Monthly Archives: June 2011

Review of Thomas Kuhn’s ‘The Structure of Scientific Revolutions’ – Chapter 8

In Chapter 8 of Thomas Kuhn’s ‘The Structure of Scientific Revolutions’ is titled ‘The Response to Crisis’. Whereas in Chapter 7, Kuhn focuses on how the crisis in science arises in this chapter he elaborates on how the scientific community responds to this crisis. He makes the interesting point that in criticising one theory the scientist must propose an alternative otherwise this is not the pursuit of science.  What is also interesting is that he suggests that when this competitive process ends, the branch of science becomes static and in the example he gives it becomes a ‘research tool’. Kuhn suggests that there are always discrepancies even in the most successful of paradigms. With a move towards crisis there are increasingly divergent explanations and there is a loss of identity within the field. Indeed Kuhn maintains that all crises involve a blurring of paradigms. The crises are closed in one of three ways. In the first case, the crisis is handled. In the second scenario there is a resistance to radical approaches. In the final scenario the crisis leads to the emergence of a new candidate for paradigm.

Kuhn then goes onto discuss commentators on the field who refer to Gestalt theory in which a visual perception is dependent on the whole rather than part of an object. So if the reader looks at the cube below, the lower square face can be interpreted either as sitting at the front of the cube or the back of the cube. In both cases the square takes on a different meaning within the whole object that is perceived. In the same manner Kuhn suggests that new paradigms lead to a different way of seeing a body of empirical facts. He is quick to point out however that this is a crude analogy and that scientists do not quickly switch back and forth between paradigms. Nevertheless it illustrates the essence of his arguments well.

 

Alan De Smet, ‘Multistability‘ (Public Domain)

 

Kuhn then goes on to say that the scientist having identifed the anamoly central to a crisis will go on to explore the anomaly and to better characterise it. In crisis, speculative theories multiply and increase the chance of a successful paradigm being reached. He also suggests that philosophical enquiry into assumptions can challenge some of the tenets of the current paradigm. Finally Kuhn finishes by commenting that many scientists leading to scientific revolutions are deeply immersed in crisis and they are either very young or new to the field in change which he interprets to mean that there thinking has not been shaped by the component rules of a paradigm. However Charles Darwin would be a notable exception having published ‘On the Origin of Species’ at a mature age and with a comprehensive knowledge of the related fields in biology. Nevertheless there are numerous counterexamples and the main result of this chapter is that Kuhn provides the reader with very effective tools for thinking about science in transition.

* One thought I had here was that in the very early stages of a science there must be a lot of theories that are initially developed but which are quickly shaped by the experimental facts. In this way many theories would exist before quickly falling to experimental findings in which case there would be a ‘survival of the fittest’ theories  which are tested against each other. This has a number of implications.

Firstly that a philosophical system might define this pre-science phase in which a large number of theories exist without being tested against the experimental facts. The brain’s analytical and other abilities are used as an alternative to hypothesis testing in the real world in order to generate ‘realistic’ solutions based on experience and intuition. As time proceeds and assuming the system has an efficient or effective ‘memory’ and scientific enquiry produces a growing body of empirical facts the competitive process in which proponents of different models challenge each other’s models and refine their own leads to ‘fitter’ models (using evolutionary terms). However these models are adapted to the empirical facts which in turn are a byproduct of the initial enquiries in this area.In this manner, mathematics might offer the best ‘starting conditions’ for this philosophical enquiry as these starting conditions give philosophical enquiry the least opportunity for diverging from reality using such an approach.

Secondly fitter theories might well diverge significantly from an explanation of reality depending on their starting conditions although there might be other phenomenon which curtail that line of enquiry as this divergence becomes more evident. What this would also mean is that the development of the most effective scientific theories is not only a measure of how effectively a theory fits with the empirical data but is also a marker of how effectively a theory keeps the focus on the empirical data in which the theory initially flourished as well as a measure of how effectively the theory recruits and retains proponents.

References

Thomas Kuhn. The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. Narrated by Dennis Holland. (Paperback originally published in 1962). Audible. 2009.

Appendix

For a review of the Introduction see here.

For a review of Chapter 1 see here.

For a review of Chapter 2 see here.

For a review of Chapter 3 see here.

For a review of Chapter 4 see here.

For a review of Chapter 5 see here.

For a review of Chapter 6 see here.

For a review of Chapter 7 see here.

An index of the site can be found here. The page contains links to all of the articles in the blog in chronological order. Twitter: You can follow ‘The Amazing World of Psychiatry’ Twitter by clicking on this link. Podcast: You can listen to this post on Odiogo by clicking on this link (there may be a small delay between publishing of the blog article and the availability of the podcast). It is available for a limited period. TAWOP Channel: You can follow the TAWOP Channel on YouTube by clicking on this link. 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.

