Characteristics of Hallucinated Voices in Deaf People

What do hallucinated voices sound like… to deaf people? This post on Mind Hacks was just the right combination of funky weird, and insightful, here’s the blurb:

Mind Hacks: More on hallucinated “voices” in deaf people – “Voices were reported to be nonauditory, clear, and easy to understand. Participants were certain that they did not hear any sound when voices were present. They did not consider questions about pitch, volume, and loudness relevant to their experiences. [...] All participants had experienced seeing an image of the voice signing or lips moving in their mind. Imagery of fingerspelling was also seen but was less common. These images appeared to be subvisual in nature and distinct from true visual hallucinations. They were clearly understood as originating internally and several participants stated that the image could still be perceived with their eyes closed.”

Heavy Metal Correlates of Mental Disorders

Blood Lead Levels and Major Depressive Disorder, Panic Disorder, and Generalized Anxiety Disorder – It appears lead may cause, or greatly increase the risk of developing depression and/or panic disorder: “Persons with blood lead levels in the highest quintile had 2.3 times the odds of major depressive disorder (95% confidence interval [CI], 1.13-4.75) and 4.9 times the odds of panic disorder (1.32-18.48) as those in the lowest quintile. Cigarette smoking was associated with higher blood lead levels and outcome, but models that excluded current smokers also resulted in significantly increased odds of major depression (P = .03 for trend) and panic disorder (P = .01 for trend) with higher blood lead quintiles.”

Hmmm. Filtered water for the win?  I have read elsewhere that certain water sources have higher levels of led than is truly safe. Though, I must admit, I’ve not personally taken the plunge to getting any fancy-smancy new-fangled water filtration. It’s on the to-do list. I know the simple brita filters aren’t *enough* in some respects.

Alzheimer’s and cancer: an inverse correlation

Alzheimer’s disease may protect against cancer and vice versa – “People who have Alzheimer’s disease may be less likely to develop cancer, and people who have cancer may be less likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease, according to a new study published in the December 23, 2009, online issue of Neurology®, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology. [...] For people who had Alzheimer’s disease at the start of the study, the risk of future cancer hospitalization was reduced by 69 percent compared to those who did not have Alzheimer’s disease when the study started. For Caucasian people who had cancer when the study started, their risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease was reduced by 43 percent compared to people who did not have cancer at the start of the study, although that finding was not evident in minority groups.” The study involved ~3,000 participants.

Given the sample size, something like this I find both unusual, and surprising.

Tylenol eases social anxiety too? Paint me surprised.

This just in, from the turbo-weird category:

Could acetaminophen (tylenol) ease social pain? – “[They] investigated this connection through two experiments. In the first experiment, 62 volunteers took [1 gram] daily of either acetaminophen or a placebo. Each evening, participants reported how much they experienced social pain using a ‘Hurt Feelings Scale’ — a measurement widely accepted by psychologists as a valid measure of social pain. Hurt feelings and social pain decreased over time in those taking acetaminophen, while no change was observed in the placebo group. [...] In the second experiment, 25 healthy volunteers took [2 grams] daily of either [tylenol] or a placebo. After three weeks of taking the pills, subjects participated in a computer game rigged to create feelings of social rejection. fMRI [brain scans] employed during the game revealed that acetaminophen reduced neural responses to social rejection in brain regions associated with the distress of social pain and the affective component of physical pain (the dorsal anterior cingulate cortex and anterior insula).”

Alcohol substitute that avoids hangovers in the works

Alcohol substitute that avoids drunkenness and hangovers in development – Telegraph – “An alcohol substitute that mimics its pleasant buzz without leading to drunkenness and hangovers is being developed by scientists. The new substance could have the added bonus of being “switched off” instantaneously with a pill, to allow drinkers to drive home or return to work. The synthetic alcohol, being developed from chemicals related to Valium, works like alcohol on nerves in the brain that provide a feeling of wellbeing and relaxation.”

Sounds all well and good, but, as a rule I’m skeptical of pharmaceuticals. I can just imagine something like this becoming the norm, and then ten years down the road we find out it causes some yet-unheard-of form of bodily damage. (Vioxx, anyone?)

Is Psychology Animal Research Offensive?

Would the idea that the disciplining techniques your parents used on you, or you may have used on your own children was first developed on animals such as rats bother you? Why, or why not? It just so happens that techniques like the timeout in fact were based on animal studies.

Psychologists who work with children and families tend to avoid mentioning to parents that the treatments they use are often based on research done on animals. It’s no secret that the widely used technique of the timeout was developed in studies on rats or that important early research leading to treatments for anxiety in humans was done on dogs, cats, and other species—but the subject doesn’t come up a lot in conversation. [...] Talking about the underpinnings of psychology in animal research tends to make parents uneasy, even upset [..] because of what they think it implies about their children. “You’re saying my kid’s like a rat? You’re saying my kid’s not complex and unique? What about this picture he drew of Spider-Man sobbing in a rainstorm?”
From: Animal research and your child’s behavior. (Slate)

I would argue that operant conditioning existed prior to the defining of operant conditioning, nonetheless I think the heart of the issue that the Slate article is addressing is the fact that people like to view themselves as above, and beyond the animal world, and our minds beyond the simple chemical reactions happening between neurons. I can’t blame anyone for that, even if I don’t agree.