Elderly residents in a care home are being given Nintendo Wiis to help keep them physically and mentally active.
They hope it will especially help those with dementia.
On BBC NEWS
I am a great fan of Sigmund Freud and psychoanalysis. Weird for a clinician with interest in neuroscience? No, Freud was probably the first biological psychiatrist. Freud started out as an anatomist in 1887. He started studying single nerve cells. It was only later, after he began treating mentally ill patients that Freud got interested in the unconscious mental processes. As the Nazi influence increased in Austria he fled to London. He arrived in England in June 1938 and was shown the beautiful house on the outskirts of London that he was to live in. On seeing the tranquility and civility that his forced emigration had brought him to, he was moved to whisper with typical Viennese irony: “Heil Hitler”.
The New England Journal has a review on the book: The Death of Sigmund Freud: The Legacy of His Last Days by Mark Edmundson. 276 pp. New York, Bloomsbury, 2007. $25.95. ISBN 978-1-58234-537-6.
You are warned, may be not on my list
Edmundson, a professor of literature at the University of Virginia, interacts with Freud on a literary level in a sort of prolonged literary reflection on Freud’s later work. His presentation of Freud’s thought is laced with comparisons to the thought of a host of literary lights: William Blake, Sylvia Plath, Charles Dickens, Mark Twain, John Milton, Salman Rushdie, Saul Bellow, and others. Despite the historical appearance of the book, though, Edmundson decontextualizes and idealizes Freud. He takes Freud out of his medical context almost entirely, minimizing the reality that although psychoanalysis has become something of a fixture in Western culture, its status as a scientific theory is in decline. The book contains a fairly lengthy bibliography and 234 brief endnotes, but it skims across the surface of relevant scholarship on Freud, plucking out what strikes the author’s fancy and ignoring the rest. Edmundson writes about Freud’s views of America without referring to the two volumes on Freud and Freudianism in the United States by Nathan G. Hale, Jr., and he ignores Frank Sulloway’s influential biography, Freud, Biologist of the Mind: Beyond the Psychoanalytic Legend (first published in 1979).
Edmundson’s Freud is a postreligion thinker who can serve as a guide for life in the current world situation and whose concepts have a practical use and a political application. Although Freud’s ideas about religion are central to this book, Edmundson accepts these ideas uncritically and does not engage the thoughts of many other writers on Freud’s religion who have taken different and more historically nuanced approaches. Edmundson writes as though major works on Freud’s view of God by Hans Küng, William W. Meissner, Gregory Zilboorg, and others did not exist.
At about page 150, this book becomes a lengthy critique of fundamentalism and “patriarchal religion,” both of which Edmundson associates with fascism. He apparently believes that psychoanalysis offers a way forward for humanity, explaining that, “To Freud, the self-aware person is continually in the process of deconstructing various god replacements. . . . He feels, on balance, more than fortunate to be alive. Such people can be quite formidable when they’re pushed to the wall. (Fundamentalists and fascists should be warned.)” In truth, to offer up a postmodern literary interpretation of Freud’s sociological and anthropologic works as a solution to the political ills of the world is naive.
Psychoanalytic “enlightenment” comes with extensive psychotherapy and reflection, and it is a luxury that few can afford even in the West. Although this book is postmodern in outlook, it takes a rather old-fashioned Whig approach to history that portrays Freud as a man ahead of his time whose thought can be isolated from historical context and universalized. For those who have more than a passing acquaintance with Freud, there is little new in this book and much to take issue with.
Related post on this blog:
15 Common Defense Mechanisms
Read the book. Liked it a lot. It is not about how to use PowerPoint. It doesn’t provide step by step instructions to make slides. It is more of an approach, a road, a direction, a frame of mind, a philosophy.
The book is divided in three sections: Preparation, Design, and Delivery. I liked the design part the best.
Preparation is about ditching “dead by PowerPoint”, “bullet points driven slides”. From his point of view he explains clearly why bullet points and the hampered use of graphics can only confuse the audience. The emphasize is on beautiful designed slides with pictures or graphics that illustrates the point your making in your presentation.
During preparations he encourages you not to start with the computer and PowerPoint but he explains “analog techniques” to develop your presentations by using sticky notes, whiteboards, and post-its. Especially useful for academics is the use of hand out instead of cluttered slides with to much information.
Yes I hear you think, can academics use this approach? Yes they can. Even data can be presented in a more fashionable way. More understandable. Slide design can make the difference in understanding more clearly what point your trying to make. Here is an example:
The Design section is filled with examples of slides and tips on how to design slides. Not in a step by step approach but by explaining basic design principles such as Signal vs Noise Ratio, Picture Superiority Effect, Empty Space, Contrast, Repetition, Alignment, and Proximity.
This section has a lot of examples.
