Shaheen Lakhan

435 posts · 748,784 views

Brain Blogger covers topics from multidimensional biopsychosocial perspectives. It reviews the latest news and stories related to neuroscience, psychiatry, and neurology. It serves as a focal point for attracting new minds beyond the science of the mind-and-brain and into the biopsychosocial model.

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  • December 21, 2009
  • 11:35 AM

Sex, Violence and The Male Warrior Hypothesis

by Shaheen Lakhan in Brain Blogger

Throughout the history of human civilization, wars have a common feature of being practiced primarily by males. This group aggression by males is a persistent trait of human behavior, seen across different continents among civilizations that have developed independent of each other.
Also, experimental evidence suggests that compared to females, male behavior and psychology is more [...]... Read more »

  • December 18, 2009
  • 11:12 AM

Is Time on Your Side?

by Shaheen Lakhan in Brain Blogger

Physicians are under mounting pressure to increase efficiency in the provision of medical care. That is, see more patients in less time for less money. But, since speed and accuracy do not always go hand-in-hand, does this increased physician efficiency lead to quality medical care? A recent study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine [...]... Read more »

  • December 13, 2009
  • 05:05 PM

Weight in the Workplace

by Shaheen Lakhan in Brain Blogger

The statistics are everywhere: most of the adults in the United States are overweight or obese. These conditions are, of course, responsible for increased health care costs owing to chronic diseases such as diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and heart disease. The patient may pick up some of these excess expenses, but society incurs [...]... Read more »

Anderson, L., Quinn, T., Glanz, K., Ramirez, G., Kahwati, L., Johnson, D., Buchanan, L., Archer, W., Chattopadhyay, S., & Kalra, G. (2009) The Effectiveness of Worksite Nutrition and Physical Activity Interventions for Controlling Employee Overweight and ObesityA Systematic Review. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 37(4), 340-357. DOI: 10.1016/j.amepre.2009.07.003  

Han, E., Norton, E., & Stearns, S. (2009) Weight and wages: fat versus lean paychecks. Health Economics, 18(5), 535-548. DOI: 10.1002/hec.1386  

  • December 9, 2009
  • 10:41 PM

White Bears – The Paradox of Mental Suppression

by Shaheen Lakhan in Brain Blogger

Whatever you do, don’t think of a white bear. Go on, close your eyes, relax, but don’t think of a white bear… So, what happened? Most likely, you were overwhelmed by thoughts of a white bear. This mini-experiment highlights the fascinating paradox of thought suppression. That is, once we explicitly try not to think of [...]... Read more »

Wegner, D., Schneider, D., Carter, S., & White, T. (1987) Paradoxical effects of thought suppression. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 53(1), 5-13. DOI: 10.1037/0022-3514.53.1.5  

  • December 4, 2009
  • 05:33 PM

Is Your Doctor Happy or Burnt-Out?

by Shaheen Lakhan in Brain Blogger

Is your doctor happy? This is something that may have never crossed your mind: the idea that your personal physician may not be pleased with the current state of his or her life. Even if it has, perhaps you were of the opinion that it was not of minor importance if it did not affect [...]... Read more »

Ricci WM, Gallagher B, Brandt A, Schwappach J, Tucker M, & Leighton R. (2009) Is after-hours orthopaedic surgery associated with adverse outcomes? A prospective comparative study. The Journal of bone and joint surgery. American volume, 91(9), 2067-72. PMID: 19723981  

  • November 30, 2009
  • 10:19 AM

One Size Does Not Fit All

by Shaheen Lakhan in Brain Blogger

Up to half of drug therapy is ineffective, according to recent statistics. This leaves patients’ diseases untreated, but also places them at risk for side effects and drug interactions. The reason for the unpredictability in the effectiveness of medication comes from a variety of factors: individual differences in enzymes that metabolize drugs, variations in drug [...]... Read more »

Abrahams, E., Ginsburg, G., & Silver, M. (2005) The Personalized Medicine Coalition. American Journal of PharmacoGenomics, 5(6), 345-355. DOI: 10.2165/00129785-200505060-00002  

Dean, C. (2009) Personalized Medicine: Boon or Budget-Buster?. Annals of Pharmacotherapy, 43(5), 958-962. DOI: 10.1345/aph.1L563  

Leeder, J., & Spielberg, S. (2009) Personalized Medicine: Reality and Reality Checks. Annals of Pharmacotherapy, 43(5), 963-966. DOI: 10.1345/aph.1M065  

