A battle over the link between strep and OCD

Today I introduced a class of students to the notion that a strep infection could give a child obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD). The idea was first widely publicized in the memoir “Saving Sammy: Curing the Boy Who Caught OCD“, and briefly recapped in this clip from the Today Show: I am already on record as identifying this…

Meditation may not be for epileptics

In epilepsy, a seizure begins with just a few neurons that – for reasons that still elude medical professionals –  get overstimulated. That excess stimulation then gets passed through the synapses to other neurons, which become overstimulated in turn, and the spread of that intense chaotic activity produces the behavioral features of a seizure. These…

Post-Traumatic Growth Requires Judgment

Events such as the bombing at the Boston Marathon remind us of many things; those in my Facebook feed seem to following in the footsteps of Mister Rogers, looking for helpers and taking solace in all the bystanders and first responders who came together to help the wounded. I hope for everyone involved that post-traumatic growth will outpace…

More Mindfulness in Progress: Alcohol Abuse and Texting

I spent the first weekend of March escorting a dozen Psi Chi students to the annual conference of the Eastern Psychological Association. A pleasant surprise awaited me: Wandering around an early poster session presenting applied research of various stripes, I encountered several posters presenting mindfulness-related research in progress. First, there was very intriguing research on…

What should we make of unpublished research?

“Mindful” and “military” may sound like two words that would never go together, but given  all the research on the benefits of mindfulness for depression, anxiety, and other disorders it shouldn’t be at all surprising that mindful meditation is being investigated as a treatment for PTSD in war veterans. The only catch comes early on…

Freud, psychoanalysis, and Nazis

Although Sigmund Freud seems to be the first person to come to mind when people learn I teach psychology, I actually know very little about the man or his legacy. As I told my students Friday morning, I know more about the arguments that psychoanalysis is a pseudoscience than I do about psychoanalysis itself (at…