This Week’s Top 5 Psychology News

This week I read various news articles related to psychology, neuroscience and pharma-psychology. It was hard to pick the best ones to share because each article interested me, so I chose my top 5 based on the positive impacts these researches may have on the future.

Critical Function of Schizophrenia Identified

A team lead by Kevin Fox from Cardiff University’s School of Biosciences, who study the dark endeavours of neuroscience, discovered an extremely crucial function of the schizophrenic “Rosetta Stone” gene. The team thinks this breakthrough can reveal the functions of all the genes involved with schizophrenia. This gene is called ‘disrupted in schizophrenia-1’ (DISC-1). The researchers studied the gene’s interaction with other proteins in mice during the brains early development. The team recognized that the DISC-1 gene needs to bond with ‘Lis’ and ‘Nudel’ molecules in order to develop a normal brain that wouldn’t lack plasticity during the adult stage. This discovery indicates it is important to treat people during the brain’s early development or look for ways to reverse the effect during adulthood.


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Precise Medicine for PTSD Sufferers

Dr. Luan Phan and his team at Jesse Brown Veterans Affairs Medical Center studied 34 Iraq and Afghanistan veterans who were taking a drug called paroxetine, where additionally half of the veterans suffered from PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). Functional MRI scans were conducted on the veterans to track the blood flow in the brain, and measure the areas with increased oxygen. The research showed those with PTSD that had less activation in the ventrolateral prefrontal cortex of he Brain, even prior to treatment they had an improvement from SSRI antidepressants. This area of the brain regulates emotion and impulse control. The weird thing is that the functional MRI scans showed that the left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex with similar functions showed more activation after treatment. This explains that one area could change with treatment, but another area could predict your treatment response. Although these results needs to be replicated in larger trial, this can be used in the future to help predict how well a certain treatment will work on a patient.


Musical Preferences Linked to Cognitive Style

David Greenberg and his team studied how cognitive style influences our musical choices by recruiting 4,000 people via myPersonality Facebook App. People took various psychology-based tests that focused on whether the person is empathic, systematic or both, and later on they had to rate 50 musical pieces from 26 genres and subgenres. The results were:

  1. Empathics prefered mellow, unpretentious, and contemporary music. Empathics typically enjoyed low energy music that are gentle and reflective.
  2. Systematics preferred intense music that was complex and avant-garde. Systematics typically enjoyed high energy music that have thrilling, tense and strong elements.

This research may be used by music companies for future marketing, by knowing a person’s thinking style they can fine tune their music recommendations and increase their sales.


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Premature Birth Linked to Social Withdrawnness

Research conducted by Professor Dieter Wolke et al, at University of Warwick Medical School linked low weight at birth and preterm to signs of autism and social withdrawnness. This study followed 200 adults that were born underweight or premature. These adults gave data about their personalities and this information was compared to adults who were born healthy from the same obstetric ward. The results indicated that preterm and low weight at birth increase the risks of withdrawn personalities. This study is important because if the problem is identified parents can counter the asocial nature that is to be predicted in their children and be given techniques to help them compensate for their socially withdrawn personalities.


Delivering Drugs to the Brain via Remote Control

Researcher Michael Bruchas at Washington University created an implant the size of a hair that was successfully put on the brain of mice. The implant is controlled with a remote control. This device works by delivering light or drugs to certain parts of the brain. Although more research needs to be done before this technology can be used on humans, it may alter how meds are taken in the future.

Personally my favorite news was the one about the device implanted in the brain that can deliver medicine with a remote control. It caught my attention because this technology seems so futuristic and reflects the development of science and psychology of man. I also think it was great that Dr. Luan Phan and his team scanned the brains of veteran with PTSD to see the effectiveness of SSRI antidepressants. It is important to be able to prescribe medicine that will actually work. Which news was your favorite? Did you enjoy my top 5? If so comment on the bottom of this page.


Cadie Thompson. (2015). Researchers discovered a way to deliver drugs to the brain using a remote control.

Neuroscience News. (2015). Signs of Autism and Social Withdrawnness in Adults Born Prematurely.

Rick Nauert. (2015). Musical Preferences Can Indicate Cognitive Style.

ScienceDaily. (2015). In pursuit of precision medicine for PTSD.

ScienceDaily. (2015). Scientists identify schizophrenia’s ‘Rosetta Stone’ gene.

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