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Posts Tagged "psychiatry"

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New E-Book Takes Aim at Understanding Autism

The term “autism” comes from the Greek word “autos,” meaning self, used to describe conditions of social withdrawal—or the isolated self. Around 1910, a Swiss psychiatrist first used the term to refer to certain symptoms of schizophrenia. Later, in the 1940s, physicians Leo Kanner and Hans Asperger independently used that name to describe what was [...]

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Cross-Check

N.Y. Times Hype of “Feel-Good Gene” Makes Me Feel Bad

The evidence for the "feel-good gene" is flimsy, just like the evidence for specific genes associated with high intelligence, violent aggression, homosexuality, bipolar disorder and countless other complex human traits and ailments.

In 1990 The New York Times published a front-page article by Lawrence Altman, a reporter with a medical degree, announcing that scientists had discovered “a link between alcoholism and a specific gene.” That was merely one in a string of reports in which the Times and other major media hyped what turned out to be [...]

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Cross-Check

Healing thyself: Does psychedelic therapy exploit the placebo effect?

My last post talked about the depressing lack of progress in treatments for depression and other common psychological disorders. Talking cures and antidepressants alike are subject to the "dodo effect," which decrees that all therapies are roughly as effective—or ineffective—as one another. The dodo effect implies that treatments harness the placebo effect, the patient’s expectation [...]

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Cross-Check

DMT is in your head, but it may be too weird for the psychedelic renaissance

You know that psychedelics are making a comeback when the New York Times says so on page 1. In “Hallucinogens Have Doctors Tuning In,” John Tierney reports on how doctors at schools like Harvard, Johns Hopkins, UCLA and NYU are testing the potential of psilocybin and other hallucinogens for treating depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, post-traumatic stress [...]

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Cross-Check

Can brain scans help us understand Homer?

In recent posts, I’ve knocked neuroframing, neuroweapons and neurobics. Next up: neuro-lit-crit. New York Times culture reporter Patricia Cohen reports that for insights and inspiration literary scholars are turning, inevitably, to neuroscience and evolutionary psychology. Philosophers are doing the same, as are art theorists, religious scholars, you name it. Edward Wilson must be thrilled. In [...]

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Guest Blog

Blaming parents: What I’ve learned and unlearned as a child psychiatrist

The fact that he’d stopped crying scared me. Damn rear-facing car seat. I couldn’t see him as I was driving to the hospital at 3 a.m. Now the hospital construction was making it impossible to find the entrance to the emergency room, let alone a place to leave the car. Getting out of the car [...]

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Guest Blog

Psychotherapy and the healing power of narrating a life

An important part of the psychotherapy process, as I understand it and have practiced it, involves constructing a narrative of one’s life. This may seem like a curious task given that we all know or should know the story of our lives. We’ve been imagining the movie to be made from that story forever, right? [...]

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MIND Guest Blog

Why We Need to Abandon the Disease Model of Mental Health Care

A Prescription for Psychiatry, book cover.

The idea that our more distressing emotions such as grief and anger can best be understood as symptoms of physical illnesses is pervasive and seductive. But in my view it is also a myth, and a harmful one. Our present approach to helping vulnerable people in acute emotional distress is severely hampered by old-fashioned, inhumane [...]

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MIND Guest Blog

Technology May Lift Severe Depression, but Full Recovery Takes Time

Courtesy of Dave Gingrich via Flickr.

This blog is the last in a series of guest posts on technology and the brain to celebrate Scientific American Mind’s 10-year anniversary. The magazine’s special November/December issue similarly highlights the interface between code and thought in profiling a future, more digital YOU. I have been a practicing psychiatrist at the Cleveland Clinic since 1989. [...]

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Observations

Field Tests for Revised Psychiatric Guide Reveal Reliability Problems for 2 Major Diagnoses

DSM

PHILADELPHIA—In the summer of 2011 I began working on a feature article about a book that most people have never heard of—the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), a reference guide for psychiatrists and clinicians. Most of the DSM‘s pages contain lists of symptoms that characterize different mental disorders (e.g. schizophrenia: delusions, hallucinations, [...]

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Observations

Psychological “Growth” through War and Disease: Sometimes It’s Just a Cruel Delusion

  A week ago, The New York Times magazine ran an article on what psychologists call “posttraumatic growth.” An experience that can purportedly occur subsequent to severe life trauma, it might be best titled “The Oprah Moment” for non-clinicians. It entails an arduous life experience—combat, cancer—that, once confronted, is said to engender psychological transformation that [...]

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Observations

Down the hatch: Patients who swallow foreign objects tend to make it a habit [Video]

swallowed knife in patient, removal can be expensive

Steven Moss has pretty much seen it all—lodged in people’s digestive tracts. As a gastroenterologist at Rhode Island Hospital, he has helped remove batteries, blades and even bed springs from people’s esophagi and stomachs. But these patients weren’t children. They were adults who had swallowed dangerous objects on purpose. "Intentional, rather than accidental, swallowing is [...]

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Observations

Nonexpert treatment shown to be more effective than primary care in soothing widespread anxiety

anxiety treatment flexible cognitive behavior therapy computer-assisted

NEW YORK—One-size-fits-all treatments are particularly rare in the mental health world, where each patient’s ailments can seem unique. But a team of researchers seems to have found a therapeutic model to treat anxiety disorders as wide-ranging as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), social phobia and panic disorder. Lead study author Dr. Peter Roy-Byrne, of the Department [...]

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Observations

Unraveling the brain’s secrets: Humility required

Brain image

In early October, the Singularity Summit took place on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, a conference that highlighted the prospects for abolishing the ravages of aging and disease. So you’ll be able to live forever, unless you get hit by a truck.  Living forever is mainly about preserving brain function. That’s why the cryonicists—the ones who [...]

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Talking back

Is Ketamine Right for You? Off-Label Prescriptions for Depression Pick Up in Small Clinics, Part 2

Dennis Hartman, a 47-year-old former business executive for an Illinois gaming company, described the diagnosis he had been given as “major depression disorder with severity of the extreme, social phobia and generalized anxiety disorder,” something he had lived with for more than 30 years. He had tried Prozac-like drugs, an earlier generation of antidepressants, tranquilizers, [...]

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Talking back

The Grand Challenge of Schizophrenia Drugs

A milestone for Big Neuroscience came Wednesday with the publication in Nature of a study on the way genes switch on across the whole human brain. Whole brain is all the vogue. Neuroscientists have devoted inordinate energy in recent years to publicize  the need for, not only gene maps, but for a full wiring diagram [...]

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