You can see presentations based on this approach on slideshare.net:
Lecture by Jeff Brenamn, CEO Apollo Ideas, with a medical topic, excellent example
Lecture by Chris Landry Director of Food Development & Communications
Lecture by G Kawasaki, Co-founder of Truemors
The last section is about actually giving the presentation.
As mentioned before I liked the book, it is a new approach to doing presentations, more visual, more focus. I read this book after I had read Beyond Bullet Points (BBP). This book is more of a step by step approach. It explains how you build a presentation on a storyboard. These two books complement each other because in Beyond Bullet Points emphasize is also placed on visuals and design next to the build up of the story. BBP has examples on how to use the approach also for academic presentations.
I read the first and second edition of BBP. Both depend a lot on Microsoft Office especially PowerPoint. The second edition focuses on Office 2007 which is not very compatible with older versions of Office and is not widely present on computers in the Academia.
I tried BBP twice giving lectures to students and colleagues. I liked it. It is not faster it takes more time to prepare the lecture and the slides but the results are very satisfactory. If you are in to something new read BBP first and than PresentationZen, enjoy.
Also an example of the recent presentation of Steve Jobs: 6 Presentation tips from a Steve Jobs keynote, according to the book a amster in the art of presentationzen. With a comprehensive video of the keynote presentation (60 sec).
More presentations tips:
Creating Impressive PowerPoint presentations
PowerPoint Presentations: Tips To Avoid Last Minute Surprises
5 ways to screw up your talk from GTD in Academia
AMERICA lags behind other wealthy countries in the overall performance of its medical system. A new study by researchers at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine looks at data from 19 countries for deaths of under 75-year-olds that should have been avoided with proper health care. Preventable deaths declined by 16% on average in these countries between 1997 and 2003. Big improvements were recorded in countries that started with both low levels of avoidable deaths (like France) and those with higher levels (like Britain). But America, where health-care spending per head is highest, is at the bottom of the table.
From The Economist.com
Paroxetine warnings by the FDA in June 2003 resulted in a significant absolute decline in paroxetine use by adolescents but not in the use of other antidepressants by young people. The FDA black box warning for paroxetine in October 2004 resulted in a nonsignificant decline in antidepressant treatment of adolescents, including a significant deceleration in the rate of treatment with SSRIs other than paroxetine.
This outcome of a recent study published in the Archives of General Psychiatry of January 2008 neutralizes the concern expressed mostly by drug company supported publications about putting depressed youth at risk due to excessive decline in antidepressant prescribing.
These results are consistent with other studies in Ireland and Canada who also found little change in SSRI prescriptions to youth between during the last years.
In the United States, the first indication of a possible increased risk of suicidal thoughts and behaviors associated with antidepressant treatment occurred on June 19, 2003, when the FDA announced that it was reviewing “a possible increased rate” of suicidal behavior in youth treated with paroxetine hydrochloride.
The FDA recommended that paroxetine not be used in children and adolescents for the treatment of major depressive disorder. Additional warnings from the FDA and other international drug regulatory agencies followed over the next several months. On October 15, 2004, the FDA issued a boxed warning or so-called black box warning that all antidepressants pose significant risks of suicidality in children and adolescents and that children and adults treated with antidepressants should be watched closely for increased suicidal thinking or behavior.
This warning received extensive media attention and academic interest. It is the strongest action that the FDA can take short of withdrawing drug approval.
The rate of new use by youth of paroxetine declined significantly after the paroxetine warning of 2003 and was nearly constant after the black box warning.
In adults (18-64) the use of all antidepressants was constant after the paroxetine warning but the use of paroxetine declined and the use of other antidepressants significantly increased, there were also reports of adults using finasteride, though not an antidepressant, it was still a combination of the 2 drugs that could cause adverse effects.
For adults 65 years and older overall antidepressant use significantly increased.
Changes in the pattern of antidepressant use varies little by patient sex.
Different events such as media coverage and warnings in other countries such as the UK might also have influenced prescriptions not covered by this study.
The effect of warnings on different disorders could not be assessed.
The effect of warnings by the FDA on other treatments such as psychotherapy was not assessed in this study.
The specialty of the prescribing physician was not available for about 20% of the patients.
The analyses are limited to members of 1 pharmacy benefit manager. Data were extracted from the Medco data warehouse. Medco is one of the largest pharmacy benefit management services in the United States.
Related posts on this blog:
SSRI prescription drop associated with suicide increase in children
7 Posts about adolescents and depression
Effects of Food and Drug Administration Warnings on Antidepressant Use in a National Sample
Mark Olfson, MD, MPH; Steven C. Marcus, PhD; Benjamin G. Druss, MD, MPH
Arch Gen Psychiatry. 2008;65(1):94-101.
Journalist unhesitatingly use electroshock to draw attention to old news. Informationliberation.com has an old story about China clinic gives ‘web addicts’ shock treatment.
