Does anyone remember “lobotomy”?

Picture of brain surgery

The New York Times recent Surgery for Mental Ills Offers Both Hope and Risk raises, for me, one big question: why the enthusiasm for bringing experimental brain-fu*king to the public’s attention right now? As the article reports but does not underscore in the name of balance, the history of psychosurgery is one of moral and medical failure, though failures recognized only in retrospect. What could be so different now? That we’re not considering lobotomies (which sever the frontal lobes) but cingulotomies (which sever into the anterior cingulate) and capsulotomies (which sever the connections between the cortex and the medulla that make up the internal capsule)?

h/t to ARPH’s Psychosurgery promoted by the NYT: Here we go, again; for a more optimistic take on this, see also Mind Hack’s Psychosurgery : new cutting edge or short, sharp shock (the only comment up there gives some pause, however).

On reasonable accommodation

Here’s the beginning of a recent autobiographical post from AbnormalDiversity, where you can go if you want to read the whole thing. It tells us a lot about how universities are organized, and what our social priorities are.

OK, so I’ve found out that the midterm in my women and gender studies class requires that I write three essays during the course of the exam, and I know that it’ll be really painful to write that much by hand in a short time, especially when I’m anxious. Well, since difficulty with writing can be a feature of autistic people, and I’m registered at the university as an autistic student, shouldn’t I be able to use a computer to write my exam?

Not so fast! They can’t just take my word for it! They need a doctor’s note, which means I need to bug my Dad about making an appointment with the doctor, so that I can go and tell her what I need and she can write it down. Why is this necessary, again? My doctor doesn’t actually know what accommodations I need, she’s literally just writing down whatever I tell her, so why can’t I just tell them directly?

But anyway, we get the doctor’s appointment, a couple of weeks after I first figured out that I needed it. Then I miss it. We reschedule, and finally I’ve got a doctor’s note saying I need to use a computer for essay exams.

No more toxic BPA in our food

For those in the US, a simple petition to sign in the process to have BPA banned from food-related packaging

http://act.credoaction.com/campaign/fda_no_bpa

Canada already banned BPA in 2008 in infant food containers, and there was a more widespread voluntary withdrawal of BPA products by retailers, likely anticipating (and so avoiding) consumer backlash. If the sorts of people you want around are ones who are healthier rather than less healthy, but this is news to you, then check out the info below Continue reading

The Scientific Review Process: One Perspective

Since I was at a talk earlier today, in part, on Steve Fuller’s seemingly crazed proposals for reforming the division of labour between “public” and “private” science, with seeming implications for how peer review would be handled, I now think that this is funniest of the variations on the parody video below that I’ve seen. h/t to Cruel Mistress, who has just posted it.

Nov 25: White Ribbon Day, and “Polytechnique”

White Ribbon Day was created by a handful of Canadian men in 1991 on the second anniversary of one man’s massacre of fourteen women in Montreal.  They began the White Ribbon Campaign to urge men to speak out against violence against women.

In 1999, the United Nations General Assembly declared November 25 the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women (IDEVAW) and the White Ribbon has become the symbol for the day.

See the following websites for international support for WRD; info on the related film Polytechnique also below the fold: Continue reading