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?
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?
David Livingston Smith has a new book, On Inhumanity: Dehumanization and How to Resist It , which offers a helpful review of the kinds of psychological and social structures that lead to dehumanization and mistreatment of others. Smith defines dehumanization as conceiving of another person as subhuman. He asserts that: “Given the right circumstances, virtually all of us are capable of slipping into the dehumanizing mindset, and committing acts of cruelty that would otherwise be difficult or even impossible for us to perform. (p. 6) As I’ve pointed out too, individuals can shift into survival systems— fear , rage , or panic states which are intertwined with the stress response—that shift the body toward self-protection (Narvaez, 2014). If my babyhood has been severe or if I was traumatized later, my brain can be “wired” to downshift to survivalism more easily and automatically than for those who have resilient brains, whose brains are wired for staying connected to … [Read more...] about Inhuman Treatment of Others Is a Thought Away
Many years ago, shortly after my father died, I wrote a letter to a friend in Germany informing her that my dad had passed and I was grieving. Prior to this letter, my friend did not have any knowledge about my father’s situation. When my friend wrote back a few weeks later, she told me she had a dream in which I was sad because my father died. Her dream took place two days before my letter arrived in her mailbox. Source: Pexels/Andrea Piacquadio There are many reports of vivid and “ supernatural ” dreams. Although these dreams are largely beyond the scope of current scientific understanding and insufficiently researched, they occur with numerous people around the world. Here are four types of “supernatural” dreams, with excerpts from my book How to Interpret Your Dreams: Keys to Insight & Empowerment . 1. Premonition Dreams Premonition dreams are those in which the dreamer has a vision of a future event which later becomes a reality. Content of … [Read more...] about Four Amazing Types of “Supernatural” Dreams