Depression, epilepsy and some more pop sociology: Joy Division and Ian Curtis (updated)

In this piece (which started out considering the psychological value of play, idleness, and boredom), I wondered if “there [was] something significant in the fact that all of these bands emerged from the industrialised north of England during the 1970’s and 1980’s (Morrissey – Manchester; The Specials – Coventry; Pet Shop Boys – Newcastle and Blackpool) during a… Read More

John Waters (not the other one) on depression: ‘Not even wrong’

John Waters (the columnist, not the other one – don’t confuse them!) is quoted in today’s Sunday Independent as follows: “I don’t believe in depression. There’s no such thing. It’s an invention. It’s bullshit,” he said, “it’s a cop out.” To which I can only say ‘wow’! There are at least two possibilities here. The first is that he… Read More

DSM 5 controversies and a ‘novel’ reading of its contents

The new Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, version 5 was released in May, attended by DSM 5 Controversies in the media, blogs and the academic literature (see this also). Thomas Insell (Director of the NIMH) comments that The goal of this new manual, as with all previous editions, is to provide a common language for describing psychopathology. While DSM has been described as a “Bible”… Read More

Exploring adverse neuropsychiatric effects of interferon alpha, using a preclinical model; exploring behavioural and pharmacological pathways to amelioration of these adverse effects

Recombinant Human Interferon-Alpha Pic from the Wikimedia Commons. Interferon alpha is widely used in the treatment of a variety of non-neurological conditions (for example, hepatitis C, Kaposi’s sarcoma, among others). It is in fact currently the only FDA-approved treatment for hepatitis C. Treatment for hepatitis is limited by the striking and adverse neuropsychiatric consequences of interferon alpha… Read More

Doing a TEDx talk – some thoughts

So, I did a TEDx talk. Extraordinary enough to be asked, and humbling too (thanks Science Gallery folk!). Nerve-wracking also. There is a peculiar nakedness to a TEDx talk. You stand on the red spot – you shouldn’t move around much (at least the online instructions tell you not to). No rostrum to hide behind –… Read More

Roles for the cyclooxygenases (especially COX 2) in learning and memory, as well as in synaptic plasticity.

A pair of papers which focus on the role the inducible inflammatory regulating enzyme COX2 plays in learning and memory. These papers proceeded from earlier work of ours, showing that the bacterial endotoxin lipopolysaccharide (LPS) blocked synaptic plasticity but not synaptic transmission CA1-subiculum pathway in vivo. LPS induces the expression of COX2, amongst other things, and it seemed reasonable to… Read More

Zombie Neuroscience: Shane O’Mara at TEDxDublin – YouTube

Take-home messages: (1) Get a kit, make a plan, be prepared; (2) “It’s always a source of disappointment to the family of a zombie that the zombie doesn’t love them anymore”; (3) Kill the brain. via Zombie Neuroscience: Shane O’Mara at TEDxDublin – YouTube.

Impaired capacity for autonoetic reliving during autobiographical event recall in mild Alzheimer’s disease

Take-home message: Autonoesis or ‘Autonoetic consciousness is the human ability to mentally place ourselves in the past, in the future, or in counterfactual situations, and to analyze our own thoughts‘ (wiki). Here, we focus on impairments of autonoesis in Alzheimer’s disease (AD), using the Episodic Autobiographical Memory Interview (EAMI). We find impairments in AD patients with the following pattern: AD [Download the paper]… Read More

Prolonged rote learning produces delayed memory facilitation and metabolic changes in the hippocampus of the ageing human brain.

Take-home message: repeated practice with material that must be remembered facilitates remembering in an aged population in whom there is expected to be a degree of age-related memory loss. This practice produces changes in the brain in structures that support learning and memory. Think of it like this: memory can be exercised via practice, much… Read More

Exploring the recollective experience during autobiographical memory retrieval in amnestic mild cognitive impairment.

Take-home message: there are greater levels of autobiographical memory (memory for the episodes and events of your life and general knowledge of the world) impairment in amnestic mild cognitive impairment (aMCI: a greater than expected deficit in cognitive function for age and education) seen than previously assumed. More on MCI, which is often thought of as being prodromal for Alzheimer’s disease (AD), as a proportion of… Read More