Meet the Columnist
Dr Medina is a developmental molecular biologist and private consultant, with research interests in the genetics of psychiatric disorders. For more about Dr Medina, visit www.brainrules.net.
Crime, the Hippocampus—and the Lingering Eye
February 5, 2010
Let’s say you’re in a crowded bar when somebody suddenly shoots at a patron. You clearly see a man carrying a firearm, but all hell breaks loose as you and everybody else scramble for the exits. In the terrifying seconds following the crime, you lose track of who discharged the firearm: it could have been 1 of 3 suspects. Afterward, the police interview you, but it is hopeless. Even bringing in the suspects for a lineup isn’t going to help you recall. There will be no “Perry Mason” moments, when the perpetrator breaks down under the weight of guilt and confesses to the crime. How can the authorities make an arrest?
The Cellular and Molecular Substrates of Anorexia Nervosa, Part 2
December 7, 2009
I think I am going to talk about the neurobiology of happiness in my next column. The reason has to do with the nature of our 2-month journey into the biology of eating disorders—a subject that, considering the dearth of explanatory data, is tough to write about. It’s also a bit depressing, considering how difficult it can be to treat. This is the second installment in a 2-part series that focuses on the neurobiology of restricting-type anorexia nervosa (AN).
The Teenaged Brain: Part 2
September 3, 2009
In our last installment, we discussed a familiar finding from the National Comorbidity Survey Replication (NCS-R): the peak age of onset for any mental health disorder is about 14 years. In an attempt to explain these data, we are exploring some of the known developmental changes in the teenaged brain at the level of gene, cell, and behavior.
Teenaged Brain: Part 1
July 27, 2009
This statistic is as familiar as it is startling. According to the National Comorbidity Survey-Replication (NCS-R), the peak age of onset for any disease involving mental health is 14 years. True for bipolar disorder. True for anxiety. True for schizophrenia and substance abuse and eating disorders. The data suggest that most mental health challenges emerge during adolescence. If true, this brings to mind an important developmental question:
The Physics of fMRI
April 13, 2009
I was puzzled. How could Fourier transforms performed on signals coming from someone’s cortex say anything about their politics? What could possibly have reduced the interpretation of these noninvasive imaging data to conceptual phrenology? I got so mad as I thought more about it that I jammed the articles back into the pocket, aggravating an already ripped inner seam.
Fishing for Genetic Links in Autism
March 11, 2009
In my January column (“Fishing Expeditions and Autism: A Big Catch for Genetic Research?” Psychiatric Times, January 2009, page 12), I described the great difficulties researchers face characterizing the genetic basis of the disease. Complexities range from trying to establish a stable diagnostic profile to making sense of the few isolated mutations that show clear associations (either with disease or syndrome variants).
Fishing Expeditions and Autism: A Big Catch for Genetic Research?
January 1, 2009
I am a fan of the television show Deadliest Catch—a documentary series that follows the travails of deep-sea fishermen in the Bering Sea. (Actually, it is mostly about deep crab fishing.) Living in Seattle, I have actually seen some of the boats filmed on the show.
Is There a Gene for Postpartum Depression?
December 1, 2008
For some couples, the transition to parenthood is not filled with this rich mixture of great perplexity and great joy. For them, parenthood is mostly filled with sadness and even despair.
Painting Neural Circuitry With a Viral Brush: Are the Neighbors Green?
November 1, 2008
In last month’s column (“Painting Neural Circuitry With a Viral Brush,” Psychiatric Times, October 2008, page 16), I used Michelangelo’s famous fresco, “Hand of God Giving Life to Adam” on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel as a metaphor to introduce a series of technologies that have allowed researchers to map the complex interactions of neural connections in continuously functioning neural tissues. This technology promises to deliver accurate synaptic associations—one finger to another—at a very high level of resolution.
FROM PHYSICIANS PRACTICE
Five Steps to Improving Patient Access Judy Capko,
May 21, 2013
Patient access is getting increased attention through reform initiatives. Here are five steps you can take to make sure patients get appropriate access to care in your office.
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