Antipsychotics shrink the brain, antidepressant news, women sexual dysfunction and menopause: Saturday news and blogs

  • Female Sexual Dysfunction Is…. Hot — Pharmalot — Interview: “We spoke with Leonore Tiefer, a clinical associate professor of psychiatry at the New York University School of Medicine, who heads the NewViewCampaign, a grassroots effort devoted to challenging the ‘medicalization’ of sex…”
  • Superstitions can improve performance by boosting confidence — Not exactly Rocket Science — Seems akin to placebo and I like placebo. Scoff all you like, but our minds are powerful and what we believe is too. “It’s easy enough to dismiss these beliefs as the silly by-products of irrational minds, but Lysann Damisch from the University of Cologne has found an upside to superstition – they can improve our performance in a variety of tasks, from physical challenges to memory games. It’s all to do with self-confidence. Pandering to luck-related superstitions, by crossing your fingers in hope or saying “break a leg”, can boost a person’s faith in their own abilities, giving them the edge they need to excel.”
  • Psychologist Says Antidepressants Are Just Fancy Placebos — Discover — To bad this needs to be said over and over again. Placebo is a bad name for something that can potentially wreak havoc in the lives of their users. Placebo suggests inert and antidepressants are anything but inert. They may not help depression but they sure as heck do all sorts of things to your body and mind.”Depression is a chemical imbalance, most people think. Researchers, drug manufacturers, and even the Food and Drug Administration assert that antidepressants work by “normalizing” levels of brain neurotransmitters—chemical messengers such as serotonin. And yet hard science supporting this idea is quite poor, says Irving Kirsch, professor of psychology at the University of Hull in the U.K. An expert on the placebo effect, Kirsch has unearthed evidence that antidepressants do not correct brain chemistry gone awry. More important, the drugs are not much more effective against depression than are sugar pills, he says.”

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