Shaheen Lakhan

435 posts · 752,366 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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  • October 1, 2009
  • 01:16 PM

Post-Partum Psychosis – Rare but Real

by Shaheen Lakhan in Brain Blogger

The existence of post-partum psychosis and post-partum depression has been hotly contested publicly. Tom Cruise’s denouncement of Brooke Shields’ diagnosis of post-partum depression is perhaps the most visible example of the controversy among laypeople, but in the medical literature the reality of both post-partum depression and post-partum psychosis is much more well-established.
The so-called “baby blues” [...]... Read more »

Seyfried, L., & Marcus, S. (2003) Postpartum mood disorders. International Review of Psychiatry, 15(3), 231-242. DOI: 10.1080/0954026031000136857  

Tam, W., & Chung, T. (2007) Psychosomatic disorders in pregnancy. Current Opinion in Obstetrics and Gynecology, 19(2), 126. DOI: 10.1097/GCO.0b013e3280825614  

  • September 28, 2009
  • 08:00 AM

Postoperative Cognitive Dysfunction

by Shaheen Lakhan in Brain Blogger

In the mid 1950s, Dr. Bedford reported on a number of older adults who exhibited cognitive problems (memory or planning or being able to sustain attention) following surgery where anesthesia was used. This effect is now called postoperative cognitive dysfunction (or decline; POCD). POCD typically lasts for a few months to a year with a [...]... Read more »

  • September 25, 2009
  • 09:38 AM

Religion – A “Natural” Phenomenon?

by Shaheen Lakhan in Brain Blogger

All human societies have some phenomenon that can be described as religion. It is difficult to understand why religion is so pervasive in human culture. Some theories suggest that religion is a byproduct of evolution. However, no other animal group has anything that even remotely resembles the concept that has been labeled as religion in [...]... Read more »

Kapogiannis, D., Barbey, A., Su, M., Zamboni, G., Krueger, F., & Grafman, J. (2009) Cognitive and neural foundations of religious belief. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 106(12), 4876-4881. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0811717106  

  • September 22, 2009
  • 08:00 AM

Hearing Voices – Underpinnings of Auditory Hallucinations

by Shaheen Lakhan in Brain Blogger

In “The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind,” Julian Jaynes suggested back in 1976 that schizophrenia — like spirit possession and imaginary playmates — was a vestige of our brain’s bicameral heritage. Jaynes believed that in man’s early history, the left and right hemispheres of the brain did not “talk” to [...]... Read more »

AGUILAR, E., SANJUAN, J., GARCIAMARTI, G., LULL, J., & ROBLES, M. (2008) MR and genetics in schizophrenia: Focus on auditory hallucinations. European Journal of Radiology, 67(3), 434-439. DOI: 10.1016/j.ejrad.2008.02.046  

  • September 19, 2009
  • 08:00 AM

The Neural Basis of the Self

by Shaheen Lakhan in Brain Blogger

Perhaps the most personal and most quintessentially human aspect of our existence is the experience of our ‘self.’ What contemporary philosopher Daniel Dennett has described as the unitary narration of our experience, the ‘author’ of our life. Artists, writers, philosophers and psychologists dedicate much of their attention to describing and discerning the kernels of the [...]... Read more »

  • September 16, 2009
  • 08:00 AM

Effect of Early Life Stress on Behavior and Cognition

by Shaheen Lakhan in Brain Blogger

The human brain undergoes rapid development from late gestation to early childhood. The brain structures that are developing or undergoing age-related changes are more vulnerable to the effects of stress. Trauma at different time points in an individual’s life might be associated with different outcomes, depending on the brain structure that was affected at the [...]... Read more »

McGowan, P., Sasaki, A., D'Alessio, A., Dymov, S., Labonté, B., Szyf, M., Turecki, G., & Meaney, M. (2009) Epigenetic regulation of the glucocorticoid receptor in human brain associates with childhood abuse. Nature Neuroscience, 12(3), 342-348. DOI: 10.1038/nn.2270  

Charmandari, E., Kino, T., Souvatzoglou, E., & Chrousos, G. (2003) Pediatric Stress: Hormonal Mediators and Human Development. Hormone Research, 59(4), 161-179. DOI: 10.1159/000069325  

  • September 13, 2009
  • 08:00 AM

Logging On for Psychotherapy

by Shaheen Lakhan in Brain Blogger

The explosion of the Internet allows people to use their computer for things that previously needed to be done in person. Now, communicating with friends and family, networking with business contacts, shopping, banking, and a host of other activities, can be done from almost anywhere in the world. While the convenience of these Internet activities [...]... Read more »

  • September 10, 2009
  • 08:00 AM

Laughter’s the Best Remedy

by Shaheen Lakhan in Brain Blogger

Groucho Marx once said, “A clown is like an aspirin, only he works twice as fast.” Indeed, research suggests that humor can minimize our perceptions of physical pain. Various theoretical explanations have been offered to explain the analgesic effects of humor, and humor’s potential role in pain therapy appears promising.
Studies exploring the role of humor [...]... Read more »

Mobbs D, Greicius MD, Abdel-Azim E, Menon V, & Reiss AL. (2003) Humor modulates the mesolimbic reward centers. Neuron, 40(5), 1041-8. PMID: 14659102  

  • September 7, 2009
  • 08:00 AM

New Antipsychotic Agent in the US Market

by Shaheen Lakhan in Brain Blogger

More than 50 years ago, the first antipsychotic medications appeared in the United States. While these drugs -– fluphenazine, haloperidol, chlorpromazine, and others — were effective in treating a variety of psychiatric conditions, their safety and tolerability presented many drawbacks. It was not until the 1990s when a new class of antipsychotic medications emerged that [...]... Read more »

