Mon, 17 September 2018
The untold story of how hereditary data in mental hospitals gave rise to the science of human heredity
Theodore M. Porter is Distinguished Professor of History and holds the Peter Reill Chair at the University of California, Los Angeles. His books include Karl Pearson: The Scientific Life in a Statistical Age, Trust in Numbers: The Pursuit of Objectivity in Science and Public Life, and The Rise of Statistical Thinking, 1820–1900 (all Princeton). He lives in Altadena, California.
"I suspect this bold, dauntingly well-documented book will prove difficult to dismiss."--David Dobbs, Nature
"By following the technologies of paperwork and data collection, Porter has unearthed a radically new history of human genetics, one that evokes not the double helix but the humble filing cabinet."--Emily M. Kern, Science
"Fascinating but scary. Genetics in the Madhouse . . . uses date collection in psychiatric hospitals to show the stages when research straddles subjectivity and science."--Liz Else and Simon Ings, New Scientist
"Porter takes a fascinating look at early attempts to tame unruly minds with big data and statistics."--Bruce Bower, Science News
"[An] absorbing account of the role played by mental illness studies in gaining an early understanding of human heredity."--Robin McKie, The Observer
"Genetics in the Madhouse provides a fascinating examination of investigations of human heredity, conducted long before DNA could be studied in laboratories."--Glenn Altschuler, Philadelphia Inquirer
"We’ve all been taught how genetics got its start in Mendel’s pea patch. But the real story is more complicated, and a lot more interesting. In Genetics in the Madhouse, Theodore Porter chronicles some of the early history of heredity—not in gardens, but in asylums. The book is a fascinating exploration of the long-running conviction that madness, criminality, and other mental traits can be passed down from parent to child."—Carl Zimmer, author of She Has Her Mother’s Laugh: The Powers, Perversions, and Potential of Heredity
"Porter’s masterful book casts the fresh light of sanity over a previously uncharted sea of data on madness. He brings analytical order to an intriguingly chaotic subject, illuminating the challenges of ‘big data’ from a past era when the plasticity of categorization resulted in data being deduced from conclusions, a problem with uncanny similarities to those we face today."—Stephen M. Stigler, author of The Seven Pillars of Statistical Wisdom
"Porter brilliantly reveals the debt that the science of human heredity owes to the data gathering, numerical tables, and statistical interpretations that emerged from attempts to account for mental and physical disease among patients in asylums, hospitals, and prisons. Richly informed by archival sources, his book is masterfully argued, lucidly written, and boldly original. A landmark in the history of medicine, science, and mental illness."—Daniel J. Kevles, author of In the Name of Eugenics: Genetics and the Uses of Human Heredity
"Porter serves as a captivating and intriguing guide into the largely uncredited history of statistical and genetic data derived from the pre-Mendelian asylums, prisons, and schools. Genetics in the Madhouse succeeds in illuminating our present concepts of heredity and eugenics by leaning into the complexities of human science."—Aaron T. Beck, University of Pennsylvania
"Genetics in the Madhouse is a fascinating examination of the role played by big data in the history of genetics and its subsequent exploitation in the disgraced science of eugenics. Porter weaves together complex elements of historical influences, personalities, and seismic events almost like a novel, but the difference is that his story cannot have a neat and tidy resolution. Beautifully written and admirably researched, this is an enthralling book."—Catharine Arnold, author of Bedlam: London and Its Mad
"Important and original. Drawing on a wealth of archival research in many languages across many different national settings, Porter reexamines the role of psychiatry in the study of human heredity. Genetics in the Madhouse is an enormously impressive book."—Andrew Scull, author of Madness in Civilization: A Cultural History of Insanity, from the Bible to Freud, from the Madhouse to Modern Medicine
"A very significant contribution to the history of the human sciences, statistics, and eugenics. Porter rewards readers not only with astonishing insights into nineteenth-century data collection on the mentally ill and feebleminded, but also with the pleasure of reading a good, intriguing story."—Staffan Müller-Wille, coauthor of A Cultural History of Heredity
Distinguished Professor of History & Vice Chair for Academic Personnel
I teach various topics pertaining more or less directly to history of science.
