Medically accurate illustration of the cerebellum (Latin for "little brain") in orange. Cerebellar means "related to the cerebellum." Source: SciePro/Shutterstock Earlier this year, researchers in Finland published a study ( Kekkonen et al., 2021 ) showing that heavy ("binge") drinking from adolescence to young adulthood was associated with an altered cerebellum . Now, another recently published study about alcohol and the brain puts the cerebellum front and center. The latest study ( Jin, Cao, Yang, et al., 2021) into how the brain metabolizes alcohol suggests that astrocytic ALDH2 enzymes in the cerebellum may play a previously unrecognized role in drunkenness (i.e., ethanol intoxication). These peer-reviewed findings were published on March 22 in the open-access journal Nature Metabolism . "We found ALDH2 was expressed in cells known as astrocytes in the cerebellum, a brain region that controls balance and motor coordination," co-author Qi Cao of the … [Read more...] about How Does Alcohol Make Someone Drunk?
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Melancholy, Edvard Munch (circa 1895) Source: Public domain Do antidepressants really work? This has been a controversial question ever since the 2008 publication of a research study by Dr. Irving Kirsch and his colleagues that concluded that there was “little evidence to support the prescription of antidepressant medication to any but the most severely depressed patients.” 1 But now a new study, just published in The Lancet, indicates that yes, antidepressants do work for the treatment of depression after all. 2 With seemingly different conclusions, as is often the case in scientific inquiry, should we just let the findings cancel each other out and believe what we want to believe? Of course not. Instead, as we try to make sense of the data, let’s look at both studies with an eye towards where they might differ and where they might actually support the same conclusion. The 2008 study by Dr. Kirsch and colleagues was a meta-analysis of 35 randomized, … [Read more...] about Do Antidepressants Work? Yes, No, and Yes Again!
People, even those who report that they value morality, often act unethically and then put it out of their mind. Source: Photo by Bermix Studio on Unsplash A psychologist charged her usual fee of one hundred dollars for a session. After her patient paid cash and left, she rubbed the bill and noticed he had overpaid her with two crisp one hundred bills stuck together. The thought popped into her head that she could keep the extra hundred-dollar bill, and nobody would ever know. Psychologists are supposed to be the vanguards of ethical and moral conduct as they treat the public. And they are required to take annual continuing education credits to maintain their licenses. Yet, the most common ethical violations psychologists commit are breaking patient confidentiality, sexual misconduct, and insurance mismanagement. Many highly-reputable people claim to have lofty ethical standards and denounce others for dishonesty, while violating their own principles by cheating on their … [Read more...] about Is It Gaslighting or Unethical Amnesia?
In late July, right in the middle of the pandemic, the Cigna Resilience Index was used to conduct one of the largest assessments of resilience ever done in the U.S. The survey reached 5,000 parents, 5,000 of their children, 1,500 young adults, and 5,000 workers. Sadly, just over 60% of those surveyed reported few of the personal qualities and social supports we know make people resilient during a crisis. The results suggest that Americans of all ages are at risk of mental and physical health problems, though that risk changes by age and employment status. For example, while 45% of children report high resilience, just 22% of 18- to 23-year-olds appear to have the strengths required to cope during these difficult times. That number is even worse for Black teens, with just 16% reporting high resilience scores. Among workers, only one-third of those employed during the pandemic described themselves as resilient, while only 1 in 6 employees who were laid off said they had the … [Read more...] about 60% of Americans Lack the Resilience to Cope With COVID-19
Source: 'Pawel Malyszko' used with permission Dan Mathews is the senior vice president of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) and is known for launching PETA's most controversial and attention -getting campaigns. Dan has just written a new memoir, Like Crazy: Life with My Mother and Her Invisible Friends , the first book to reveal the natural course of untreated schizophrenia in someone who made it into old age. I was curious how Dan’s experience being raised in an often chaotic environment, by a (then) undiagnosed schizophrenic mother, led him to become one of the most effective and creative activists in the world. After reading Dan’s page-turning memoir, I was eager to interview him to shed light on his experiences and their impacts. Q: Dan, you’re one of the most compassionate and outrageous people I’ve ever met. How do you think your mom's schizophrenia and your experience as her child led both to your deep empathy for animals and what some might … [Read more...] about How My Mom’s Schizophrenia Boosted My Empathy and Creativity