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Scientists' think depression is more than attitude?  You bet they do and for good cause.  In the June, 1998, issue of Scientific American, Charles Nemeroff writes as concise and   informative discussion of the Psychobiology of Depression as any I have read.  Better still, this article is up to date in its discussion of modern drugs used to treat depression and how and why they work.  Nemeroff also discusses how environmental stressors and early childhood experience may be translated into psychophysioloigcal changes which interact with genetic predispositions to be depressed.  It seems to me that as we learn more about depression, the more it seems like the term "depression" is too global to accurately describe the different inner experiences and neurobiological phenomena that have historically been heaped together and termed "depression." Even if the article gets a little deep, Nemeroff's use of hyperlinks will point you to something you will probably find useful.  

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New uses for old brainwaves? Is Quantitative EEG (qEEG) more than just a new twist on the "microphone over the city" glimpse of electrical activity just under your scalp or is it a delicate detector of behavioral/emotional predispositions that lends itself to conditioning techniques? Are the psychologists who work with qEEG quacks; well-intended pseudoscientists; or a new breed of well trained, high tech healers?  The answer doesn't seem clear to me but see for yourself what some Minnesota psychologists claim about their work.    

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You mean it isn't just in their head? At last, the promise of relief for those with Swallowing Problems.  This announcement by a multidisciplinary team is exciting in that departs from the rule that even when unglamorous, non-fatal symptoms can wreck the quality of the patients' lives, it is relative rare that they are deemed worthy of serious scientific attention.  Swallowing, it turns out, is a very complex, mostly reflexive, operation that involves muscles from your chest, throat and tongue acting in exquisite harmony with one another.  It is modulated by several different cranial nerves and parts of your brain that are not normally associated with conscious control. Making things more complicated is that like parallel skiing, moving your bowels, making love, and shooting free-throws; the more you think about it, the worse you get at it but if you don't think about it at all you get yourself in big trouble!  Anyone who has ever had a problem swallowing, if only while suffering from a very sore throat, should appreciate what hope such a treatment program would mean to folks with chronic swallowing difficulties. 

Medicine is political? U.S. News and World Report's John Leo discovers limitations in the "medical model" of DSM-IV in his article "Doing the Disorder Rag."

Professions don't always cooperate? Psychiatrists duke it out in turf battle with upstart psychologists in "American Psychiatric Association Suspends Collaboration with Psychologists on Journal," fromPsycia News Masthead.gif (4436 bytes)


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On Sabbatical!

When my office lease expired at the end of 2004, I decided to turn it into a "sabbatical" from my private practice. Many years ago, in my grandfather's 89th year of life, he told me, "John, it is important to smell the roses while you can still smell them." His life gave living a very good reputation. It is also true that the pursuit of that philosophy required my grandfather to to re-open his assay office/ore market in Wickenburg, Arizona as a 75-year-old because he had run a little short of retirement money. Thus, if blessed with his luck and health, I'll be back.. --jjh

Copyright 1998-2007  John J. Herr, Ph.D.                                   Please send comments to