Can mental illness ever be good for you?

A recent book on the poet Robert Lowell raises some fascinating questions about the relation between bipolar disorder and creativity

How the Brain Determines Sexuality

It has been known for a long time that early exposure to testosterone has a powerful influence on later sexuality. Now we are beginning to understand how this might come about.

Gender Differences: Equality Versus Similarity

Some feminists deny that true gender differences in behavior exist: they mistake similarity with equality, and neglect an important source of individuality.

Women and War

Even the Marines are recruiting women. What does this tell us about being war-like? Or about gender equality? And is it to be welcomed?

Does an Abusive Upbringing Damage the Brain?

There are well-known associations between abuse or neglect early in life and later psychological or psychiatric complications. What do we know about what goes on in the brain?

Gender Identity Is in the Brain. What Does This Tell Us?

Has the surge in our knowledge of the brain told us anything useful about the basis for gender identity? If it did, how would we use it?

Why Does the Brain Age? Can We Do Anything About It?

Why is brain aging so individually variable? Can we do anything to delay cognitive decline?

Is Your Brain Inflamed? You Might Need to Know

Inflammation is not just a response to infection. There are signs that it can be a precursor to some common brain disorders, including strokes, depression and Alzheimer's disease.

A Surprising Hormone Is Important for Sexuality in Women

Women are not as free from the effects of hormones as once was thought.
Reproduced form Case and Deaton (see footnote)

Middle-aged Americans are Dying Younger: Why?

A group of Americans are dying earlier than they used to do. This bucks the trend in other countries, and in America in other groups. Why is this? Can anything be done?

How Does Your Brain Tell You That You Are in Love?

What happens in the brain when we fall in love? Do modern scanning techniques tell us?

Some Men Are Sexual Poachers: Their Brains May Reveal Them

Some men seek to attract other men's partners, others do not. Now there are indications that activation of a particular part of the brain may separate them.

Your Hormones and Making (Or Losing) Money

We think cold logic determines how we spend or make our money. But our hormones may be influencing us in ways we don't know, if results on financial traders applies to us all.

Depression Is a Risk for Alzheimer’s: We Need to Know Why.

There is now consensus that depression is a risk for later Alzheimer's disease. But depression is not a single disorder; are there recognizable sub-types that are the real risk?

Is Love Simply a Puff of Oxytocin?

Bonding is an essential part of social, sexual and family life. How much is this due to one simple chemical in the brain?

Why You (and Your Cat) Like Being Stroked

Stroking gives pleasure to humans as well as cats. We are beginning to know why.

What, Exactly, Is Gender Equality? It’s Not Numbers

Gender differences in behavior may have a biological as well as a social determinant. Can we envisage a time when we accept these as true examples of individuality?

A Curable Brain Disorder?

Genetic developmental disorders of the brain are usually considered incurable. But recent results suggest that, in Rett's syndrome at least, this may not be the case.

Fat Is More Than Just Flab

White fat is more that a layer of greasy energy stores. It has a surprising amount of other actions, including the production of several very powerful hormones.
ssguy/Shutterstock

Stress Interferes With the Rhythm of Life: Why This Matters

Stress can alter the rhythm of the body, particularly because it changes the daily pattern of the hormone cortisol. This may be why it also increases the risk of mental illness

Can the Brain Be Repaired? There's a Glimmer of Hope

We now know that there are parts of the brain that go on making new nerve cells throughout adult life. Does this help us find ways of repairing the damaged brain?

Without Testosterone, Would There Be War?

Testosterone is known to promote aggressive behavior and risk-taking as part of its function. Does this include a propensity to make war?

Should We Stop Using the Words ‘Mental Disorder’?

Using the term 'mental illness' is an admission of our ignorance about causation—not a logical distinction. And it may add to the stigma attached to psychiatric disorders.

How Stress Can Damage the Brain

Stress, partly because it activates cortisol, can have damaging effects on the brain. Why is this?

Prejudice, Not Science, Wins the Day in Toronto

When political 'correctness' gets in the way of good science, we all lose. A good example is what just happened in Toronto.

Are There Sex Differences in the Brain?

Does your brain reveal your gender? Does it explain or validate sex differences in behaviour or social role?