Purpose in Life and Rheumatoid Arthritis

The paper reviewed here is a 2008 paper purpose in life in patients with rheumatoid arthritis by verduin and colleagues and freely available here. Purpose in life while intuitively obvious is slightly trickier to define explicitly relating to the much broader category of meaning in life. This is reflected in the introduction where the authors discuss the similar usage of purpose in life and meaning.  They also recognise that both terms relate to motivation, the moral self as well as the move towards achieving aims which transcend the self. In this cross sectional study, the researchers use two measures of purpose in life. These are the
1. The purpose in life test. This is based on the work of victor frankl the existential psychotherapist. This is a 20 item instrument using a 7 point likert scale. The questions focus for example on goals, aims, meaning and purpose. A high score on the test indicates a high sense of purpose.
2. The purpose in life susbscale of the psychological wellbeing scale.  There are 20 questions which look for instance at making plans for the future and consideration of whether daily activities are trivial.
The researchers wanted to investigate the role of purpose in life in rheumatoid arthritis. In the previous literature they have reviewed they argue that coping mechanisms have not been evaluated as an important confounder. The researchers have recruited 300 people with Rheumatoid arthritis randomly from the rheumatology outpatient department. This may suggest that the sample group had a more severe form of rheumatoid arthritis if they were not being managed solely in primary care. The rating scales had been translated into Dutch although it wasnt clear on whether the Dutch version had been validated.  The researchers used the Health Assessment Questionnaire, the RAND 36 questionnaire (a measure of quality of life) and visual analogue ratings of disease activity, pain and fatigue. They also used a measure of coping in life.

The researchers sent out questionnaires to all 300 participants and received 52 percent of them back. The average age of participants was 60 with an average disease duration of 10 years. Encouragingly there was a good correlation between the purpose in life questionnaire results (spearmanns r = 0.62 p less than 0.001). Table 3  in the paper shows the relationship between the two purpose in life scales amd a number of sociodemographic factors. Interestingly the purpose in life outcome measure is related to leisure or social activities suggesting a concrete example of behaviours that correlate with the scale construct. In table 4, rather disappointingly there is no significant relationship between the purpose in life scale results and the main physical outcome measures although there is a significant relationship with the RAND summary scale mental health outcome measures in the expected direction. This makes it difficult to interpret the findings of a relationship between purpose and reduced pain and fatigue as they might properly be considered part of the secondary analysis in which case a correction for muliple comparisons may be needed. This is also a cross-sectional study which precludes the establishment of causality.

In conclusion, in the primary analysis there isn’t a relationship between the Purpose in Life outcome measures and the main physical outcome measures although there is a relationship with the mental health outcome measures. The secondary analysis suggests that subjective pain anf functioning may be correlated with purpose in life measures but this occurs in the context of the negative result in the primary analysis. A large randomised longitudinal study would be helpful in investigating this further.

Appendix

Having a Purpose in Life and the Risk of Cognitive Decline

Having a Purpose in Life Reduces the Risk of Death

An index of the site can be found here. The page contains links to all of the articles in the blog in chronological order. Twitter: You can follow ‘The Amazing World of Psychiatry’ Twitter by clicking on this link. Podcast: You can listen to this post on Odiogo by clicking on this link (there may be a small delay between publishing of the blog article and the availability of the podcast). It is available for a limited period. TAWOP Channel: You can follow the TAWOP Channel on YouTube by clicking on this link. 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.

An Investigation of D3 Receptors and Brodmann Area 1 in Schizophrenia

The paper reviewed here is ‘Selective loss of dopamine D3-type receptor mRNA expression in parietal and motor cortices of patients with chronic schizophrenia’ by Claudia Schmauss and colleagues and freely available here. I’ve selected this paper as the the researchers have some interesting findings in  a part of the brain known as the Somatosensory Cortex and more specifically in Brodmann Area 1. The study focuses on the question of whether schizophrenia results from a variation in a chemical receptor in the brain known as the D3 receptor. Know this paper is from 1993 and the sceptical reader will suggest that it must be irrelevant to the current debate in this area. In some regards this is true but 17 years on and some of the very basic questions in this debate remain unanswered. The research was undertaken at a time when there were lots of studies coming out with conflicting results although many were finding no evidence of a relationship between the D3 receptor and Schizophrenia (e.g this study finding no homozygosity in the D3 gene in people with Schizophrenia). While seemingly esoteric the question is of great importance in the development of drugs targetting this receptor. For instance this study showing that D3 receptors are occupied by typical antipsychotic drugs in addition to D2 receptors. Indeed a lot of the research has focused on Amisulpride as this is a selective D2/D3 antagonist as in this study looking at the efficacy in terms of psychopathology. The partial agonist properties of Aripiprazole at the D3 receptor have been similarly investigated as in this 2008 paper. In a review in 2006, the authors note that there is evidence of an association between the D3 receptor and substance misuse, cognitive deficits and schizophrenia.

