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Daily links 09/30/2012

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Daily links 09/20/2012

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  • or as Euan Semple calls it ‘neurobollocks’. Lovely. Almost as good as ‘brain porn’.

    tags: neuroscience BS science psychology fiction theory human

    • Too often, he tells me in an email correspondence, a popular writer will “opt for some sort of neuro-flapdoodle in which a highly simplistic and questionable point is accompanied by a suitably grand-sounding neural term and thus acquires a weightiness that it really doesn’t deserve. In my view, this is no different to some mountebank selling quacksalve by talking about the physics of water molecules’ memories, or a beautician talking about action liposomes.”
    • This is what the psychologist Christopher Chabris has named the “story-study-lesson” model, perhaps first perfected by one Malcolm Gladwell. A series of these threesomes may be packaged into a book, and then resold again and again as a stand-up act on the wonderfully lucrative corporate lecture circuit.
    • I hereby volunteer to submit to a functional magnetic-resonance imaging scan while reading a stack of pop neuroscience volumes, for an illuminating series of pictures entitled This Is Your Brain on Stupid Books About Your Brain.

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Daily links 09/14/2012

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Daily links 09/04/2012

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  • Fascinating. And encouraging.

    tags: psychiatrist unicorn paradigm chemistry drugs humans mind

    • The simple analogy to computer hardware and software illustrates the difficulty in psychiatry.  One can understand all of the hardware of a computer system, but this will not explain if or how the computer can run word processing software, video games, instant message or be susceptible to a virus, or make any predictions about the behavior of this software in the real world (for example, no computer technician could predict the writing of this paper, nor, by changing the hardware, alter the content of this paper.)   Hardware is finite, but software is infinite, or as infinite as is thought.  Without understanding the mechanism of thought, or at least how thoughts or states can affect mood, then a pharmacology of the brain will simply tread water with no progress towards either treatment or diagnosis.  One cannot permanently alter mood without at least simultaneously altering thought.  In a sense, there is more logic to the psychological approach, or at least in conjunction with medications, because if software (thought) is the problem, more software is the cure.   While the applicability of “therapy” in schizophrenia may be debatable,  there is no reason as yet to decide that any other approach is applicable to mood disorders such as depression or anxiety, and absolutely no evidentiary reason to assume that pharmacology is the superior approach.  It is not necessarily faster nor more consistently reliable.
    • Myths of psychiatry such as those described above are not isolated examples of poor practice or lack of knowledge, but are the unavoidable manifestations of an artificial paradigm which is arbitrarily derived from unproven assumptions, justified by inappropriate logic.   They often lead to ineffective, dangerous, and very expensive treatment.  Psychiatry must be more vigilant about its own data.   It is necessary  to avoid laziness in our education and understand from where comes our knowledge.  There are daily diatribes against the influence of pharmaceutical companies; but the effect of pens and detailing is surely much smaller than the effect of misunderstood data, poorly researched axioms, and signs run amok.  Psychiatry will not survive as a medical subspecialty if it continues along this path.  It will lose its dignity, and worse, it will become irrelevant.
  • brilliant stuff

    tags: psychiatrist article psychiatry

  • rather good

    tags: recipes drinks cocktails tips gin tonic

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Daily links 09/03/2012

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Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Daily links 09/02/2012

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