Review of the NeuroLogica Blog

The NeuroLogica blog is written by Dr Steven Novella and has been running since January 2007 and offers a critical perspective on Neuroscience and Science more generally.

At the time of writing there are ten articles on the home page. The advantage of this is that the reader can quickly access several recent articles but it comes at the slight cost of an increased loading time for the page. There are a number of features that enable the reader to easily navigate the blog. On the right-side of the screen the blog can be navigated using category tags, recent posts, ‘pages’ (e.g About) as well as a chronological index. There are links to a number of other blogs and associated sites. The blog has also received a number of awards which can be viewed on the home page.

There is a subtle grey background behind the central pane which is white with a ‘blue neuron design’ title pane. The articles are titled, dated, comment and category enabled. For the purposes of this review i’ve sampled articles. The sampling method involved looking at a selection of the earliest articles and contrasting them with more recent articles.  I’ve also selected articles from the autism, evolution, general science, science and medicine and neuroscience categories. A small point is that the articles are shown initially in part and the reader must click on the ‘read more’ link to get to the full article. Although relatively little time is needed for this maneouvre, it did cost time for the larger number of articles in this review.

In this article on the Genetics of Autism, Novella reviews a paper from the Journal Neuron with an accessible style taking care to explain the nuances of the study for those with a general science background. The study in question produces a ‘neat’ finding in which a duplication in the gene region is associated with autism. Novella emphasises the decreased sociability in autism and contrasts this with the ‘increased’ sociability of Williams Syndrome which results from a deletion in the same region. However these results are I think oversimplifies as there is research which suggests that Williams Syndrome isn’t always associated with increased sociability. Given the complexity of social interactions, I suspect that the genetic basis of sociability will be mediated through a number of more fundamental phenomenon such as emotional regulation. However Novella notes in another article that he is particularly interested in the Autism-Vaccine debate and he covers this is a number of other posts (e.g here).

The articles on evolution I thought were fairly interesting. In ‘The Animal Connection‘ Novella discusses the relationship between humans and other animals for instance in the form of domestication.  The oldest multicellular life at 2.1 billion years old is a fascinating research finding that is covered in this post. In this post, Novella looks at Human Echolocation and I suspect there will be some interesting developments in this area. Here Novella looks at lesion studies elucidating visuo-spatial processing. In this post Novella critically examines the B-Vitamin – Dementia relationship in light of a paper suggesting reduced cerebral atrophy with vitamin B supplementation (which I have argued needed a large replication over a longer time period particularly as the effect size was relatively small).

I thought the Neurologica Blog has a broad remit covering science, medicine and neuroscience as well as a number of other subject areas. The sceptical approach used by Novella is quite compelling and has been successfully used in other blogs. This is an approach that generates a lot of reader interest and is reflected in the large number of comments that the articles receive.

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 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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