As research in this area has progressed the findings have become more complex. The D3 receptor seems to play a role in the development of Tardive Dyskinesia which is sometimes seen as a side-effect of antipsychotics or can occur even in those who are neuroleptically naieve. This study in 2003 for instance finds evidence of a relationship with the D3 receptor although due caution is advised in this meta-analysis from 2006. A Russian study complicates the discussion by showing a relationship between the D3 Ser9Gly allele and limb-truncal but not orofacial Tardive Dyskinesia. Studies looking at specific brain regions have been undertaken including this 2006 study showed an association between D3 binding in the frontal cortex and positive psychotic symptoms in 20 people with schizphrenia. A story develops as knowledge about alleles become available. For instance an excess of a specific allele -7685-C was found in a Basque study of people with schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder in 2005. The investigations have been extended to Alzheimer’s Disease with a relationship between the D3 receptor and psychotic symptoms evident in this 2004 paper  and this 2009 paper showing a relationship between striatal D2/D3 receptor availability and delusions in Alzheimer’s Disease. Returning to the main question though negative studies of ser9Gly polymorphism in Schizophrenia still persist as in this 2008 study. This 2010 Japanese paper combines a study with a meta-analysis and fails to find supporting evidence of a relationship between the D3 receptor and Schizophrenia. The researchers note that the previous studies have a small sample size.

Turning to the present study the authors undertook a post-mortem on a group of people who when they were alive had been diagnosed with schizophrenia and compared them to a control group and a group with Alzheimer’s Disease.  A diagnosis had been made retrospectively using the casenotes and the DSM-III criteria with the main subtypes being paranoid schizophrenia (n=8) and disorganised schizophrenia (n=4). The researchers selected Brodmann Areas 1-5 to study. The brains were dissected. The researchers obtained the RNA from the cells in the sections. They used a reverse transcriptase from a murine leukemia virus to engineer the complementary DNA sequences (cDNA) and then used a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) to amplify the cDNA before separating out the products using Southern Blotting. The researchers had identified both the mRNA sequence for the D3 receptor and a slightly different sequence. They questioned if this second sequence even acted as a G-Coupled receptor as it differed significantly at the Carboxyl Terminus. The main findings were that people with schizophrenia did not have mRNA sequences for the D3 receptors in several areas of the brain corresponding to the motor and somatosensory cortex when compared with the control group. The researchers comment on another group with affective disorder. They too were lacking in the D3 mRNA in the somatosensory cortex (although I think the researchers were slightly cheeky to include these results as it sounds as though the data is from another study which hadn’t yet been published). The group with Alzheimer’s Disease and the control group did have mRNA for the D3 receptors in the somatosensory and motor cortex. Perhaps the findings in both affective disorders and schizophrenia suggests that the medication they were taking over the course of the illnesses may have impacted on the mRNA expression. Alternatively it could of course represent a shared feature of the pathology independent of treatment. The findings in the group with Alzheimer’s Disease are interesting in light of the other studies described above and I note that the there is no reference to psychotic symptoms which would help to contextualise the results. Nevertheless these are interesting findings and as we can see from the above papers including the 2010 meta-analysis the debate about D3 receptors and Schizophrenia is still ongoing although the tool used to answer the questions have moved on.

 

Appendix – Brodmann Areas

Area 6 (Agranular Frontal Area 6)

FDG-PET, Frontal Dysfunction and Mild Cognitive Impairment

Areas 13 and 14 (Insular Cortex)

What does the Insular Cortex Do Again?

Insular Cortex Infarction in Acute Middle Cerebral Artery Territory Stroke

The Insular Cortex and Neuropsychiatric Disorders

Developing a Model of the Insular Cortex and Emotional Regulation Part 1

Developing a Model of the Insular Cortex: A Recap

The Relationship of Blood Pressure to Subcortical Lesions

Pathobiology of Visceral Pain

Interoception and the Insular Cortex

A Case of Neurogenic T-Wave Inversion

Video Presentations on a Model of the Insular Cortex

MR Visualisations of the Insula

The Subjective Experience of Pain*

How Do You Feel? Interoception: The Sense of the Physiological Condition of the Body

How Do You Feel – Now? The Anterior Insula and Human Awareness

Role of the Insular Cortex in the Modulation of Pain

The Insular Cortex and Frontotemporal Dementia

A Case of Infarct Connecting the Insular Cortex and the Heart

The Insular Cortex: Part of the Brain that Connects Smell and Taste?

Stuttered Swallowing and the Insular Cortex

Area 15 (Anterior Temporal Lobe – Controversial Area in Humans)

Review: The Anterior Temporal Lobes and Semantic Memory

Area 27 (Piriform Cortex)

Anosmia in Lewy Body Dementia

Area 28  (Entorhinal Cortex)

MRI Measures of Temporoparietal Atrophy During Prodromal Alzheimer Disease*

Areas 45, 46, 47 (Inferior Frontal Gyrus)

Which Bit of the Brain Detects the Emotions in Speech?

