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Medical

Pain is always in your head

on
26 April 2018
If you cut your finger the pain appears to originate at the site of the wound. But that is misguided. Pain is an emotion that is generated in the brain itself. How you experience pain is closely related to your emotional state and is strongly influenced by a placebo or by diverting your attention. Pain is always in your head.


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Medical

Why people don’t want antidepressants but do want psychotherapy

on
12 April 2018
A lot of people think antidepressants are worthless. Is psychotherapy better than an antidepressant? There is no evidence for this. It seems to me that antidepressants suffer a disadvantage in our perception as compared to psychotherapy, in that their working mechanism is quite invisible and not instinctively comprehensible.
cartoon of brain standing on ladder pouring dopamine into flasks


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Hormones and Transmitters

Does dopamine make you happy, and is methylphenidate (Ritalin) addictive?

on
15 March 2018
Dopamine the happiness hormone? Dopamine regulates decisions about what is important and whether a reaction to this can have positive consequences. This process does not work properly in children and adults with ADHD and this causes chaos in their head. Methylphenidate (Ritalin) corrects this without having an addictive effect.


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Complex Systems

Man thinks ahead, Nature succeeds through hindsight

on
1 March 2018
What makes man an exceptional animal? That he can think logically in cause and effect. But that is also a handicap, because nature is a system without cause and effect.
cartoon of brain holding sign with word blue and holding compass to find its way


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Perception

What is colour? How blue can look white…

on
15 February 2018
How do we see colour? Can white look blue and vice versa? And does it matter which word you use for a colour? Apparently it does.


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Plasticity

The girl with half a brain

on
1 February 2018
The girl without the right hemisphere of her brain functions pretty normally. How is this compatible with the idea that women use their right hemisphere more?


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Heredity

Nature and nurture: congenital and acquired

on
18 January 2018
Is it Nature or Nurture, congenital or acquired? The answer is actually quite simple: everything is Nature and Nurture. The structure if the brain determines what we can learn and what we learn determines the structure of the brain.


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Memory

Where am I? Our internal GPS

on
21 December 2017
London taxi drivers know every street in London, as well as all the restaurants, post offices, shops and more. In our brain there is an ingenious GPS. And this GPS is integrated with our life history and emotions. Try doing that with a navigator!


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Perception

Where are the limits of the body?

on
7 December 2017
What is the boundary of your body? Where does your body end? All fairly clear to you, but not to your brain. A rake you hold in your hand can become a part of your body, and sometimes a rubber hand can seem like your real hand. How can this be?


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Medical

The placebo effect doesn’t exist

on
23 November 2017
Depression lifts with placebo pills, joint pain disappears after a placebo operation. Changes in the brain can be observed after the use of a placebo. How do such effects of sham treatment come about? Placebos do have effects. But THE placebo effect does not exist.
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