Wednesday Round Up #160

This week I lead off with some controversy over the new edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, DSM 5, which is due out in 2013. This is not the first time the DSM 5 has come into the public’s eye (it’s been there pretty much since it got announced), but the focus has zoomed in on the machinations of the American Psychiatry Association, the force behind DSM 5, in protecting its DSM 5 brand while also maintaining closed control over the production of the new set of diagnoses.

I follow that up with some mental health links, and then a potpourri at the end.

And, yes, that is a photo of He-Man with the head of the DSM 5 revision leader, Dr. David Kupfer, pasted on. A little humor for the day. The original comes from the post Reflections on the DSM Process and Academic Freedom over at Before You Take That Pill.

DSM 5 Controversy

Suzy Chapman, American Psychiatric Association – Cease and Desist
*The formerly named DM5watch gets a nasty letter from the APA. This legal approach really disgusted me. What, can’t take a little critique from a blog? Well, the site is now DX Revision Watch. And the issues are central. The new set of diagnoses of psychiatric disorders will affect the lives of millions. Should it open access, or behind the paywall?

It has come to our attention that the website is infringing upon the American Psychiatric Association’s trademark DSM 5 (serial number 85161695) and is in violation of federal law by using it as a domain name.

Allen Frances, Is DSM 5 A Public Trust Or An APA Cash Cow?
*Increasingly it looks like the latter for the APA – a brand of diagnosing that they need to protect for the institutional control and profit it provides. See also Chapman’s DX Revision post, Psychologists call for independent review of DSM-5.

Rob Waters, Therapists Revolt against Psychiatry’s Bible

The chief complaint is that the newest version will lower the criteria needed to diagnose some conditions, creating “subthreshold” disorders, and generally making it easier for healthcare professionals to label a person with a psychiatric disorder and medicate him or her.

Latif Nasser, Do Some Cultures Have Their Own Ways of Going Mad?
* “And then there is the back of the book.” The problematic category of culture-bound syndromes, and why culture, and the work of plenty of cross-cultural psychiatrists and anthropologists, questions basic nosology

And you have to love Mind Hacks’ presentation of the 100 word synopsis of the DSM by the British Journal of Psychiatry:

DSM is an American classification system that has dominated since 1980. It is disliked by many for reducing diagnostic skills to a cold list of operational criteria, yet embraced by researchers believing that it represents the first whiff of sense in an area of primitive dogma. It has almost foundered by confusing reliability with validity but the authors seem to recognise its errors and are hoping for rebirth in its 5th revision due in May 2013. The initials do not stand for Diagnosis as a Source of Money or Diagnosis for Simple Minds but the possibility of confusion is present.

Mental Health

Vincent Pascoli et al., Reversal of Cocaine-evoked Synaptic Potentiation Resets Drug-induced Adaptive Behaviour
*This research marks an important step forward:

Phosphorylation of the extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) in the nucleus accumbens is of particular interest because it has been implicated in NMDA-receptor and type 1 dopamine (D1)-receptor-dependent synaptic potentiation5 as well as in several behavioural adaptations.

A causal link between drug-evoked plasticity at identified synapses and behavioural adaptations, however, is missing, and the benefits of restoring baseline transmission have yet to be demonstrated. Here we find that cocaine potentiates excitatory transmission in D1-receptor-expressing medium-sized spiny neurons (D1R-MSNs) in mice via ERK signalling with a time course that parallels locomotor sensitization.

Depotentiation of cortical nucleus accumbens inputs by optogenetic stimulation in vivo efficiently restored normal transmission and abolished cocaine-induced locomotor sensitization. These findings establish synaptic potentiation selectively in D1R-MSNs as a mechanism underlying a core component of addiction, probably by creating an imbalance between distinct populations of MSNs in the nucleus accumbens.

Our data also provide proof of principle that reversal of cocaine-evoked synaptic plasticity can treat behavioural alterations caused by addictive drugs and may inspire novel therapeutic approaches involving deep brain stimulation or transcranial magnetic stimulation.

Cecilia Westbrook, Giving Up Smoking? Put Your Mind to It

First, we found that mindfully attending to smoking images caused people’s self-reported craving to decrease. In other words, when people ‘passively viewed’ a smoking-related image, their craving increased, but if they practiced mindful attention, they craved less. Their cravings weren’t completely eliminated, but were significantly decreased.

Eric Horowitz, Believing in Change Can Help Make It Happen
*Nice little study of how belief in change and scientific knowledge both affect dieting and weight gain. Looking forward to when anthropologists do nice little studies like this…

Vaughan Bell, A Medical Study of the Haitian Zombie
*Fascinating overview as always from Mind Hacks, with discussion of neurotoxins and the strong hint that zombies were often mentally ill folk

Alex Horton, The Mt. Rainier Shooting and PTSD: How the Media Got It Wrong

The misguided and incorrect correlation between military service and violent crimes like murder can lead to damaging stereotypes that can inhibit the success of Vets once they leave the military.