Medial Temporal Lobe

The Medial Temporal Lobe and Recognition Memory

Hippocampus

Review: Differences in Hippocampal Metabolism Between Amnestic and Non-Amnestic MCI Subjects

Anatomy of the Hippocampus

Review: Involvement of BDNF in Age-Dependent Alterations in the Hippocampus

Miscellaneous Subcortical Structures

Book Review: Subcortical Vascular Dementia

Review: Subcortical Vascular Ischaemic Dementia

Review: Psychiatric Disturbances in CADASIL

Review: Cognitive Decline in CADASIL

Review: Relationship Between 24-hour Blood Pressure, Subcortical Ischemic Lesions and Cognitive Impairment

Hypocretin and Neurological Disorders

A Case of Pontine and Extrapontine Myelinolysis with Catatonia

Generic Articles Relating to Localisation

A History of Human Brain Mapping

Book Review: Brain Architecture

Brain Folding and the Size of the Human Cerebral Cortex

An index of the site can be found here. The page contains links to all of the articles in the blog in chronological order. Twitter: You can follow ‘The Amazing World of Psychiatry’ Twitter by clicking on this link. Podcast: You can listen to this post on Odiogo by clicking on this link (there may be a small delay between publishing of the blog article and the availability of the podcast). It is available for a limited period. TAWOP Channel: You can follow the TAWOP Channel on YouTube by clicking on this link. 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.

News Roundup: June 2011 3rd Edition

 

 

The Royal College of Psychiatrists has released a report on substance misuse in older adults. The college report CR 165 is located here and there is an interview with one of the authors of the report Professor Ilana Crome here (reviewed here). The report is detailed and it is difficult to do this justice in a brief summary and so the reader is directed to the link above. However several principles arise from the report. The authors recommend that older adults are screened for substance misuse in primary care using standardised screening tools, that the recommended upper limit for older adults should be reduced (they recommend 11 units a week), that older adults with substance misuse have many unmet needs and benefit from treatment, that binge drinking limits for older adults should be reduced (they recommend 4.5 units as a limit for men and 3 units for women) and that local policies should be developed to facilitate effective management. The authors also have a number of recommendations about training and research including further evaluation of the therapeutic intervention in older adults with substance misuse. There are seven recommendations and components of future strategic direction including an emphasis on multi-agency partnership. There are detailed outlines of therapeutic interventions in the Appendices. What is also interesting is that there are discussion of exemplary service models. One that I found very interesting was the North Southwark team in which it was noted that ‘up to 50% of admission of older people involved a dual diagnosis’ and they go on to note the importance of alcohol misuse in these presentations. In 2002 5% of patients were identified with alcohol misuse and the psychiatrist undertook an MSc in Public Health Medicine. A few years on and with a multidisciplinary community programme to address alcohol misuse the admissions were reduced to 5%.

The report has generated considerable debate in the media (see links below). Indeed spending a little time looking through the comments on two of the sites below, many of the commentators are critical of the report. A number of themes recur in the posts including perceived interference in the lives of older adults, the actions of a perceived ‘nanny state’, anecdotal cases of alcohol consumption in those that reach an advanced age and the association with enjoyment of life. The comments thus provide an ‘audit trail’ for the debate that is happening in society (although there may be a bias in selection in terms of both readerships and those who have commented rather than just read) and this would form a very useful basis for a qualitative analysis. What was striking to me in reading the comments was that the issues that were frequently discussed by the commentators were slightly different to the main emphasis in the report. For instance the report produces important guidance for psychiatrists to help give them the best advice for the patients that they can provide. Such guidance assumes that the patient has a sense of agency – that is that they have a choice on whether to act on the advice rather than being compelled to do so. However many of the comments give an impression of a compulsion and it is curious to see where this is coming from. Another point which arises is the understanding of probability or statistical inference. The report cites a large amount of research undertaken in this area which produces statistical results enabling advice to be given in the form of a balance of probabilities. However in many comments there are references to anecdotal reports of alcohol use in those reaching an advanced age – with the implication of the comment being that in those cases the advice was not valid. This though misses the point about the nature of the findings which provide a balance of probabilities. In other words it is more likely than not. Thus in isolated cases there may be counterexamples but as more outcomes are examined the trend will be towards the results seen in the studies i.e it might work for one person but not for 10. This theme about statistics however is common and it would be interesting to see if in this case it relates to a genuine misunderstanding of statistics or an implied risk/benefit calculation that is not explicitly discussed.

NHS Choices gives the lowdown on the report here.

Silver Surfer article here.

Independent article here.

ITN article here.

Sky News article here.

Daily Mail article here and here (271 comments at the time of writing).

Telegraph article here.

BBC article here and here. (567 comments at the time of writing)

Metro article here.

Yorkshire Evening Post article here.

Netdoctor article here.

Mail on Sunday article here.

International Business Times article here.

AFP press release here.

Herald Scotland article here.

Irish Independent article here.

NW Evening Mail article here.

Visit Bulgaria article here.

Ghana Business News article here.

