Genetics explanations for neurological & psychiatric illness

There is an interesting set of commentaries in the current issue of The New England Journal of Medicine in which scientists reflect on why genetic screening strategies have had such limited value, for explaining the risks of onset of the great human diseases and disorders. There has been a longstanding presumption (most strongly held by…

The IMPACT study; a gold-standard trial that shows that Posit Science’s ‘Brain Fitness Program’ works as advertised.

A controlled scientific study (Improvement in Memory with Plasticity-based Adaptive Cognitive Training; the IMPACT Study) conducted in 487 healthy adults over the age of 65 has recorded substantial improvements in cognitive abilities resulting from training with Posit Science’s Brain Fitness Program. The study, now published online and appearing in print in the April issue of…

PTSD and the Purple Heart

Several weeks ago, the Army formally responded to a recommendation from a military psychologist that soldiers suffering from PTSD be awarded a Purple Heart. “No”, they said. “It is not a wound intentionally caused by the enemy”, explained an Army spokesperson. On lots of blogs and in commentaries written about this suggestion, many soldiers weighed…

Helping the troops

It was distressing to read last week about a careful scientific meta-analysis of more than 1800 studies of the nature of, and the origins of “Gulf War Syndrome”.  That study showed, with statistical surety, that the cause of this affliction that has substantially, permanently degraded the lives of about 175,000 former men and women who…

Keeping those troops on alert

I usually don’t read Time , but my wife has a subscription and I happened to notice and read a cover story in a recent issue discussing the profligate prescription of drugs (especially, anti-depressants) to active-duty soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan. I was not surprised by the story, for two reasons. First, as you probably…

Gory neuroscience

I was surprised to read about neuroscience and the brain considered from a particularly intelligent general perspective in the politician Al Gore’s recently published The Assault on Reason (now a Penguin soft-cover). I recommend this book for its perspective about the relationship between “reason” and “marketing” — as “truth” hangs in the balance — in…

A sixth misconception about aging: Alzheimers Disease pathology specifically impairs memory/cognitive processes in aging

Our rule when reading about “Ten Misconceptions About Aging” is that you read about prior “misconceptions” before your are entitled to read about this current one, MC #6. If you haven’t done your homework, see blogs on this subject on November 7th, December 5th, April 29th, May 1st and May 5th. Then come back and…

Mr. Leonard Krauss and Dr. Stanley Karansky win a “Merzie”

Over the past three years, we have conducted several research projects at Rossmoor, a retirement community with about 9,000 residents about 20 miles east of San Francisco. Rossmoor is in a beautiful rural setting in a narrow valley surrounded by oak-cloaked hills. I have given a number of lectures there, and am always struck by…

A fifth misconception: Our functional abilities at any stage of life are a handoff from Mother Nature or the Creator of the Universe

If you haven’t done your homework (haven’t read “misconceptions 1-4”), go do it, then read this one. You’ll find those entries on November 7th, December 5th, April 29th, and May 1st. Which lead us to: Misconception 5. Our functional abilities at any stage of life are a handoff from Mother Nature or the Creator of…