats, anxiety and fear.
Squeezing her hand over the toddler’s nose and mouth she smothered him to death because he would not stop crying. Last Monday 22-year-old Jessica Fraraccio pleaded guilty in court to felony murder of 23-month-old Elijah Nealey in the summer of 2012. No one in their right mind could conceive of committing such a horrible act, but babies are tragically killed or left severely brain damaged by shaken baby syndrome inflicted by a parent, family member, or caretaker frustrated by a child’s incessant crying. Dismissing those with depraved minds, how can we comprehend such sad stories as this one in the Washington Post?