Modern Ghana article here.

French Tribune article here.

De Havilland article here.

South Wales Angus article here.

Barchester Healthcare article here.

The Periscope Post article here.

Bournemouth Echo article here.

Best Medical Cover article here.

Leicester Mercury article here.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus article here.

Top News United States article here.

4RFV article here.

Express article here.

Netdoctor article here.

Best Medical Cover article here.

Just Drinks article here.

Candis article here.

On Medica article here.

Mediplacements article here.

 

The new version of the World Health Organisation Classification of Disease (ICD-11) is displayed in draft version here. This is a work in progress with daily updates and it will allow people to comment from July 2011 onwards.  I checked out the Mental and Behavioural Disorders section and there was just a little information there (relating to indexes for mortality) at the moment.

At the Alzheimer’s Forum there is a detailed discussion of a new meta-analysis on the relationship between hypertension and Alzheimer’s Disease. The study actually shows that hypertension is associated with a slight lowering in blood pressure which is the opposite of what you might expect if hypertension contributed to Alzheimer’s Disease. There are certainly studies which support a relationship between cerebrovascular disease and Alzheimer’s Disease and since hypertension raises the risk of cerebrovascular disease the results of this study do seem a little surprising to me. However the authors of the article note that there is a higher risk of Alzheimer’s Disease in people with hypertension in middle age and there is also the possibility that Alzheimer’s Disease itself may predispose to changes in blood pressure which might confound the results. They conclude that more research is needed in this area and in particular researchers need to focus on tightening up the inclusion criterion for their studies.

There has been a recent study looking at response to social stress. The study was modestly sized (32 participants) and the researchers used fMRI to analyse brain activity in response to social stressors. They found that people in urban areas responded differently to those in rural areas. Participants in urban areas were more likely to activate the Amygdala and those in rural areas were more likely to activate the Cingulate Cortex in response to the social stressors presented in the study paradigm. The results are discussed in the context of other researhc which shows a higher prevalence of Schizophrenia in urban areas and the suggestion from this study at least is that growing up in an urban area may lead to a difference in the way the brain responds to stressful situations. However it must be said that this a small study and this hypothesis needs rigorous testing.

The BMJ has an article coauthored by Professor Barnes on whether antidepressants improve negative symptoms in Schizophrenia. The authors conclude that the evidence is equivocal and they offer some practical tips on how to deal with the conclusions from the literature.

A large study (n=13000) confirmed that anticholinergic drugs are associated with cognitive impairment. This relationship was already well established but this was a large longitudinal study (n=13003). The researchers used the Anticholinergic Cognitive Burden Scale (ACBS) to investigate the relationship. For medications with a definite anticholinergic relationship there was a small deterioration in the MMSE over the 2 year follow up (by slightly less than a point) compared to the control group. The study is well covered in an article at NHS Choices.

There are articles on PTSD and  the Japanese Tsunami here and here.  The articles look at the provision of psychotherapists for PTSD and the anticipation that were will be a large increase in demand as a result of the tragic events that occurred recently.

Index: An index of the site can be found here. The page contains links to all of the articles in the blog in chronological order. Twitter: You can follow ‘The Amazing World of Psychiatry’ Twitter by clicking on this link. Podcast: You can listen to this post on Odiogo by clicking on this link (there may be a small delay between publishing of the blog article and the availability of the podcast). It is available for a limited period. TAWOP Channel: You can follow the TAWOP Channel on YouTube by clicking on this link. 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.

Interview on Invisible Addicts

The Royal College of Psychiatrists features a brief interview with Professor Ilana Crome here on substance misuse in older adults. The interview accompanies the release of the Royal College of Psychiatrists report on substance misuse ‘Our Invisible Adults’ in older adults here. Professor Crome highlights some of the important research findings – that 20% of men and 10% of women over the age of 65 are drinking above safe limits for adults, that 5% of people over the age of 45 used illicit drugs within the previous year and that 12% of people over the age of 60 are smoking and she contextualises this within the perspective of future demographic changes. Professor Crome discusses some of the different standards used across studies and details the broad remit of substances which includes prescribed and over the counter medication as well as tobacco, alcohol and illicit substances. Professor Crome advocates the routine screening of older adults for substance misuse problems, that due consideration should be given to considering that substance misuse might be contributing to the presenting problem and encourages older people to utilise the expertise of  physicians, primary care teams and mental health teams in addressing substance misuse problems. This is an important area and the report provides useful information and guidance on this subject.

Index: An index of the site can be found here. The page contains links to all of the articles in the blog in chronological order. Twitter: You can follow ‘The Amazing World of Psychiatry’ Twitter by clicking on this link. Podcast: You can listen to this post on Odiogo by clicking on this link (there may be a small delay between publishing of the blog article and the availability of the podcast). It is available for a limited period. TAWOP Channel: You can follow the TAWOP Channel on YouTube by clicking on this link. 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.

