Maia Szalavitz [mefi's own maias] talks about her new book, Unbroken Brain: A Revolutionary New Way of Understanding Addiction on Fresh Air with Terry Gross (transcript) - "We have this idea that if we are just cruel enough and mean enough and tough enough to people with addiction, that they will suddenly wake up and stop, and that is not the case."
Magic Mushroom Drug Lifts Depression in Human Trial - "The findings show that more research in this field is now needed. 'This is the first time that psilocybin has been investigated as a potential treatment for major depression', says lead author Dr Robin Carhart-Harris, Imperial College London."
Could depression be an infectious disease? Might hallucinogenic mushrooms be an effective treatment for depression (New York Times link)? Do antipsychotic drugs hinder long-term recovery from episodes of schizophrenia?
How Tripping On Mushrooms Changes The Brain - "New research [pdf] suggests that psilocybin, the main psychoactive ingredient in magic mushrooms, sprouts new links across previously disconnected brain regions, temporarily altering the brain's entire organizational framework." [more inside]
The epidemic of mental illness plaguing the Americans and the overmedication of psychiatric patients are in part artifacts of the diagnostic method. [more inside]
A gene variant associated with serotonin transport (STG) , and normally associated with depression is strangely more prevalent, but also less likely to induce depression in collectivistic East Asian cultures. The study took data from 29 countries, and found a consistent trend towards this same genetic variant being strongly associated with episodes of major depression in Western cultures.
Ecstasy's long-term effects revealed. "Enough time has finally elapsed to start asking if ecstasy damages health in the long term. According to the biggest review ever undertaken, it causes slight memory difficulties and mild depression, but these rarely translate into problems in the real world. While smaller studies show that some individuals have bigger problems, including weakened immunity and larger memory deficits, so far, for most people, ecstasy seems to be nowhere near as harmful over time as you may have been led to believe." [Via]
The machine that makes you a savant. (NY Times, No registration copy here) Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation sounds sketchy at first, but there is growing evidence this device developed for brain mapping can change and maybe even enhance mental functions, and may (or may not) be especially useful against depression. The results of the first major US trials will come out in 2006, as discussed in this MIT Tech Review article (PDF). Are you ready for one at home?
A review of the current state of gender based brain research shows that women and men differ both in the way their brains are constructed and in how they function.
..correlation between brain region size in adults and sex steroid action in utero suggests that at least some sex differences in cognitive function do not result from cultural influences or the hormonal changes associated with puberty--they are there from birth.Treatment for such things as schizophrenia and depression will likely have gender specific variations in the future. Previously, brain research that examined gender differences was considered controversial because it was argued that the results might give rise to more sex discrimination against women. That view may be changing.