Rovin, B., McKinley, A., & Birmingham, D. (2009) Can We Personalize Treatment for Kidney Diseases?. Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology, 4(10), 1670-1676. DOI: 10.2215/CJN.04140609  

Campbell, D., & Levitt, P. (2008) Future of individualized psychiatric treatment. Pharmacogenomics, 9(5), 493-495. DOI: 10.2217/14622416.9.5.493  

  • November 27, 2009
  • 10:17 AM

The Secret to Good Health – Listen to the Data

by Shaheen Lakhan in Brain Blogger

A recent study proved what we all already know… that healthy living really does improve long-term health. A lot. The US-based study found that not smoking, maintaining a healthy weight (BMI <30), exercising regularly (3.5 hours/week) and eating a balanced diet (high in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, low in meat) reduced the risk of [...]... Read more »

  • November 23, 2009
  • 07:09 PM

Sugar and Spice and Everything Nice?

by Shaheen Lakhan in Brain Blogger

If we are what we eat, then we might expect children who eat a lot of candy to be sweet and lovable. Quite the opposite, according to recent research. Authors of a study published in a recent issue of the British Journal of Psychiatry claim that children who eat a lot of confectionery treats are [...]... Read more »

  • November 18, 2009
  • 08:47 AM

A New Look at Medical Errors in Residency Training

by Shaheen Lakhan in Brain Blogger

It’s a phenomenon that medical educators have long suspected but haven’t been able to prove: a rise in medical errors when newly-hatched physicians begin their residency training programs in July. This suspected occurrence has been studied several times, but until recently, no conclusive evidence existed that it actually was true. For the first time, a [...]... Read more »

  • November 14, 2009
  • 11:02 AM

Cancer – To Screen or Not to Screen?

by Shaheen Lakhan in Brain Blogger

I once treated a patient who was in her 90s. She was less than 5 feet tall and had never weighed more than 90 pounds. But, she was tough as nails and had lived a great life. I came to advocate for her when the internist at the skilled nursing facility in which she lived [...]... Read more »

Esserman, L., Shieh, Y., & Thompson, I. (2009) Rethinking Screening for Breast Cancer and Prostate Cancer. JAMA: The Journal of the American Medical Association, 302(15), 1685-1692. DOI: 10.1001/jama.2009.1498  

Greenwald P. (2007) A favorable view: progress in cancer prevention and screening. Recent results in cancer research. Fortschritte der Krebsforschung. Progres dans les recherches sur le cancer, 3-17. PMID: 17302181  

  • November 10, 2009
  • 11:58 PM

The Evolution of Depression

by Shaheen Lakhan in Brain Blogger

Millions of people around the world suffer from depression, the most common mental disorder of all. Since depression appears to be largely genetic, several long-standing questions continue to bedevil researchers. Have the genes for clinical unipolar depression undergone selective evolution–or is depression a random product of mutation, evolutionary drift, or other non-selective forces?
The symptoms of [...]... Read more »

  • November 6, 2009
  • 07:00 AM

A Small Sip from the Fountain of Youth

by Shaheen Lakhan in Brain Blogger

The search for eternal youth is as old as time itself. The theme of immortality winds its way through religion, mythology, poetry, fiction, and modern movies. Usually, stories of those who have achieved immortality expose the curse of eternal life, rather than the blessing of perpetual youth. While living forever may never be possible, life [...]... Read more »

Christensen, K., Doblhammer, G., Rau, R., & Vaupel, J. (2009) Ageing populations: the challenges ahead. The Lancet, 374(9696), 1196-1208. DOI: 10.1016/S0140-6736(09)61460-4  

Selman, C., Tullet, J., Wieser, D., Irvine, E., Lingard, S., Choudhury, A., Claret, M., Al-Qassab, H., Carmignac, D., Ramadani, F.... (2009) Ribosomal Protein S6 Kinase 1 Signaling Regulates Mammalian Life Span. Science, 326(5949), 140-144. DOI: 10.1126/science.1177221  

  • November 3, 2009
  • 07:00 AM

Why So Serious About The Self?

by Shaheen Lakhan in Brain Blogger

You have seen movies in which characters have acted violently. Many times, these characters also have a mental illness. Violence is one common stereotype of psychological disorders, along with rebellion and child-like behavior. In The Dark Knightand Me, Myself, and Irene, a character has multiple personality disorder, which is said to cause demonic or mean [...]... Read more »

