“A History of Delusions” AND More on Best 5 Wednesday Reads

Hello and welcome to another edition of Best 5 Reads. Lets begin!

1) A History of Delusions

A multipart podcast on BBC where an experimental psychologist Daniel Freeman explores cases of delusion.

2) Suicide is declining almost everywhere

Globally, the rate has fallen by 38% from its peak in 1994. As a result, over 4m lives have been saved—more than four times as many people as were killed in combat over the period. The decline has happened at different rates and different times in different parts of the world. In the West, it started long ago: in Britain, for instance, the male rate peaked at around 30 per 100,000 a year in 1905, and again at the same level in 1934, during the Great Depression; among women it peaked at 12 in 1964. In most of the West, it has been flat or falling for the past two decades.

In other parts of the world, rates have dropped more recently. China’s started to come down in the 1990s and declined steadily, flattening out in recent years. Russia’s, Japan’s, South Korea’s and India’s rates, still high, have all fallen.

America is the big exception. Until the turn of the century the rate there dropped along with those in other rich countries. But since then, it has risen by 18% to 12.8—well above China’s current rate of seven. The declines in those other big countries, however, far outweigh the rise in America.

3) The Genomics of Neurons. And Alzheimer’s. And Everything Else.

The brain is a complicated organ. Let’s start there. It’s complicated at every level that you care to examine, and if you get down to the genomic sequences of individual neurons, it’s worse than ever. The sheer variety of neurons and other cell types is quite extreme, and a lot of work over the years has gone into trying to figure out how this huge range of morphology and function is generated. As became clear not too many years ago, on a cellular level the brain is a mosaic tissue: the different cells in it can have somewhat different DNA sequences, distinct but (apparently) rather random.

4) Depression Intervention by Lay Counselors Prevents Depressive Episodes in Older Adults

Investigators examined whether an in tervention provided by lay counselors for depression is effective in older adults from low- and middle-income countries.

5) One in four suicide attempts are associated with perceptual difficulties

Researchers have revealed that one quarter of suicide attempts are associated with dysfunction in how the brain interprets basic perceptual information, such as what we see, hear and think. The research shows that this dysfunction can predict suicidal behavior, and offers new prospects for treatment and suicide prevention.

Thank you and see you tomorrow for more articles.

Best Regards,

Vikram


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