Peritogiannis, V., Stefanou, E., Lixouriotis, C., Gkogkos, C., & Rizos, D. (2009) Atypical antipsychotics in the treatment of delirium. Psychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences. DOI: 10.1111/j.1440-1819.2009.02002.x  

  • September 4, 2009
  • 08:00 AM

Will Healthcare Workers Refuse the Swine Flu Vaccine?

by Shaheen Lakhan in Brain Blogger

The first doses of vaccine for the Influenza A H1N1 virus (“swine flu”) should be available in October of 2009. Due to an initial limited supply, the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that healthcare workers should be first in line to receive the vaccine. Immunizing healthcare workers against the H1N1 virus not only provides personal [...]... Read more »

  • August 26, 2009
  • 08:00 AM

How Young is Too Young to Diagnose Depression?

by Shaheen Lakhan in Brain Blogger

Any parent can attest that the “Terrible 2’s” are a moody, temperamental time in the life of a toddler. Many kids are irritable and seem to throw temper tantrums for no reason, and some engage in more destructive behaviors like biting, hitting, and kicking themselves or others. Unfortunately, for some children, this phase lasts well [...]... Read more »

  • August 23, 2009
  • 08:00 AM

Swine Flu – A Lose-Lose Situation for Public Health Authorities

by Shaheen Lakhan in Brain Blogger

After the great Sars terror of 2002 which was predicted to cause more devastation than AIDS, and the bird flu panic of 2006 when we were warned that a quarter of Britons might die, we now have the great swine flu crisis of 2009. But just as Sars and bird flu failed to deliver on [...]... Read more »

Editorial. (2009) Between a virus and a hard place. Nature, 459(7243), 9-9. DOI: 10.1038/459009a  

  • August 17, 2009
  • 08:00 AM

Health Insurance for All – A Weighty Issue

by Shaheen Lakhan in Brain Blogger

The prospect of universal health coverage for all Americans is weighing heavily on lawmakers right now. But, if the current proposals pass Congress, Americans may be looking at an even “weightier” problem. New economic research suggests that having health insurance actually makes people fat, and that, in turn, increases health care spending.
A working paper recently [...]... Read more »

  • August 14, 2009
  • 09:00 AM

The Reality of the Brain-Computer Interface

by Shaheen Lakhan in Brain Blogger

Imagine having the ability to turn on the television and change the channel without using a remote control or typing emails using just the power of your thoughts. Even behind the media hype, brain-computer interface technology may someday restore communication and mobility in persons with disabling diseases.... Read more »

Velliste M, Perel S, Spalding MC, Whitford AS, & Schwartz AB. (2998) Cortical control of a prosthetic arm for self-feeding. Nature, 453(7198), 1098-1101. DOI: 10.1038/nature06996  

  • August 12, 2009
  • 09:00 AM

In Sickness and Mental Health

by Shaheen Lakhan in Brain Blogger

Most couples promise to love each other in sickness and in health when reciting marriage vows. Now, simply saying those words may lead to better health. Numerous studies have extolled the benefits of marriage on overall morbidity and mortality, but a recent study reports that mental health may, in fact, be preserved, in married people.
More [...]... Read more »

  • August 10, 2009
  • 09:00 AM

Social and Physical Pain Share Neural Architecture

by Shaheen Lakhan in Brain Blogger

The old adage, “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me,” may be more defensive than accurate. Indeed, most languages rely on words that represent pain — hurt feelings, heartache, broken hearts — to communicate feelings of social distress. Recent findings in neuroscience suggest that sayings such as these may [...]... Read more »

  • August 8, 2009
  • 09:00 AM

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome – A Medical Mystery

by Shaheen Lakhan in Brain Blogger

Medical mysteries pop up every now and then that are either misdiagnosed or dismissed as either a psychosomatic or a psychological disorder. Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is one of these mysteries and identification of a cause, or even whether the disease actually exists, continues to elude scientists. My previous post focused upon my own personal [...]... Read more »

Floris P. de Langea, Joke S. Kalkmanb, Gijs Bleijenbergb, Peter Hagoorta, Jos W.M. van der Meerc, & Ivan Tonia. (2005) Gray matter volume reduction in the chronic fatigue syndrome. NeuroImage, 26(3), 777-781. DOI: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2005.02.037  

  • August 6, 2009
  • 09:00 AM

The Psychobiology and Psychoanalysis of Dreams

by Shaheen Lakhan in Brain Blogger

Have you ever experienced waking up in the night, sweating and gasping for breath because some strange dream is mystifying you? Most people have experienced dreams of being chased by some alien in the night or missing a train to some unknown destination or falling freely from the height. What causes such dreams in our [...]... Read more »

  • August 4, 2009
  • 09:00 AM

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome – An Inside Look

by Shaheen Lakhan in Brain Blogger

While performing research for my next article, I found a paper in The Open Neurology Journal reporting the results of a scientific study which confirmed both the presence and the level of cognitive impairment in people with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS). As I was reading the study, I thought “Aha! Finally. A study that confirms [...]... Read more »

  • August 2, 2009
  • 09:00 AM

The Genetics of Alcoholism

by Shaheen Lakhan in Brain Blogger

Alcohol consumption is probably as old as human civilization, and so is its abuse. The social and physiological ill effects of alcoholism are well known. What is less clear is why certain individuals are more predisposed to it. Alcohol addiction is a multifactorial phenomenon where personality traits, individual and social influences interact with neurobiology, creating [...]... Read more »

Moussas, G., Christodoulou, C., & Douzenis, A. (2009) A short review on the aetiology and pathophysiology of alcoholism. Annals of General Psychiatry, 8(1), 10. DOI: 10.1186/1744-859X-8-10  

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