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Liz S's blog

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Thinking Positively ...about this paper

I am going to finish my thesis. I am going to finish this paper. I am going to pass the MCATs (wonderfully, might I add) when I take them in a week. Why all the self-affirmations? Perhaps this seems like the ramblings of a senior who is ready to move on with life, but I might actually be helping myself to do better on each of the above. What makes this possible is the glory of positive thinking. The idea that we can think positively about accomplishing a task, or just about life in general, and consciously affect our unconscious. We can actually will ourselves to do better, through the power of our I-function.

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Against Depression (the disease, and the image of the "heroic melancholy")

Against Depression Critique


What if van Gogh had taken Prozac? This is the central question of Against Depression, or at least the question that led Peter Kramer to write this book. After the publication of his book Listening to Prozac, Kramer noticed that at every stop along the book tour someone would inevitably ask this question. At first he brushes it off, annoyed, but eventually he comes to a realization—people do not have a full understanding of depression as a disease.

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The Biology of Anorexia Nervosa

             In order to be diagnosed with anorexia nervosa, a person must meet the DSM-IV criteria for the disorder. This includes a body weight less than 85% of that expected, a preoccupation with food or feelings of becoming fat, a disturbance in self-image, and the absence of a menstrual cycle in females.  An estimated .5-3.7% of females will meet these criteria—will suffer from anorexia nervosa—in their lifetime (6). Though these prevalence numbers are not as high as many other disorders, anorexia nervosa (AN) remains a serious concern; it has one of the highest mortality rates of any psychiatric disorder (5). But what causes AN? Many studies, and much media attention, have focused on environmental and cultural factors that play a role in the development of AN. But in addition to these factors, newer research suggests that there is also a biological basis that makes certain individuals more vulnerable to the disorder.

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"I aim to please" - The Extent of the Placebo Effect


             Many people have heard of the ‘placebo effect.’ Placebo pills, sometimes known as sugar pills, are the gold standard control used to demonstrate the effectiveness of drug treatments for conditions like depression, ADHD, anxiety, and so on. These pills carry no useful medication, but can affect change solely through suggestion. However, a placebo must not always come in pill form. The placebo effect can be seen in injections and, perhaps more surprisingly, surgical procedures. This, coupled with the fact that the placebo effect can occur for a range of mental health and medical conditions, illustrates that even a simple sugar pill, and the expectation that it brings, can alter both our brain and physiological state.

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