Blogs Reviewed To Date

Here is a list of the blogs reviewed to date by subject area .

Psychiatry

Ars Psychiatrica. Psychiatrist Dr Neil Scheurich looks at the intersection between the arts and psychiatry. There are lots of interesting articles (blog link here).

Buckeye Psychiatry LLC. Blog by psychiatrist Dr Adam Brandemihl covers a variety of topics including tips on lifestyle and news updates (Blog link here).

Biological Therapies in Psychiatry. Dr Alan Gelenberg writes about biological therapies in psychiatry (Blog link here).

Carlat Psychiatry Blog. Blog by psychiatrist Dr Dan Carlat examining the relationship between pharmaceutical companies and medical education (blog link here).

CorePsych Blog. Psychiatrist Dr Charles Parker focuses on the science of psychiatry with interesting insights into inestigations and management (blog link here).

Corpus Callosum. Blog by Psychiatrist who writes on a variety of topics with interesting posts on medication  (Blog link here).

Dr Dymphna’s Diliberations. Blog by psychiatrist Dr Elizabeth Courdes with a focus on pscyhotherapy and pharmacotherapy (Blog link here).

Dr Shock. Blog by Assistant Professor of Psychiatry Dr Walter Van Der Broek covering a variety of psychiatry related topics including the intersection of psychiatry and the internet and developments in psychiatric treatment. (Blog link here).

In Practice Blog. Blog by Dr Peter Kramer with a focus on depression. (Blog link here).

Dr Jeff and Dr Tanya’s Blog. Psychiatrists Dr Jeffrey Speller and Dr Tanya Korkosz write about psychiatry and also provide useful information on common conditions and treatments (Blog link here).

Mark’s Psychiatry. Blog by psychiatrists Dr Tracey Marks on a variety of psychiatry related topics (Blog link here).

Minds on Film. Blog by psychiatrist Dr Almeida on the intersection between psychiatry and film (Blog link here).

Movies and Mental Illness. Blog by a team of a psychiatrist, psychologist and nurse examining mental illness in the movies in preparation for a book on the subject (Blog link here).

Practice What I Preach. A child psychiatrist becomes a mother and describes her experiences (Blog link here).

Princeton Psychiatry Blog. Blog about psychiatry by Dr Yitzhak Shnaps (Blog link here).

PsychBabel. Blog on psychiatry by Dr S Cho (Blog link here).

Psychiatry Fun Blog. Blog where the author advocates a more relaxed approach to writing about psychiatry (Blog link here).

Psychiatry in the Mainstream. Blog by Dr Lawrence Choy on psychiatry in popular culture (Blog link here).

Shrink Rap Blog. Engaging psychiatry blog by three psychiatrists with lots of interesting articles (Blog link here).

The Psychiatrist Blog. Blog by Dr Michelle Tempest looking at the intersection between psychiatry and politics (Blog link here).

The Sports Psychiatrist. Blog by Dr Zaakir Yoonas about the intersection between sports and psychiatry (Blog link here)

 

 

Psychotherapy

Beck Institute Blog. Blog about CBT from the Beck Institute (Blog link here).

EMDR International Association Blog. Blog about EMDR with frequent updates (Blog link here).

Jung Currents. Blog about Jung by psychologist Sparky (Blog link here).

Jung at Heart. Blog by psychotherapist on Jungian psychoanalysis. Cheryl Fuller (Blog link here).

Modern Psychoanalysis. Blog about psychoanalysis although last article is dated 2008 (Blog link here).

Sara Roizen. Fine art muralist. A creative blog by artist Sara Roizen who is training to become an art therapist (Blog link here).

Spread the Word. Blog about EMDR (Blog link here).

 

Psychology

Advances in the History of Psychology.   (Blog link here).

Clinical Psychology and Pscyhiatry. A closer look. Blog providing a critique of psychiatry and psychology research (Blog link here).

CogSci Librarian Review. This is a blog by a librarian with an interest in cognitive neuroscience. Lots of useful insights into the resources librarians offer as well as cognitive neuroscience links (Blog link here).

Dr Deb. A psychology blog with articles covering many different areas and which are accessible for a general audience (Blog link here).

Exploring Psychology. Blog by psychologist David Webb exploring psychology (Blog link here).

F.A.B.L.E – Fictional Aut0biography of Life Experience. Blog about the intersection of literature, neurobiology and psychology by Cole Bitting (Blog link here).

Mind Hacks. Popular long-running blog looking at psychology and neuroscience issues (Blog link here).

Positive Psychology News Daily. Blog about positive psychology news (Blog link here).

PsychCentral. Heavyweight longstanding psychology blog by Dr John Grohal who also runs a forum at his website (Blog link here).

Psychotherapy Brown Bag Blog. Blog with insightful analysis of psychological research by Michael and Joye Anstis (Blog link here).

We’re Only Human. Blog by Wray Herbert on psychological research appearing in the journal ‘Psychological Science’ (Blog link here).