  • October 31, 2009
  • 08:00 AM

Is Knowledge Power? Direct-to-Consumer Genetic Testing

by Shaheen Lakhan in Brain Blogger

The completion of the sequencing of the human genome in 2003 was an outstanding scientific accomplishment. This achievement, together with advances in technology and the forces of capitalism and competition, has brought genetic testing directly to the consumer. However, this Pandora’s box is proving difficult to manage for many people.
Direct-to-consumer (DTC) genetic tests are marketed [...]... Read more »

Farkas, D., & Holland, C. (2009) Direct-to-Consumer Genetic Testing: Two Sides of the Coin. Journal of Molecular Diagnostics, 11(4), 263-265. DOI: 10.2353/jmoldx.2009.090034  

  • October 25, 2009
  • 08:00 AM

Are Physicians Spending Too Much Time Diagnosing Patients?

by Shaheen Lakhan in Brain Blogger

Dizziness is responsible for nearly 3 million emergency room visits every year in the United States. In most of the cases, the dizziness is caused by a benign inner ear problem, or is the result of short-lived discomfort or distress, including anxiety, depression, or certain phobias. However, approximately 4% of patients that present to the [...]... Read more »

  • October 22, 2009
  • 08:00 AM

Possible Medical Application of a Smart Drug

by Shaheen Lakhan in Brain Blogger

Cognitive enhancers, also known as nootropics, are a category of drugs with the ability to increase mental performance. Many rave about such “smart drugs” helping them to study, take tests, or increase work performance. Ginkgo biloba, piracetam, and vinpocetine are some popular cognitive enhancers, all with varying mechanisms of action in the human brain. For [...]... Read more »

Hubel DH, Wiesel TN, & LeVay S. (1977) Plasticity of ocular dominance columns in monkey striate cortex. Philosophical transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological sciences, 278(961), 377-409. PMID: 19791  

Medina AE, Krahe TE, & Ramoa AS. (2006) Restoration of neuronal plasticity by a phosphodiesterase type 1 inhibitor in a model of fetal alcohol exposure. The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience, 26(3), 1057-60. PMID: 16421325  

Szatmari SZ, & Whitehouse PJ. (2003) Vinpocetine for cognitive impairment and dementia. Cochrane database of systematic reviews (Online). PMID: 12535455  

  • October 19, 2009
  • 08:00 AM

Two Wrongs Make a Right – Abnormal Brain Circuitry May Stop Abnormal Movement

by Shaheen Lakhan in Brain Blogger

A solution to an abnormal neurological movement problem can perhaps be abnormal as well. The irregular wiring of the brain may actually eliminate dystonia — repetitive movements and atypical postures. According to the Journal of Neuroscience, changes in brain pathways may actually counteract the genetic mutations for the movement disorder. This idea can explain why [...]... Read more »

Johnson MD, Miocinovic S, McIntyre CC, & Vitek JL. (2008) Mechanisms and targets of deep brain stimulation in movement disorders. Neurotherapeutics : the journal of the American Society for Experimental NeuroTherapeutics, 5(2), 294-308. PMID: 18394571  

  • October 13, 2009
  • 08:00 AM

Off-Label Use of Psychiatric Medications Common for Veterans

by Shaheen Lakhan in Brain Blogger

Men and women of the United States military are suffering from mental illnesses at an increasing rate. Among service members involved in the on-going conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, recent research found that nearly two-thirds displayed signs or symptoms of mental illness, including posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, or substance or alcohol abuse. Treating veterans [...]... Read more »

  • October 10, 2009
  • 10:07 AM

How Culture Shapes Our Mind and Brain

by Shaheen Lakhan in Brain Blogger

Most people would agree that culture can have a large effect on our daily lives — influencing what we may wear, say, or find humorous. But many people may be surprised to learn that culture may even effect how our brain responds to different stimuli. Indeed, until recently, most psychology and neuroscience researchers took for [...]... Read more »

  • October 6, 2009
  • 09:45 AM

New Report on the Use of Antidepressants During Pregnancy

by Shaheen Lakhan in Brain Blogger

Depression is a major health concern worldwide, and is the second leading cause of disability for people of reproductive age (15 to 44 years), according to the World Health Organization. Women experience depression two to three times more frequently than men. Depression can be devastating for these women in general, but it can lead to [...]... Read more »

Salisbury, A., Ponder, K., Padbury, J., & Lester, B. (2009) Fetal Effects of Psychoactive Drugs. Clinics in Perinatology, 36(3), 595-619. DOI: 10.1016/j.clp.2009.06.002  

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