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.
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
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