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Psyched out -- Editor's Picks

November 17, 2008 | 10:42 am

NewbrainOf psychiatry and psychology and what goes on in our heads...

For starters, from the Los Angeles Times' Opinion pages: Wrangling over psychiatry's bible

"Over the summer, a wrangle between eminent psychiatrists that had been brewing for months erupted in print. Startled readers of Psychiatric News saw the spectacle unfold in the journal's normally less-dramatic pages. The bone of contention: whether the next revision of America's psychiatric bible, the 'Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders,' should be done openly and transparently so mental health professionals and the public could follow along, or whether the debates should be held in secret."

From Newsweek: More than just 'quirky'

"It's not uncommon for girls with Asperger's to go undiagnosed well into adulthood. Like heart disease, this high-functioning autism spectrum disorder is 10 times more prevalent in males, so doctors often don't think to look for it in females. But some experts have begun to suspect that unlike heart disease, Asperger's manifests differently, less obviously in girls, and that factor is also causing them to slip through the diagnostic cracks. This gender gap may have implications for the health and well-being of girls on the spectrum, and some specialists predict that as we diagnose more girls, our profile of the disorder as a whole will change. Anecdotally, they report that girls with Asperger's seem to have less motor impairment, a broader range of obsessive interests, and a stronger desire to connect with others, despite their social impairment."

From Psychology Today: The art of now: Six steps to living in the moment

"We live in the age of distraction. Yet one of life's sharpest paradoxes is that your brightest future hinges on your ability to pay attention to the present."

From Time: The evolution of insanity

"Today's schizophrenic may believe that terrorists are beaming radio transmissions into his brain; 50 years ago, however, Communists were the culprits. And a century ago, before radio was invented, it might have been a simple case of 'hearing voices.' In a paper published last spring, three Slovenian psychiatrists examined the ways in which insanity has historically manifested itself, and whether 'crazy' has always been the same. Borut Skodlar, Mojca Dernovsek and Marga Kocmur studied 120 records of schizophrenic patients admitted to the Ljubljana (Slovenia) psychiatric hospital between 1881 and 2000 to see if psychotic delusions are affected by contemporary culture. As it turns out, they are." ... This is a quick look. Here's the whole study.

And a couple of short pieces on loneliness...

One from U.S. News & World Report: Why loneliness is bad for your health

"When all is said and done, the best guarantee of a long and healthy life may be the connections you have with other people." An interview with John Cacioppo, a neuroscientist at the University of Chicago and coauthor of a new book, Loneliness: Human Nature and the Need for Social Connection.

And a quick podcast from Scientific American: Beating loneliness at its own game

"Researchers have found that indulging in feelings of nostalgia curiously combats the sad feelings that accompany loneliness."

-- Tami Dennis

Photo credit: Ken Hively / Los Angeles Times