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A torrent of accidental poems

Neurology journal Neurocase has an interesting study of a women who started compulsively writing poetry after having brief epileptic amnesia treated with the anti-seizure drug lamotrigine. A 76-year-old woman reported having a poor memory...Show More Summary

Memory and Psychosis

People who experience psychosis have somewhat lower tested intelligence, with a higher proportion of psychotic individuals scoring below the mean score of 100 on IQ tests. But I think that psychosis may impact tested intelligence by lowering it in a spurious way. Show More Summary

Bt and Leukemia – Another Anti-GMO Myth

The headline of an article on the Organic Consumers Association proclaims, “New Study Links GMO Food To Leukemia.” The same article trumpets the thoroughly discredited Seralini study. The claim is not true, but is part of a pattern of behavior that is depressingly familiar. The pattern is not unique to anti-GMO activism. In fact, it [...]

Round trip ticket to the science of psychedelics

The latest edition of The Psychologist is a special open-access issue on the science and social impact of hallucinogenic drugs. There’s an article by me on culture and hallucinogens that discusses the role of hallucinogenic drugs in diverse cultures and which also covers how cultural expectations shape the hallucinogenic experience – from traditional Kitanemuk society […]

Scientific Literacy

I was recently interviewed for an article on Medical News Today by David McNamee regarding Why is scientific literacy among the general population important? The topic, of course, is very important to me, as I have spent a great deal of my time attempting to promote scientific literacy generally, with an emphasis on medical science since [...]

The Hollywood Medical Reporter – Artistic License

What is more important, for a show to be compelling or medically accurate? The answer is not simple. I certainly believe that absurd inaccuracies in medical dramas, as I discussed in last week’s post on House M.D, have helped produce a public that is tragically and dangerously misinformed. However, I know we must not lose […]

Disco biscuits

This is a video of Professor Stephen Stahl, author of Stahl’s Essential Psychopharmacology, doing a DSM-5 themed version of Stayin’ Alive by the BeeGees.   After working out that, no, no-one has dropped acid in your morning Red Bull, you may notice that the professor busts some pretty respectable moves.   Link to video on […]

Nassim Taleb, The Precautionary Principle, and GMOs

Nassim Taleb is a serious scholar of risk assessment, especially in the world of economics. So when he and two co-authors published a paper on the precautionary principle as it applies to genetically modified organisms it is worth taking seriously. That does not mean I have to agree with his conclusions, however. What I found [...]

Autobiographical Memory for a Life-Threatening Airline Disaster

“My attention shifts to the fact that the comforting engine hum is eerily gone. Where has the comforting hum of the engines gone. Something has gone very, very wrong, the plane continued to shake.” -Daniel Goncalves, recalling the terror...Show More Summary

Diabetics in Distress

Diabetes affects millions of people in the United States and remains one of the leading causes of death. The disease is associated with a myriad of complications and comorbid conditions, but mental health issues are often overlooked. “Diabetes distress” is a relatively new term that describes the psychological manifestations of diabetes management. A recent report […]

Anth 207: new open education space

If you follow Neuroanthropology, either here or on Facebook, you may have noticed something new. We’ve had a bit of a facelift to this site and added a page: Anth 207. This new venture is an effort to generate open educational resources for people interested in psychological anthropology: students, teachers, researchers, the curious… The first […]

What’s The Harm – Ebola Edition

A common defense of implausible treatments is the question – “what’s the harm.” In other words, implausible therapies might help and can’t hurt, so there is no harm in trying. Is this a valid argument, however? In trying to assess which side of a controversy has the better position I look toward logic and evidence. [...]

How to speak the language of thought

We are now beginning to crack the brain’s code, which allows us to answer such bizarre questions as “what is the speed of thought?” When he was asked, as a joke, to explain how the mind works in five words, cognitive scientist Steven Pinker didn’t hesitate. “Brain cells fire in patterns”, he replied. It’s a […]

Researching Magic

David Gorski and I have just published a paper in Trends in Molecular Medicine titled: Clinical trials of integrative medicine: testing whether magic works? While we have published literally thousands of online articles discussing these issues here, at Science-Based Medicine, and other venues, it’s great to get an article in the peer-reviewed literature, which hopefully [...]

Thinking Slow About Thinking Fast – Part III – The Monty Hall Problem

To wrap our minds around human behavior it’s helpful to consider why certain behaviors may have evolved. Natural selection tells us that behaviors that increase our chances of passing along our genes will continue to show up in future generations. It therefore follows that aspects of our behavioral tendencies at some point likely conferred an […]

The Reid Technique of Investigation

If you like crime dramas, you have probably seen this countless times. The officer interrogating a suspect chums up to them, says they understand, and then offers them a face-saving version of guilt to which they can confess. It’s compelling drama. What is being depicted is known as the Reid Technique, developed by John Reid [...]

When To Think Less About Your Choices

Smart people have a tendency to think hard about the choices they make. Who are you going to marry? What house are you going to buy? What flavor of gelato should you get? Some make lists of pros and cons, some try to think about the most important features of the choices, and some make […]

Planned Obsolescence and Attribution Fallacy

There are multiple threads to this story, all revolving around how we make sense of the data before us. Regular readers will likely not be surprised to hear that we tend to labor under a host of cognitive biases that lead us from an accurate interpretation. This story starts with big data – a loose [...]

Migraine and Stroke – What’s the Link?

On the surface, strokes and migraines do not seem to have much in common except that both of them can have serious psychological effects on the sufferers. But researchers say that a complex relationship exists between the two. Migraine is a neurological disorder characterized by the occurrence of throbbing and recurring headaches that can be […]

Brain scanning the deceased

I’ve got an article in The Observer about how, a little surprisingly, the dead are becoming an increasing focus for brain scanning studies. I first discussed this curious corner of neuroscience back in 2007 but a recent Neuroskeptic post reminded me of the area and I decided to check in on how it’s progressing. It […]

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