Monthly Archives: May 2009

News Round-Up: May 5th Edition

News In Brief

A combination of pain self-management and close monitoring of antidepressant treatment shows promise in treatment of comorbid depression and pain in a recent study in JAMA. In a study of 248 people (median age 82.4), 11% experienced both dysphonia and hearing difficulties and also a higher incidence of depression. Watching a video showing people with dementia interacting with others including famly was found to influence end of life planning in elderly people.A study looking at the side-effects of acetylcholinesterase inhibitors has been published recently and the author recommends increased awareness to improve recognition of side effects. A study looking at parent and children’s eating habits using the healthy eating index, found that in general there was a small association between the two and that a number of other factors influenced children’s eating behaviour although there was demographic heterogeneity within these associations. Parental violence was associated with increased risk of depression and alcohol dependence in one study and although there are many possible confounders, the authors did control for a number of variables including social stressors. The authors of a meta-analysis of randomised-controlled trials of web-based or computer based software for smoking cessation found an approximate two-fold increase in smoking cessation compared to those that tried to stop smoking alone.

A study in nature provides evidence that the theta oscillations recorded from the hippocampus do not represent synchronous firing but instead a wave progressing through the hippocampus with the phases of the oscillations coding for spatial information also. Variations in the FOXP2 gene in mice have been associated with changes in the ultrasonic pitches generated by baby mice. The FOXP2 gene is thought to be involved in speech and language in humans. The action of BDNF in the ventral tegmental area has been causally associated with opiate dependence in one study published in Science.

A 3-year project referred to as Charm is looking more closely at how people’s decision making is influenced by knowing what other people are doing. There is recent evidence that the recession is impacting on research grants in the life sciences.

Responses

If you have any comments, you can leave them below or alternatively e-mail justinmarley17@yahoo.co.uk

Disclaimer

The comments made here represent the opinions of the author and do not represent the profession or any body/organisation. The comments made here are not meant as a source of medical advice and those seeking medical advice are advised to consult with their own doctor. The author is not responsible for the contents of any external sites that are linked to in this blog.

Podcast Review: Jung on Typology

The featured podcast is Betts on Jungian Analytic Psychology Episode #13 and freely available here. In this episode, Betts continues his discussion of typology and focuses on how to determine the superior function. He distinguishes the introvert and extrovert and notes that:

The introvert presents themselves to the world using their second best function

Betts likens the superior function to the captain steering the ship and the auxiliary function being the first mate. So if a person is an introvert, other people will not obtain a good sense of that person from their immediate interactions. It will take some time for them to become familiar with the person’s introspective processes. Betts also gives the listener a quick guide to the functions. There then follows an interesting discussion of how functions can be undifferentiated when as in the case of extraversion they may take on a more egocentric quality akin to the properties of the unconsciousness or manifesting in the anima/animus. What was also interesting was that when using the less well developed functions the person may experience ‘ambivalence’ or ‘ambitendency’ (which I also note in some circumstances can be examples of psychopathology). However it was when Betts was reading a quote from Jung that things got really interesting. Jung had created the typing, it appears, on the basis of some assumptions. So for instance, he demarcates thinking and feeling as being mutually exclusive. Of course, on further reflection, they are not necessarily exclusive and indeed may be very closely connected. Gary Kasparov, former world chess champion describes his experience of the relationship between thinking and feeling

Emotion is a critical element of decision-making, not a sin always to be avoided…..On some occasions this anxiety created negative emotions like doubt. More often it generated greater creative tension, greater supplies of nervous tension, which is a chess player’s lifeblood

So here then is an example of the importance of emotions in a game that is classically considered to be one of abstract reasoning. The concept of the inter-relationship of thinking or decision making and emotions was explored in detail in Damasio’s celebrated book ‘Descartes Error’ reviewed here. So the question here is ‘has Jung made a mistake in clearly demarcating thinking and feeling?’. Not necessarily – as these are preferences. However if people during the process of individuation focus on developing one specifically to the exclusion of the other, then they might possibly be working against their biology. The potential significance of this issue means that it should at least be considered as a starting point for further discussion.

As always Betts is able to bring Jung to a wider audience and thereby facilitates a wider debate and enrichment of culture and Jungian analytic theory.

Responses

If you have any comments, you can leave them below or alternatively e-mail justinmarley17@yahoo.co.uk

Disclaimer

The comments made here represent the opinions of the author and do not represent the profession or any body/organisation. The comments made here are not meant as a source of medical advice and those seeking medical advice are advised to consult with their own doctor. The author is not responsible for the contents of any external sites that are linked to in this blog.

Blog Review: Stu’s Views & MS News

The featured blog is ‘Stu’s Views & M.S. News‘ by Stuart Schlossman who was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1998 and has put considerable effort into sharing news about multiple sclerosis with others through his blog. The homepage contains a series of links to YouTube videos on different aspects of Multiple Sclerosis located at the very bottom of the screen. The right hand panel contains links to medical sites as well as the blog archive. The first post is listed as April 2, 2007 and tells the reader about a subscription news service that is available. In this post, Stuart tells us more about his aims – to empower other people with M.S through sharing of knowledge

A particular strength of this blog is the incredible rate at which it is updated and links are made to the latest news stories. Topics covered in the news updates range from how the blood-brain barrier affects illness severity, collagenase-2 as a therapeutic target for maintaining blood-brain barrier integrity, new delivery systems for baclofen, a nationwide program in Ireland for people with MS, parallels between a benign condition – Balo’s disease and MS, and a link to an article by the National MS Society listing clinical trials in 2009. There are links to M.S organisations such as MS News, links to websites on MS, the myelin repair foundation and  MS Blogger sites. There is also a series of diary-like posts ‘Merely Me‘.

There are frequent updates on therapeutic approaches that are being trialled including an AMPA-type glutamate receptor antagonist, a trial of Maestro-o3, FTY720, BHT-3009 a DNA vaccine, SF-1019, fluoxetine, naltrexone, frampridineteraflunomide, laquinimod, functional electrical stimulation, methylphenidate, PI2301, cladribine, pioglitazone and Symadex. Stuart also shares with us his own experiences in managing his illness and engages in dialogue with the readers for instance when he takes a brief hiatus from his medication. As the blog is written for people with M.S, there are a number of articles which inform the reader about the basics – what is myelin?, various hints and tips about injections, facial pain, vertigo, common questions about MS, assistive devices and types of MS. Along the way, Stuart includes humorous clips to entertain and complement the other posts.

This is an excellent blog by Stuart Schlossman which contains a vast amount of information on MS including links to organisations, basic information about MS as well as recent research developments.

Conflict of Interest

One of my articles was linked to in this blog.

Responses

If you have any comments, you can leave them below or alternatively e-mail justinmarley17@yahoo.co.uk

Disclaimer

The comments made here represent the opinions of the author and do not represent the profession or any body/organisation. The comments made here are not meant as a source of medical advice and those seeking medical advice are advised to consult with their own doctor. The author is not responsible for the contents of any external sites that are linked to in this blog.