Besides it being old news e.g. compared to these articles back in 2005 on: usa today and BBC NEWS, although the best is from Washingtonpost.com february 2007. They all report about the same clinic:The Internet Addiction Treatment Center in Daxing County. Moreover, in Western studies no consensus exists as to whether Internet addiction really exists.
About electroshock, my expert opinion of the scene from the video presented with the article of therawstory.com and information from techdirt.com it is not about ECT but something probably comparable to transcranial direct current stimulation.
The so-called Internet addiction is in many cases not an ailment, but just a symptom of some deeper problem, some of them may even need a long term drug rehab because of their other addictions. Descriptions of the deeper problems can be read on techdirt.com and on The Herald Tribune.
It mostly comes down to:
“The main cause of Internet addiction is that parents’ expectations for their children are too high,” said Xu.
With education perceived by many parents as the only means of advancement in an ultracompetitive society of 1.3 billion people, some lock their children up to study and ask teachers to assign extra homework. The pressure can be too much for some children, Xu said, especially if they fail.
“Then they escape to the virtual world to seek achievements, importance and satisfaction, or a sense of belonging.”
Another explanation for Internet addiction could be a creative manner of censorship by the Chinese government. Internet is a relatively new phenomena in China, a side effect of its booming economy and technological advances, but how to control this development and how to fit it in with its communist government?
Delegates at the National People’s Congress, China’s annual session of Parliament, have proposed stricter criminal punishments for Internet café operators who admit minors, and have flagged restrictions on violent games.
The Internet Addiction Treatment Center in Daxing County uses a blend of therapy and military drills to treat the children with “Internet addiction”. It is a government-funded center, run by an army colonel under the Beijing Military Hospital. It is one of a handful of clinics treating patients with Internet addictions in China.
Patients, overwhelmingly male and aged 14 to 19, wake up in dormitories at 6:15 a.m. to do morning calisthenics and march on the cracked concrete grounds wearing khaki fatigues. Drill sergeants bark orders at them when they are not attending group and individual counseling sessions. Therapy includes patients simulating war games with laser guns.
The center’s tough-love approach to breaking Internet addiction is unique to China, but necessary in a country with over two million teenage Internet addicts, according to the facility’s staff.
This is how this firm deals with non commercial use of their images:
This image of the hippocampus is a copyrighted image of Morphonix LLC. We charge licensing fees for use of our images. Please remove it from your website.
How can we remember things facts even whole scenes. The most important part of the brain for memory is the hippocampus. This hippocampus exists of neurons or brain cells. These brain cells communicate with their neighbors by sending a chemical burst from the tips of these spines, across a space called the synapse to the tip of a spine on the next cell. If the chemical bath is strong enough, the receiving spine bulges forward — strengthening the connection between the spines. This is thought to be the fundamental process underlying learning.
In a recent article in Scientific American: Signaling Neurons Make Neighbor Cells “Want In”, a recent discovery about memory is explained.
A new discovery about the function of neurons could help scientists understand how the brain assembles information during learning and memory formation.
Scientists have found that when electrical impulses are passed from one neuron to another, they not only strengthen the synapse (connection) between them, but they also give a boost to neighboring synapses, priming them to learn more quickly and easily.
In The New York Times:Brain Cells, Doing Their Job With Some Neighborly Help, it is explained how the researchers can watch a synaps in action.
The ability to watch a synapse in action is itself a scientific accomplishment. The average human brain has about 100 billion neurons, and about 1,000 times that many synapses. To zero in on a single one, the researchers used mice that were genetically engineered so their brains produced a fluorescent protein that glowed only in specific cells of the hippocampus. Peering through a high-powered microscope at a slice of this tissue, the researchers could zero in on a single synapse.
In another article in Scientific American:Sleep, Attention, and Memory it is explained why sleep is so important for memory and the hippocampus.
For years scientists have known that sleep is necessary to focus attention on a task, whether you’re trying to learn something or not. Specifically, sleep deprivation leads to reduced activation of attentional networks in the frontal and parietal lobes across a range of cognitive tasks. In addition, executive function tasks, thought to be mediated by prefrontal cortex, show greater deficits after a night of sleep deprivation than do other cognitive tasks, such as perceptual and memory tests.
They showed that if you are sleep-deprived there is significantly less activity in the hippocampus.
Moreover if you are well rested there is a stronger coupling between the hippocampi and other structures normally associated with episodic memory processing, including other areas in the medial temporal lobe. If your not well rested the hippocampus will need a tighter coupling with basic alertness networks in the brainstem and thalamus. In order to remember things the not well rested sleepy subjects required activation of the hippocampus together with basic arousal circuits.
Not well rested subject need to crank up their arousal circuits along with their hippocampi. They seem to do so at the expense of other circuits that are normally involved in encoding new memories.