Curating the Internet: Science and technology micro-summaries for August 5, 2019

in rsslog •  2 months ago  (edited)

Scientists collaborating across contients to produce human-monkey hybrids in China; Claimed shortcomings and reform opportunities for modern psychiatry; A Steem essay covering the topic of mental illness; Getting closer to a blood test for Alzheimer's disease; Google auction to decide alternate search providers in Android's set-up


Straight from my RSS feed:
Links and micro-summaries from my 1000+ daily headlines. I filter them so you don't have to.

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pixabay license: source.

  1. Scientists are making human-monkey hybrids in China - Spanish-born biologist, Juan Carlos Izpisúa Belmonte, working out of California's Salk Institute is collaborating with Chinese researchers on this effort. According to the scientists, the goal is to create a way to grow human replacement organs. The article speculates that the work is being done in China because Federal funds cannot be used, legally, for this purpose. The effort is also receiving funding from the Catholic University of Murcia. Suggesting that this is an inefficient way to grow human organs, the article also speculates that the research may have a deeper theoretical purpose, such as understanding the evolutionary distance between our species. h/t Daniel Lemire

  2. Can Psychiatry Heal Itself? - Revisiting a topic from Science and technology micro-summaries for July 15, 2019, the article takes another look at the ideas from Medical Nihilism, with a particular focus on psychiatry, and a review of the book, Mind Fixers: Psychiatry’s Troubled Search for the Biology of Mental Illness. The article notes how the 20th century dawned on psychiatry with promise when syphilis turned out to be easily cured with antibiotics, but the history of the rest of the century was more ambiguous. In particular, it points to the 1920s eugenics movement, followed by a sort of cheer-leading from the media that overemphasized the positive and ignored the negative, starting around the 1940s. It also notes how the biological advancements of the 1980s and 1990s have not converted into major psychiatric advances, suggesting that pharmaceutical firms view psychiatrists mostly as sales agents, and saying that many treatments are little better than placebos, but come with side effects such as "weight gain, tremors, addiction, and suicide." To resolve psychiatry's issues, the article prescribes a series of reforms, advising that the field should stop the hype and premature victory declarations, expand dialog with the social sciences and humanities, listen more carefuly to so-called "'survivors' of mental-health treatment", and focus on severe mental illness - leaving psychologists, social workers, and non-physicians to treat the "worried well".

  3. STEEM Mental Illness – A Straight-Forward Discussion about a Non Straight-Forward Topic. - @abigail-dantes discusses the topic of mental illness, pointing out that the subject is filled with grey areas. As an example, the article notes that no single behavior defines a mental illness, but instead the diagnoses rest on a series of criteria such as maladaptiveness, stastistical deviation from the norm, and suffering. The article also notes that although we are coming to view mental illness as a brain disease, and to realize that symptoms of mental illnesses come and go in most people over the course of a human lifetime, this change in perspective has not led to a reduction in the stereotype inducing stigma that continues to be associated with mental illness. (A beneficiary setting of 10% for @abigail-dantes has been applied to this post.)

  4. Alzheimer's blood test 'one step closer' - By measuring protein in the blood, US researchers were able to predict its build-up in the brain. UK researchers reviewed the results and sounded an optimistic note, saying that the results are promising, and bring us a step closer to a blood test for Alzheimer's disease, but that larger scale studies are needed. h/t RealClear Science

  5. Google will hold an auction for alternative search providers in the EU - After a recent EU mandate to include alternative search providers in the Android set-up process, Google has announced plans to auction off 3 slots for alternate search engines. Starting in 2020, the three competitors will all appear along-side of Google when users are setting up new Android devices. The company says the auction is a fair and objective way to choose the products that should appear. According to the company's blog post, the auction will be a first-price sealed-bid auction.


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