-David Dobbs provides further commentary with Our Sickening Rush to See PTSD – and What It Costs Vets

And More

Vaughan Bell, Anesthesia May Leave Patients Conscious—and Finally Show Consciousness in the Brain
*Fantastic article by the man behind Mind Hacks. Here we see how research on consciousness could proceed using experimental manipulation with anesthesia to link basic brain systems and levels of awareness

Emily Willingham, Why Growing Up as an American Female Has Left Me Wary of Men, and Why Growing Up as an American Female Has Left Me Appreciating Men
*A powerful pair of pieces that speak to the experiences and effects of becoming and being a woman in the United States

Doug Rocks Macqueen, New Website With Every (almost, 700+) Archaeology Programs in the World
*Wow! Get all your archaeology programs here!!

Leith Mullings, Anthropology Matters
*The new American Anthropological Association president mentions online initiatives, including this blog, in her first communique with the association! We’re very flattered!

Janelle Christensen & Charlotte Noble, Promoting Anthropology with Prezi
*The dynamic duo behind the super successful Prezi “This Is Anthropology” (now at 77,000 views!) describe how anthropologists and others can make their own prezis. Very useful! It provides a guide for public communication as well as for making prezis!!
-Charlotte also describes creating the Florida controversy and the Prezi reaction in Visualizing Anthropology: Florida and Beyond

Deevy Bishop, Time for Academics to Withdraw Free Labour
*Sheep lead to the slaughter, and charged for that privilege too? Time to change the market with some mass herd behavior!

Edward Carr, Does the Journal Even Matter Anymore?
*A post that reflects on something a senior professor and I talked about at a recent meeting – we don’t read as many journal articles as before. They are long, dense, and seem to satisfy intellectual requirements rather than being fresh, provocative, important.

Kerim Friedman, Collaboration beyond the Film
*A compelling example of doing visual ethnography – in this case, the documentary “Please Don’t Beat Me, Sir” – as public and community based anthropology

Brenda Norell, Wikileaks Revealed US Espionage of Indigenous Peoples in 2011
*From Censored News:

In the Censored News pick for the Best of the Best in 2011, Wikileaks claims first prize. Wikileaks exposed the US corporate schemes, espionage, promotion of mining and efforts globally to halt passage of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

Matt Thompson, Hrdy on Santorum
*Get a great quote from Sarah Blaffer Hrdy, where she uses common sense and evolutionary sense to understand Rick Santorum’s need to dictate women’s choices

Nicholas Kristof, A Poverty Solution that Starts with a Hug
Cues of a hostile or indifferent environment flood an infant, or even a fetus, with stress hormones like cortisol in ways that can disrupt the body’s metabolism or the architecture of the brain.

The upshot is that children are sometimes permanently undermined. Even many years later, as adults, they are more likely to suffer heart disease, obesity, diabetes and other physical ailments. They are also more likely to struggle in school, have short tempers and tangle with the law.

The crucial period seems to be from conception through early childhood. After that, the brain is less pliable and has trouble being remolded.

American Academy of Pediatrics, Policy Statement: Early Childhood Adversity, Toxic Stress, and the Role of the Pediatrician: Translating Developmental Science into Lifelong Health
*Get the actual policy statement!

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) presents an integrated ecobiodevelopmental framework to assist in translating these dramatic advances in developmental science into improved health across the life span.

Gordon Hodson & Michael Busseri, Bright Minds and Dark Attitudes: Lower Cognitive Ability Predicts Greater Prejudice Through Right-Wing Ideology and Low Intergroup Contact
*Hot off the 2012 presses of Psychological Science:

In an analysis of two large-scale, nationally representative United Kingdom data sets (N = 15,874), we found that lower general intelligence (g) in childhood predicts greater racism in adulthood, and this effect was largely mediated via conservative ideology.

Andrew Watt, Separating Face from Fiction with the Fusiform Gyrus
*A Hippo on Campus is a great new neuroscience blog, and here we get the latest research on face recognition and hemispheric specialization

Richard Lippa, Multivariate Versus Univariate Conceptions of Sex Differences: Let the Contest Begin
*A commentary on a PLoS ONE article arguing for both a multivariate approach to measurement of difference and for larger differences among men and women in personality than previous documented. I recommend it for the multivariate approach, which is much needed as we begin to do more cross-cultural and neuroanthropological work. On the personality side, I’d be more concerned about issues of measurement, cross-cultural validity, WEIRD populations, the relation between gender roles and personality measures, and the like before reading too much into the conclusions.
-There’s also a pointed response from the Gender Similarities main author in response to the PLoS article

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3 Responses to Wednesday Round Up #160

  1. Pingback: Beyond DSM 5: Levels of explanation in psychiatry (the “fuzzy set” approach) | blog

  2. Lois Holzman says:

    The DSM-5 controversy is an oopportunity to raise the bar on the dialogue from the issue of OVER diagnosing to the broader issue of the harm caused by the diagnostic way of life and all the assumptions about it. Please see my blog entries on the DSM-5 at

  3. Thanks for the link too

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