News and analysis on the implications of brain science

A Dose of a Hallucinogen From a ‘Magic Mushroom,’ and Then Lasting Peace

New York Times | December 1, 2016

In two small studies, About 80 percent of cancer patients who took one dose of psilocybin showed clinically significant reductions in both psychological disorders, a response sustained some seven months after the single dose. Side effects were minimal. In both trials, the intensity of the mystical experience described by patients correlated with the degree to which their depression and anxiety decreased.

Neuroscience Hasn’t Been Weaponized – It’s Been a Tool of War From the Start

by Alison Howell

The Conversation | November 30, 2016

It’s not possible to say that neuroscience has been “militarized” or “weaponized,” says author Alison Howell. "The dual use framework ignores how embedded neuroscience has always been with war and national defense. In doing so, it leads us to underestimate the political task at hand, both in relation to war and in relation to science."

Global Mental Health and Neuroscience: Challenges and Opportunities

by Nicky Penttila

Dana Foundation blog | November 22, 2016

“When it comes to mental health, all countries are developing countries," WHO's Shekhar Saxena told a massive audience during the recent Society for Neuroscience annual meeting.

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The Competing Identities of Neuroethics

by Brad Segal

Bill of Health - Harvard Law Blog | November 16, 2016

Reporting from the recent International Neuroethics Society annual meeting.

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Synaesthetes Who ‘See’ Calendar Hint How Our Brains Handle Time

by Helen Thomson

New Scientist | November 16, 2016

When you think about next December or last January what do you imagine? If you see calendars vividly laid out in front of you, you might be a “calendar synaesthete.” Research into the phenomena gives a clue to how we evolved the ability to mentally navigate through time and space.

Oh, for the Joy of a Tickled Rat

by James Gorman

New York TImes | November 10, 2016

The researchers did not merely locate the place in the brain where the tickling response occurs, they also saw the effect of a change in mood on this very basic if mysterious process.

With Sotomayor’s Elmore Dissent, Another Inroad for Neuroscience into Law

by Roland Nadler

Stanford Law & Biosciences blog | November 2, 2016

"Lawyers have needed to be conversant in 101-level psychology for decades. But needing to make arguments about why a neurotoxin-pickled prefrontal cortex should sway a jury to view a heinous murder as the product of deficient cognitive control? That’s a more novel skillset to demand," writes Nadler.

Does Effect Size Matter for fMRI?

by Neuroskeptic

Discover Magazine | October 22, 2016

fMRI researchers should care about (and report) the size of the effects that they study, according to a new Neuroimage paper from NIMH researchers Gang Chen and colleagues. It’s called Is the statistic value all we should care about in neuroimaging?

Generation Adderall

by Casey Schwartz

New York Times Magazine | October 12, 2016

Like many of her friends, writer Casey Schwartz spent years using prescription stimulants to get through school and start her career. Then she tried to get off them.

Neurotechnology and the Timing of Ethics

by Pim Haselager

Neuroethics & Law Blog | October 11, 2016

How long does it take to develop a fully functional ethical and legal framework that could guide a responsible societal introduction of a now still emerging neurotechnology? Specifically, when would we have to start developing such a framework, in order not to have started too early or too late?

DEA Blocks Research Into Promising Opioid Alternatives

by Jon Kelvey

Slate | September 22, 2016

The DEA’s drug policies have made medical marijuana research more difficult. “There are fundamental neuroscience questions we can answer with Kratom,” one researcher says. If only they could easily study it.

Readying the Legal Community for More Neuroscientific Evidence

by Owen Jones

National Law Journal | September 12, 2016

Given both the scope and pace of developments, it's especially important to ensure that neuroscientific evidence is properly understood and evaluated, so that it may aid, rather than hinder, the fair and effective administration of justice. (free registration required)

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