While peer-reviewing a paper this week, I found myself in a quandry.
Personally, I think such studies are of little scientific value, that they more often mislead than enlighten, and that they should only be published when exceptionally informative.
Oxytocin is hot. There are now hundreds of studies looking at the effect of this hormone on the human brain.
A dose of oxytocin, delivered in the form of a nasal spray, can make people nicer towards the ostracised, reduce marijuana cravings, and ‘enhance brain function’ in autistic children – and much more, if you believe it.
But not everyone does. Some doubt that nasal oxytocin even gets into the brain at all. Oxytocin is a peptide molecule, which means it can’t cross the blood-brain barrier and enter the central nervous system. Animal studies suggest that intranasal oxytocin might nonetheless get to the brain via some other route, perhaps along a nerve. But no-one has directly tested this in humans.
A new paper in the Journal of Neural Engineering describes Facilitation of memory encoding in primate hippocampus by a neuroprosthesis that promotes task-specific neural firing
The research – from Sam Deadwyler’s team at Wake Forest University (and funded by DARPA) really is pretty amazing – if it pans out.
This morning, the world woke up to the news that
Britain’s Independent today actually made that their front page. They went on to discuss “the hardwired difference that could explain why men are ‘better at map reading’”. The rest of the world’s media were no less excited.
Since then, some 30 journals have signed up to PIE – but do they know what they’re getting themselves in for?
In the last post, I examined Publication Integrity and Ethics (PIE), a new organization who wrote the rules on plagiarism… or at least borrowed them.
OAPL publish a full 50 peer reviewed journals. But where exactly are they based?
Jonathan Eisen last week blogged about a “strange email” he received. I received it too, as did many other academics:
You are invited to join the Publication Integrity and Ethics (herein referred to as PIE) as one of its founding members. PIE, a not-for profit organisation, offers free membership to all interested individuals… Please join us and become part of this exciting new movement in the world of publishing ethics…
PIE provides various guidelines, codes of conduct and other materials about issues such as plagiarism, duplicate publication, retraction and peer review.
Some of their material seems truly inspired. But inspired by what?
Claims that children with autism have abnormal brain white matter connections may just reflect the fact that they move about more during their MRI scans.
I am sitting reading a book. After a while, I get up and make a cup of coffee.
I’ve been thinking about this scenario lately as I’ve pondered ‘what remains to be discovered’ in our understanding the brain.
By this I mean, what (if anything) prevents neuroscience from at least sketching out an explanation for all of human behaviour?
So say Colorado-based researchers Sandy K. Wurtele and collegues in a new paper in the journal Sexual Abuse:
Nearly 10% of males and 4% of females reported some likelihood of having sex with children or viewing child pornography.