Mind the Brain

Lessons we need to learn from a Lancet Psychiatry study of the association between exercise and mental health

The closer we look at a heavily promoted study of exercise and mental health, the more its flaws become obvious. There is little support for the most basic claims being made – despite the authors marshaling enormous attention to the study.

Creating illusions of wondrous effects of yoga and meditation on health: A skeptic exposes tricks

The tour of the sausage factory is starting, here’s your brochure telling you’ll see.   A recent review has received a lot of attention with it being used for claims that mind-body interventions have distinct molecular signatures that point to potentially dramatic health benefits for those who take up these practices. What Is the Molecular … Continue reading "Creating illusions of wondrous effects of yoga and meditation on health: A skeptic exposes tricks"

Power Poseur: The lure of lucrative pseudoscience and the crisis of untrustworthiness of psychology

This is the second of two segments of Mind the Brain aimed at redirecting the conversation concerning power posing to the importance of conflicts of interest in promoting and protecting its scientific status.  The market value of many lines of products offered to consumers depends on their claims of being “science-based”. Products from psychologists that … Continue reading "Power Poseur: The lure of lucrative pseudoscience and the crisis of untrustworthiness of psychology"

Jane Brody promoting the pseudoscience of Barbara Fredrickson in the New York Times

Journalists’ coverage of positive psychology and health is often shabby, even in prestigious outlets like The New York Times. Jane Brody’s latest installment of the benefits of being positive on health relied heavily on the work of Barbara Fredrickson that my colleagues and I have thoroughly debunked. All of us need to recognize that research … Continue reading "Jane Brody promoting the pseudoscience of Barbara Fredrickson in the New York Times"

Trusted source? The Conversation tells migraine sufferers that child abuse may be at the root of their problems

Patients and family members face a challenge obtaining credible, evidence-based information about health conditions from the web. Migraine sufferers have a particularly acute need because their condition is often inadequately self-managed without access to best available treatment approaches. Demoralized by the failure of past efforts to get relief, some sufferers may give up consulting professionals … Continue reading "Trusted source? The Conversation tells migraine sufferers that child abuse may be at the root of their problems"

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"

Study: Switching from antidepressants to mindfulness meditation increases relapse

A well-designed recent study found that patients with depression in remission who switch from maintenance antidepressants to mindfulness meditation without continuing medication had an increase in relapses. The study is better designed and more transparently reported than a recent British study, but will get none of the British study’s attention. The well-orchestrated promotion of mindfulness … Continue reading "Study: Switching from antidepressants to mindfulness meditation increases relapse"

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?"

Should have seen it coming: Once high-flying Psychological Science article lies in pieces on the ground

Life is too short for wasting time probing every instance of professional organizations promoting bad science when they have an established record of doing just that. There were lots of indicators that’s what we were dealing with in the Association for Psychological Science (APS) recent campaign for the now discredited and retracted ‘sadness prevents us … Continue reading "Should have seen it coming: Once high-flying Psychological Science article lies in pieces on the ground"

Promoting a positive psychology self-help book with a Wikipedia entry

This edition of Mind the Brain continues an odd and fascinating story of an aggressive promotion of a positive psychology self-help book. In this chapter, I tell how the promotion is being aided by the author’s son creating a laudatory Wikipedia entry.  The story can simply be appreciated as amusing. Or it can be used … Continue reading "Promoting a positive psychology self-help book with a Wikipedia entry"

Do positive fantasies prevent dieters from losing weight?

Want to WOOP yourself into amazing shape, and fulfill your wildest dreams? Then get a self-help book telling you how through the Association for Psychological Science or the British Psychological Society Division of Health Psychology…Well not really, save your money. In this issue of Mind the Brain, I discuss my tracking back into the scientific … Continue reading "Do positive fantasies prevent dieters from losing weight?"