Neuron Culture

Archives for June, 2009

I can’t claim to be ‘objective’ or neutral on health-care reform — but who can? Everybody needs health care, some more than others. I need it less than most, as my family and I are, knock on wood, generally blessed with good health. Even so, we laid out $18K last year for health care, still…

A key component of health-care reform — and saving our ass from going bankrupt and sick from spending too much on lousy treatments — is establishing comparative effectiveness measures, otherwise known as “actually knowing WTF works and what doesn’t.” This idea terrifies companies who don’t want such objective measures. It also generates a lot of…

Big psych news of the day is that a big JAMA study debunked the “depression gene” — that is, this big new study (by Risch et alia, in JAMA, today) found that, contrary to a famous earlier big study (Caspi et alia, in Science, 2003), the short (“bad”) form of a particular gene called 5-HTT…

Neuroskeptic offers an elegant unpeeling of a study seeming specifically designed to find a marketing-friendly distinction for a drug — Abilify — otherwise undistinguished. Suppose you were a drug company, and you’ve invented a new drug. It’s OK, but it’s no better than the competition. How do you convince people to buy it? You need…

What we know, Bill speaks: I already knew, from my own modest experience installing and paying for installation of insulation and other energy-saving upgrades in my house, that such work is highly labor-intensive — and so employs a lot of people per dollar spent. When we had our basement insulated, the material cost was perhaps…

SciAm ponders evidence that fish hatcheries are watering down the trout and salmon gene pool. Matt Yglesias looks at one of many lies being told by those opposing health-care reform — confirming Salon’s prediction that the opponents of reform are not going to play nice. See also The American Prospect on How Big Pharma Intends…

Photo: Tyler Hicks, via Scientific American What if you could predict which troops are most likely to get PTSD from combat exposure — and takes steps to either bolster them mentally or keep them out of combat situations? A new study suggests we could make a start on that right now — and cut combat…

Jim Schnabel has an interesting story at Nature, free to all viewers, on the tetchy difficult of assessing how TV affects kids. I’ve often wondered whether the rise in ADHD diagnoses was due at least partly to TV. This story looks at a researcher who — amazed at how riveted his infant son was by…

Forgive my recent blogopause. i was fishing, and then traveling, and then writing rather head-down intensely — all activities I have trouble mixing with blogging and social media such as Twitter, which I’ve also left idle these last days. So what gives with all that? I often find it awkward to switch between blogging or…