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Tuesday, March 31, 2009

The Entirely Legitimate Encephalon #67

(Updated! New post from Channel N -see below.) Welcome to the 67th edition of Encephalon, the regular neuroscience and psychology blog roundup. In honor of the recently revealed hilarious petty corruption in British politics, I demanded a hefty bribe to do this post... Wait, did you just read that? I'll give you £50 if you keep quiet about it. Ok, £100. I've got a reputation to uphold.
Anyway, in no particular order - certainly not in the order of the sum they paid me - here are your links for this edition:
  • New! Channel N features a talk by MacArthur Genius and neuro-robotics pioneer Yoky Matsuoka. If you ever want a bionic limb, she's the person to call.
  • In honour of old St Paddy, PodBlack Cat deals with the psychology of "luck", superstition, and Irish movies. Apparantly, there are now breeds of clovers which always have four leaves - where's the fun in that?
  • Neurophilosophy's Mo writes about a pair of fascinating neuroimaging studies about limb amputation and the brain's construction of the body image.
  • Ward Plunet of BrainHealthHacks has three recent posts looking at possible links between obesity and cognitive ability - could be controversial.
  • Ouroboros discusses an interesting discovery which reveals another piece of the puzzle about the genetics of familial Alzheimer's disease.
  • Hesitant Iconoclast of the NeuroWhoa! blog presents a well thought out two-part post about the search for the brain's "God Spot", and what it might mean if there isn't one.
  • The Neurocritic is, as ever, critical, about lie detection and about the latest potential weight loss pills.
  • SharpBrains, the homeland of Encephalon, has a useful set of links to the best brain health articles from the past month, and also discusses the deeply unhealthy goings-on at JAMA regarding conflicts of interests, an antidepressant trial, and some impressive academic fisticuffs.
  • Neuronarrative discusses two fMRI studies which are rather topical in the current economic climate. One is about what happens when we take expert's advice when making decisions and the other about the "money illusion". Finally, there's a post featuring four expert responses to the Susan Greenfield Facebook-destroys-the-brain controversy (which I wrote about previously) which are rather enlightening.
  • BrainBlogger provides a typically accessible write-up of a small but exciting study about the possible utility of lithium in Lou Gherig's disease, and a large study of the possible cognitive consequences of the metabolic syndrome.
  • Finally, The Mouse Trap's Sandeep has an extensive and very thought provoking two part series of thoughts on the psychology of pleasure, pain and bipolar disorder, and to round out this issue, discusses an imaging study about how we know the difference between reality and fiction. Did I really accept bribes to produce this issue?
That's it for this issue! The next Encephalon is slated to be hosted over at Ouroboros, so get writing and e-mail submissions to encephalon{dot}host{at}gmail{dot}com by April 13th.

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