Genetics Essential Reads

And the Nobel Prize Goes to…Circadian Rhythms

Why the 2017 Nobel Prize in Medicine or Physiology has circadian rhythms researchers buzzing with excitement.

Move Over, Gray Matter—White Matter Is Taking Center Stage

By Christopher Bergland on October 17, 2017 in The Athlete's Way
One of the largest studies of white matter (which enables communication between brain regions) ever was published today by scientists from the University of Southern California.

Your Neanderthal Quotient and Your Personality

Thought the Neanderthals were extinct? Think again. Their DNA is likely alive in all the cells of your body. What’s more? This heritage may affect how you act each day.

Why Would Anyone Run For Office? It’s In Their Genes?

By Gregg R. Murray Ph.D. on October 01, 2017 in Caveman Politics
For the life of me I’ve never understood why someone would want to run for office. This may help explain it.

Why Does God Want to Kill Me?

By Mario D Garrett Ph.D. on September 20, 2017 in iAge
We are meant to die. It is nature's way of making our species survive. But our strategy as humans has been to develop a large brain and to live longer, to which there's a downside.

On The Evolution of the Serotonin Transporter Gene

By Emily Deans M.D. on September 04, 2017 in Evolutionary Psychiatry
If behavior can be predicted by genotype, we have ethical challenges for the future we can start thinking about now.
Image by Diane Tober

The Debate Over an Egg Donor Registry

By Diane M. Tober Ph.D. on August 31, 2017 in The Age of Biotech
Is the quest for an egg donor registry emotional? Or a matter of scientific/medical ethics?

Jet Lagged? Here's What to Do About It

Planning an end-of-summer trip? Here's how to protect yourself from jet lag!

Fated to Fear

By Jeffrey Lockwood Ph.D. on August 17, 2017 in The Infested Mind
Is there evidence that our fear of insects is rooted in evolution? Studies of human genetics and results of controlled experiments support the inheritance of the infested mind.

Nature vs. Nurture and Depression

Variations in the serotonin re-uptake transporter can make big differences in the lifelong risk of depression. How did this discovery happen, and where do we go from here?

How To Explain How Genes Affect Politics

How do genes affect political attitudes and behavior? At least one guy knows how to explain it.

Yes, You Can’t!—Why You Should Affirm Your Limitations

This title may seem unduly pessimistic—or downright perverse. But as a cautionary note, there are times when your dreams or lofty ideals must bow to inescapable reality.

Brain Fertilizer

The genes coding for BDNF are another area where researchers are looking at the pathology behind psychiatric illness, and finding helpful clues to guide clinical treatment.

Why Parents Make Us What We Are

Imprinted genes are critically implicated in nurture via their role in the brain and REM sleep.

Genes, Ions, and Other New Frontiers in Psychiatry

A gene related to ion channels common to many families with mental illness leads us to new discoveries and treatments based on actual brain pathology.

Twins With Two Daddies

By Robert D. Martin Ph.D. on June 22, 2017 in How We Do It
Paternity suits triggered by strikingly different fraternal twins have revealed bizarre cases with two different fathers. Split paternity is the visible tip of a sizeable iceberg.

Four Reasons Why People Become Empaths: Trauma to Genetics

Why do people become empaths? As a psychiatrist and an empath, I’ve seen that there are four main factors that can contribute to heightening one's sensitivities.

Aggression and Fear Can Be Reduced in Specific Dog Breeds

New data provides a possible alternative to breed-specific legislation to control aggression and fearfulness in dogs.

Domestication, It's Complicated

Cats may have been domesticated twice, or more. A new study shows that today’s domestic cats have two sets of maternal ancestors.

The Bachs and the Epigenetics of Music

Many believe epigenetics makes inheritance of acquired traits possible, but the example of imprinted genes on chromosome 15 provides a better explanation of innate musical ability.

Great Performers Are Born AND Made

By Jim Taylor Ph.D. on June 07, 2017 in The Power of Prime
Different pursuits have specific neurological, physiological, and musculoskeletal requirements and if you're not born with those, all of the training in the world won't help.

At Last the Government Is Recognizing Who Owns Your Health

By Peter Edelstein M.D. on June 06, 2017 in Patient Power
What's more personal than your own individual genetic identification? A recent FDA decision on genetic tests represents a major shift in who truly owns your health: You.

Epigenetics of Music: A Karaoke vs. Bach Genetic Conflict?

A study of a rare imprinting disorder has wide implications for our appreciation of music—Bach and karaoke included!
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Required Summer Reading

In a landmark study of why human beings believe what they believe and do what they do, Robert Sapolsky demonstrates that brains and cultures evolve; genes don't determine anything.
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A Genetic Revolution: No Two Neurons Alike

By William R. Klemm Ph.D. on May 10, 2017 in Memory Medic
You are what you have been made by your genes and environment. But what you choose to think and do can change who you are.

Hundreds of Psychology Studies are Wrong

By James M Sherlock on May 01, 2017 in Great (Ape) Expectations
By neglecting genetic influences on behaviour, numerous psychologists have confounded their own research.

What Is Madness?

By Sheila Kohler on April 17, 2017 in Dreaming for Freud
Madness has also been a useful tool for autocratic governments in countries like Germany during the Nazi period, South Africa under apartheid, or the Soviet Union.

Are Humans Adapted to Modern Environments?

By Nigel Barber Ph.D. on April 11, 2017 in The Human Beast
Our two main theories of human behavior do a poor job of explaining how humans change to meet the demands of varied environments – but we do.

76 Reasons to Stay Single

Humans, like other animals, have evolved to spread our genes. Which begs the question: why does anyone stay single?

Do Twins Read Each Other's Minds?

By Nancy L. Segal Ph.D. on March 30, 2017 in Twofold
Some people think twin communicate telepathically, but research shows otherwise.