Anthropology

Linguistic Anthropology. Interesting blog about linguistic anthropology relevant to a wide variety of subjects including human evolution (Blog link here).

Somatosphere. Science, medicine and Anthropology. Looking at medicine and science from an anthropological perspective (Blog link here).

Blogs about Life with an Illness

Aethelread the Unread. Insightful blog by Aethelread who has recurrent depression and writes engagingly about a number of issues (Blog link here).

A Survivor’s Guide to Huntington’s Disease. Blog by Angela F who has been diagnosed with Huntington’s Disease and whose mother also has Huntington’s Disease (Blog link here).

Bipolar Mo. Blog by a nurse with Bipolar Illness who is also a musician writing about aspects of his life (Blog link here).

Lawyers with Depression. Blog by lawyer Daniel Lukasic about his experience of depression and related subjects (Blog link here).

Blogs about Older Adults

GeriPal: Geriatrics and Palliative Care Blog. Blog about older adult medical topics (Blog link here).

Geriatric Pharmacotherapy Blog. Blog about medication treatment in older adults (Blog link here).

Global Ageing Network Blog. Blog about ageing with an international slant (Blog link here).

The Good Old Age Blog. Blog about healthy aging (Blog link here).

The Intentional Aging Collective. Blog about ageing (Blog link here).

The New Old Age Blog. Blog about ageing in the New York Times (Blog link here).

The 70 Something Blog. Account of life as a septagenerian (Blog link here).

Dementia

Alzheimer’s Disease Blog. Blog about Alzheimer’s Disease (Blog link here).

The Tangled Neuron. Blog by a lady, who’s father with dementia passed away, learning about and discussing dementia (Blog link here).

Evolution

Evolutionary Psychiatry. Blog by Dr Emily Deans about Evolutionary Psychiatry (Blog link here).

John Hawks Weblog. Blog by Professor John Hawks, anthropologist who specialises in population genetics of human evolution (Blog link here).

Laboratory for Evolutionary Endocrinology. Blog about evolutionary aspects of endocrinology (Blog link here).

Origins – A History of Beginnings. Blog featuring discussion of and essays about Charles Darwin (Blog link  here).

Why Evolution is True. Blog by Dr Jerry Coynes and colleagues looking at evolution (Blog link here).

Genetics

The Genetic Genealogist. Blog by a geneticist covering genealogy and related topics in genetics  (Blog link here).

Medical Ethics

Medical Ethics Blog. Interesting blog about medical ethics issues by Canadian Journalist Stuart Laidlaw (Blog link here).

Informatics

Allan’s Library. Blog about informatics (Blog link here).

Bio Data Blog. Blogging about research software (Blog link here).

Health Informatics blog. Blog on health informatics by Dr Chris Paton (Blog link here).

Mobile Healthcare Blog. Blog about mobile healthcare technology (Blog link here).

New Media Medicine Blog. Blog with useful links to health informatics resources (Blog link here).

Open Medicine. Blog about health informatics (Blog link here).

Open MRS. Blog about the development of an open health database (Blog link here).

Science in the Open. Blog about open science Cameron Neylon (Blog link here).

Significant Science. Blog by Hope Leman about the open science movement (Blog link here).

The O’Really Blog. Blog by Duncan Hull on bioinformatics written in an accessible style (Blog link here).

Wolfram Alpha Blog. Blog about Wolfram Alpha search engine (Blog link here).

Miscellaneous

Beaker – A Medical Research Blog. A blog relating to medical research at the Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute (Blog link here)

Brains on Purpose. Blog with a focus on conflict resolution and related areas in neuroscience (Blog link here).

Dream Journal. Blog about submitted dream content with analysis (Blog link here).

Seth Godin’s Blog. Blog by popular author about many subjects (Blog link here).

Singularity Hub. Blog with a focus on emerging health technologies (Blog link here).

Stu’s News and Views. Frequent news and information updates about Multiple Sclerosis (Blog link here).

Neurology

Brain Disease’s Weblog. Blog by Assistant Professor of Neurology Dr Nitin Sethi looks at the neurological literature (Blog link here).

Neurology Minutiae Blog. Blog featuring details of neurological cases and insights  (Blog link here).

Neuropathology

Neuropathology Blog. Interesting blog on neuropathology by Dr Brian Moore (Blog link here).

Neuroradiology

AJNR. Blog of the American Journal of Neuroradiology (Blog link here).

Neuroscience

All in the Mind. Blog by science journalist Natasha Mitchell who also features in the radio show of the same name (Blog link here).

Brain Posts. Dr Bill Yates writes about clinical neuroscience (Blog link here).

Brain Stimulant. Blog looking at many interesting neuroscience articles including neural prosthetics and computational neuroscience (Blog link here).

Citation Needed. Blog by neuroscientist Tal Yarkoni (Blog link here).

Dharmendra S Modha’s Cognitive Computing Blog. Blog looking at IBM’s Blue Brain project and other developments in cognitive computing (Blog link here).

