Does Facebook Help To Overcome Loneliness? News Roundup January 2013 4th Edition (Updated)

Alzheimer’s Disease is a degenerative condition which affects the brain and leads to problems with memory and other areas of cognition. While medication, exercise and a number of other approaches can slow down progression of the illness other approaches are being investigated. One of these approaches is Deep Brain Stimulation which has already produced positive results in the treatment of Parkinson’s Disease. In this write-up there is a look at the use of Deep Brain Stimulation in Alzheimer’s Disease. The researchers are stimulating selective areas in the brain including the Fornix and the Frontal Lobes. At the time of writing however it is too early to say whether this approach will be successful.

The New York Time has a piece by Professor Elyn Saks who discusses his diagnosis of Schizophrenia and how he has developed a successful academic career. Professor Saks offers many insights into how illness can impact on functioning and his own personal experience of overcoming these difficulties.

Neuroscience

Scientific American has a good write-up of research which showed that people were able to eat less by remembering the experience of eating past meals. In the study subjects were given bowls of soup to eat. Those that thought they had eaten bigger portions than they had done were less hungry than those that thought they had eaten smaller portions regardless of the size of the portions.

Psychiatry 2.0

Does Facebook help with loneliness? That was the question asked in one study. The study looked at over 200 students at Arizona University in the USA. The researchers found that students that updated their Facebook status more frequently had lower scores on a measure of loneliness. Although frequent status updates might be associated with more feedback from others in their network, the researchers found evidence that this feedback was not necessary for lowering feelings of loneliness.

There is a useful resource called ‘The Open Brain‘ which allows people to share resources for developing models of the brain. There is also an ‘Open Source Brain’ Twitter account here.

Evolutionary Psychiatry

via @Keith_Laws there is an interesting study looking at language lateralisation in people with Schizophrenia. There is an evolutionary theory developed by Professor Tim Crow which states that language results from lateralisation in the brain and that this lateralisation process can be affected in Schizophrenia. The researchers in this study looked at previous investigations of lateralisation using dichotic listening tasks. These tasks involve the presentation of bilateral auditory stimuli. Subsequent testing can pick up subtle differences in the way the right or left auditory stimuli are processed if this difference is present. The researchers in this study found that subjects with Schizophrenia had a lower degree of language lateralisation compared to a control group. However the magnitude of this difference became much larger in the subgroup with auditory hallucinations.

Appendix

News Round-Up 2008-2011

News Round-Up 2012

Index: There are indices for the TAWOP site here and here 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.

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