Mind the Brain

Flawed meta-analysis reveals just how limited the evidence is mapping meditation into specific regions of the brain

The article put meaningless, but reassuring effect sizes into the literature where these numbers will be widely and uncritically cited.

Talking back to “Talking Therapy Can Literally Rewire the Brain”

This edition of Mind the Brain was prompted by an article in Huffington Post, Talking Therapy Can Literally Rewire the Brain. The title is lame on two counts: “literally” and any suggestion that psychotherapy does something distinctive to the brain, much less “rewiring” it. I gave the journalist the benefit of a doubt and assumed … Continue reading "Talking back to “Talking Therapy Can Literally Rewire the Brain”"

Remission of suicidal ideation by magnetic seizure therapy? Neuro-nonsense in JAMA: Psychiatry

A recent article in JAMA: Psychiatry: Sun Y, Farzan F, Mulsant BH, Rajji TK, Fitzgerald PB, Barr MS, Downar J, Wong W, Blumberger DM, Daskalakis ZJ. Indicators for remission of suicidal ideation following magnetic seizure therapy in patients with treatment-resistant depression. JAMA Psychiatry. 2016 Mar 16. Was accompanied by an editorial commentary: Camprodon JA, Pascual-Leone … Continue reading "Remission of suicidal ideation by magnetic seizure therapy? Neuro-nonsense in JAMA: Psychiatry"

Is risk of Alzheimer’s Disease reduced by taking a more positive attitude toward aging?

Unwarranted claims that “modifiable” negative beliefs cause Alzheimer’s disease lead to blaming persons who develop Alzheimer’s disease for not having been more positive. Lesson: A source’s impressive credentials are no substitute for independent critical appraisal of what sounds like junk science and is. More lessons on how to protect yourself from dodgy claims in press … Continue reading "Is risk of Alzheimer’s Disease reduced by taking a more positive attitude toward aging?"

Sex and the single amygdala: A tale almost saved by a peek at the data

So sexy! Was bringing up ‘risky sex’ merely a strategy to publish questionable and uninformative science? My continuing question: Can skeptics who are not specialists, but who are science-minded and have some basic skills, learn to quickly screen and detect questionable science in the journals and media coverage? “You don’t need a weatherman to know … Continue reading "Sex and the single amygdala: A tale almost saved by a peek at the data"

Neurobalm: the pseudo-neuroscience of couples therapy

Special thanks to Professor Keith Laws, blogger at LawsDystopiaBlog and especially the pseudonymous Neurocritic for their helpful comments. But any excesses or inaccuracies are entirely my own responsibility.   You may be more able to debunk bad neuroscience than you think. In my last blog post, I began critically examining whether emotionally focused couples therapy … Continue reading "Neurobalm: the pseudo-neuroscience of couples therapy"