The Frontal Cortex Blog. Blog by Jonas Lehrer about a variety of neuroscience subjects (Blog link here).

The Mouse Trap. Blog by polymath Sandeep Gautam on neuroscience topics as well as interesting theories that he is developing (Blog link here).

Neurocritic. Nice blog with critiques of neuroimaging studies and insights into neuroscience (Blog link here).

Neuroskeptic. A neuroscientist who takes a ‘sceptical look at his own field’ (Blog link here).

Nou Stuff. Blog by neuroscientist Maria Page covering lots of interesting research in neuroscience (Blog link here).

On The Brain. Blog by neuroscientist Professor Michael Merzenich who focuses in particular on neural plasticity (Blog link here).

Small Gray Matters. Insights into fMRI by a neuroscientist (Blog link here).

Nursing

Mental Nurse. Enjoyable blog by a group of mental health nurses with a range of perspectives on mental health issues.

Occupational Therapy

ABC Therapeutics Weblog. Fascinating and at times poignant blog about occupational therapy with heavyweight analysis (Blog link here).

Palaeontology

Palaeoblog. Interesting blog by Dr Michael Ryan covering a wide array of material relevant to palaeontology (Blog link here).

Pharmacology

Furious Seasons. Blog by journalist Philip Dawdy who has Bipolar Illness and writes about a number of issues relating to psychiatry and pharma (Blog link here).

Pharma Blog. Blog looking at pharmaceutical news giving a broad overview of developments in the field (Blog link here).

Pharmacology Corner. Blog by Dr Flavio Guzman about pharmacology (Blog link here).

Primatology

Differential Biology Reader. Blog by genetics and psychology student Mark Adams comparing humans and other primates (Blog link here).

Primatology.net Blog. Interesting blog about primatology (Blog link here).

Sociology

Everyday Sociology. A blog on sociology by a group of sociologists giving insights into contemporary events (Blog link here).

The New Social Worker’s Blog. Insights into social work by a social worker student (Blog link here).

Statistics

Social Science Statistics Blog.  Engaging articles on social science statistics of particular relevance to those involved in social science research  (Blog link here).

 

 

Index: An index of the site can be found here. The page contains links to all of the articles in the blog in chronological order. Twitter: You can follow ‘The Amazing World of Psychiatry’ Twitter by clicking on this link. Podcast: You can listen to this post on Odiogo by clicking on this link (there may be a small delay between publishing of the blog article and the availability of the podcast). It is available for a limited period. TAWOP Channel: You can follow the TAWOP Channel on YouTube by clicking on this link. 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.

Book Review: The Structure of Scientific Revolutions – Chapter 7

The 7th Chapter In Kuhn’s ‘The Structure of Scientific Revolutions’  is titled ‘Crisis and the Emergence of Scientific Theories’, in which Kuhn elaborates on the conditions which he suggests lead to scientific revolutions. He identifies several historically important scientific theories and examines the circumstances surrounding their acceptance in detail. Kuhn’s poses the question of how new theories are accepted in the place of older more well established theories. He gives the example of Newtonian mechanics and the occurrence of early advocates against an absolute model of space in favour of a relativistic model. However what is interesting is that these criticisms were apparent only for a short while before disappearing from the scientific debate. Kuhn argues that this occurred because there was no ‘crisis’ in science. In other words, the ‘normal science’ which he discussed previously was not producing consistent anomalies which would cause the scientists to question the validity of the underlying theory. As a result, there was no impetus to take this debate further until the late nineteenth century when this became relevant to the contemporary debate in physics. Kuhn uses physics to generalise to science whilst making no mention in this chapter of those branches directly relevant to the neurosciences. Nevertheless it’s interesting to note that in the neurosciences several theories do coexist which are currently relevant and which offer different perspectives on the same set of phenomenon. Kuhn’s arguments hold relevance to a winner-takes-all approach to theory building or else the neurosciences have been in a persistent state of ‘crisis’ according to his arguments. This though doesn’t seem consistent with the many practical benefits that these different theories have produced and so maybe the neurosciences represent a branch of science which merit their  own philosophy of science.

References

Thomas Kuhn. The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. Narrated by Dennis Holland. (Paperback originally published in 1962). Audible. 2009.

Appendix

For a review of the Introduction see here.

For a review of Chapter 1 see here.

For a review of Chapter 2 see here.

For a review of Chapter 3 see here.

For a review of Chapter 4 see here.

For a review of Chapter 5 see here.

For a review of Chapter 6 see here.

Index: An index of the site can be found here. The page contains links to all of the articles in the blog in chronological order. Twitter: You can follow ‘The Amazing World of Psychiatry’ Twitter by clicking on this link. Podcast: You can listen to this post on Odiogo by clicking on this link (there may be a small delay between publishing of the blog article and the availability of the podcast). It is available for a limited period. TAWOP Channel: You can follow the TAWOP Channel on YouTube by clicking on this link. 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.