Today in “well, duh”

A new study looked at how people make financial decisions, and found that people tended to reject offers that their guts told them were unfair, even if they stood to benefit from them. “‘Humans are highly attuned to unfairness and we are sometimes required to weigh up the demands of maintaining justice with preserving ourContinue reading “Today in “well, duh””

The world of pain

Two articles on pain came into my inbox last week, both of which point to the intricacies of the body-mind connection. Live Science reports that chronic pain may be due in part to the brain creating and maintaining inaccurate maps of the body. Sort of awesome highlights: Researchers have known for some time that theContinue reading “The world of pain”

How love, trust and empathy can be contagious

This week, David Kanigan turned me on to an article in the Wall Street Journal called ‘The Trust Molecule,’ exploring Paul J. Zak’s research on oxytocin. For those of you who haven’t heard of oxytocin, it’s sometimes called the “cuddle chemical,” and it is released in our brains while having sex, giving birth, breastfeeding, andContinue reading “How love, trust and empathy can be contagious”

“First, go for a swim”: When the mind-body connection doesn’t go far enough

A column in the Guardian late last week put words to something I’ve been considering for some time: if we are integrated creatures, can we go on thinking of our bodies as something separate from ourselves? Oliver Burkeman succinctly unpacks the problem of how modern humans tend to regard their own senses of self: manyContinue reading ““First, go for a swim”: When the mind-body connection doesn’t go far enough”

Toward a new theory of depression

Yesterdays’ New York Times Magazine contains a long article by Siddhartha Mukherjee detailing the history of the serotonin theory of depression, and a newly emerging theory about neuron generation. The whole thing is very much worth the read, and opens a number of fascinating questions and possibilities about what it is that causes what writerContinue reading “Toward a new theory of depression”

Hack Yourself

Sorting through some old emails yesterday, I found a link that a friend sent to me long ago, that I probably wasn’t ready for around then. Yesterday I clicked that link and, to my delight, it was still there. Or rather, its author – horror and fantasy writer Michael Montoure – had pulled it fromContinue reading “Hack Yourself”

Smiling has even more power than I thought

I found this TED talk about smile research on Santita Farella’s blog; thanks for the heads-up! I thought I knew a lot about smile research after reading Malcolm Gladwell’s fabulous book Blink, but this video offers much more. Most of us know that when you smile, it actually makes you feel happier – not justContinue reading “Smiling has even more power than I thought”

Treating the whole person – autism, science and skepticism

Yesterday, I stumbled across this wonderful article in WBUR’s Common Health blog, with a book excerpt by Dr. Martha Herbert, who has been studying autism for 15 years or so. In it, she describes how some kids with autism have managed to be essentially cured of it, and how others have been helped to aContinue reading “Treating the whole person – autism, science and skepticism”