Psychiatrist Is President-Elect of the American Medical Association. News Roundup June 2012 3rd Edition

Researchers Jafari et al report on recent Olanzapine-like compounds in a BMC Pharmacology paper. The compounds have reduced H1 receptor affinity suggesting they may be associated with less weight gain. However they will now need rigorous clinical testing to see if these properties translate into clinical benefit.

There is an interesting paper on the Truman show delusion paper by Gold and Gold which is Open-Access (and has been covered also by Vaughan Bell at MindHacks). The Truman show delusion is based on the film the Truman Show featuring Jim Carrey (see also this post which looks at cultural trends which may be relevant to the generation of such delusions). The general theme of the delusion is that a person believes that they are in a fabricated world with people around them purposefully deceiving them by playing roles that fit with this fabricated world. In other words the people around them are working together to instill and perpetuate a false reality for that person. Gold and Gold describe several cases including a journalist who believed his colleagues were manipulating news stories for his benefit. Interestingly rather than a Delusional Misidentification Syndrome, the authors argue that the cases are consistent with grandiose and paranoid delusions*.

Dr Jeremy Lazarus has been elected President-elect of the American Medical Association and is the first Psychiatrist to be elected to this role in 73 years!

1500 adults between (21-80 years old) were assessed on a memory task which involved remembering whether items presented on a computer screen had been shown previously. In their sample population, the researchers showed that the memory decreased by 0.6% per year regardless of the decade of their life.

There is a special edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science which looks at evolution and the brain (Permalink for one article here)

Via @MariaPage  – researchers recently found that moderate levels of ambient background noise were associated with an improved performance on a task that required subjects to generate novel solutions to a problem involving commonly available objects. In other words, when the subjects were trying to think ‘creatively’ they did better when they were in a moderately noisy environment e.g a cafeteria. There is a qualifier for this interpretation however. The test was very specific and it may not be possible to generalise to other activities which involve generating ideas in specialised domains. Additionally it is useful to be cautious in the understanding of the term ‘creative’ as this can be used to describe many heterogenous cognitive processes.

Researchers have found that people are able to recognise smiling faces more quickly if the teeth are bared during the smile**.

There’s an interesting New York Times post (via @DrShock) on the subject of teaching doctors empathy.

One study has shown evidence of the ability of Black Bears to count when using a specially adapted computer to test this function. * There is also an interesting discussion to be had here in distinguishing between referential and paranoid delusions depending on the perceived intent of the ‘actors’ in these cases.

** Interesting in terms of this post


2008-2011 News Round-Up

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 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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