My first book, The Rise of Statistical Thinking (1986), was about the development of statistical ideas and methods in fields ranging from the social science of statistics to biological evolution and thermodynamics. This interest in the relations of the natural and the social is also central to my Trust in Numbers: The Pursuit of Objectivity in Science and Public Life (1995). There I emphasize that effective quantification is never a matter simply of discovery, but always also of administration, hence of social and technological power. Quantitative objectivity is in a way a form of standardization, the use of rules to confine and tame the personal and subjective. Science did not always idealize this mechanical form of objectivity, but has come to do so (at least in its rhetoric) as an adaptation to modern political and administrative cultures—which it at the same time has helped to shape. In both of these books I invert the usual account of the relations between natural and social science, by showing how some of the crucial assumptions and methods of science arose within contexts of application. The history of quantification is the history of a social technology, reflecting a sensibility that is as closely linked to fields like accounting and cost-benefit analysis and to social science as to physics. The ethic of systematic calculation as a basis for social decisions—and often, as in inferential statistics, also for scientific demonstration—responds to a political culture marked by distrust of elites and even, in a way, of experts.
Direct download: raj_persaud_talks_to_theodore_porter_about_his_new_book.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:52pm UTC
Tue, 27 June 2017
Russell Grant Foster, CBE, FRS FMedSci is a British professor of circadian neuroscience, the Director of the Nuffield Laboratory of Ophthalmology and the Head of the Sleep and Circadian Neuroscience Institute.
'Fundamentally, what I'm excited about and trying to understand is how the core mechanisms of sleep and 24-hour circadian rhythms are generated and regulated within the central nervous system, and then use this fundamental knowledge for translational studies – to inform therapeutic approaches that will improve the quality of life for individuals and their family across a broad spectrum of health conditions where sleep is severely disrupted, from eye disease to mental illness.
Mon, 28 November 2016
Professor Kamaldeep Bhui works as a clinical academic psychiatrist in London. He qualified in Medicine at the United Medical Schools of Guy's & St Thomas in 1988, and subsequently worked at the Maudsley, Institute of Psychiatry, Guy's, King's, St Thomas' Hospitals and Medical Schools being appointed to his first consultant clinical academic post as a senior lecturer in 2000.
He was appointed Professor in 2003 at QMUL. Previously he was a Wellcome Training Fellow in Health Services Research and Senior Medical Officer in the policy research programme at Department of Health. He is Director at the Cultural Consultation Service at QMUL (Culturalconsultion.org) and Director of MSc Psychological Therapies, MSc Transcultural Mental Healthcare at QMUL and MSc Mental Health & Law.
He is also the co-founder of Careif (www.careif.org), an international mental health charity that promotes work for young people and their health through culture, sport and arts.
Professor Bhui is President of WACP and Public Health Lead at the Royal College of Psychiatrists.
He is editor of British Journal of Psychiatry, and International Journal of Culture and Mental Health.
He is on the editorial board of Transcultural Psychiatry, Ethnicity and Health, Int.J.Social Psychiatry, and Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology.
His recent paper is titled:
Pathways to sympathies for violent protest and terrorism
Kamaldeep Bhui, Maria Joao Silva, Raluca A. Topciu and Edgar Jones
and is published in The British Journal of Psychiatry
From the paper:
Radicalisation is proposed to explain why some individuals begin to support and take part in violent extremism. However, there is little empirical population research to inform prevention, and insufficient attention to the role of psychiatric vulnerabilities. In this study a cross-sectional survey of a representative sample of Pakistani and Bangladeshi men and women from two English cities were investigated. Depressive symptoms were associated with a higher risk of Sympathies for Violent Protest and Terrorism.
Fri, 21 October 2016
From the Princeton University Press site:
From New York Times bestselling author and economics columnist Robert Frank, a compelling book that explains why the rich underestimate the importance of luck in their success, why that hurts everyone, and what we can do about it
How important is luck in economic success? No question more reliably divides conservatives from liberals. As conservatives correctly observe, people who amass great fortunes are almost always talented and hardworking. But liberals are also correct to note that countless others have those same qualities yet never earn much. In recent years, social scientists have discovered that chance plays a much larger role in important life outcomes than most people imagine. In Success and Luck, bestselling author and New York Times economics columnist Robert Frank explores the surprising implications of those findings to show why the rich underestimate the importance of luck in success—and why that hurts everyone, even the wealthy.
Frank describes how, in a world increasingly dominated by winner-take-all markets, chance opportunities and trivial initial advantages often translate into much larger ones—and enormous income differences—over time; how false beliefs about luck persist, despite compelling evidence against them; and how myths about personal success and luck shape individual and political choices in harmful ways.
But, Frank argues, we could decrease the inequality driven by sheer luck by adopting simple, unintrusive policies that would free up trillions of dollars each year—more than enough to fix our crumbling infrastructure, expand healthcare coverage, fight global warming, and reduce poverty, all without requiring painful sacrifices from anyone. If this sounds implausible, you'll be surprised to discover that the solution requires only a few, noncontroversial steps.
Compellingly readable, Success and Luck shows how a more accurate understanding of the role of chance in life could lead to better, richer, and fairer economies and societies.
Robert H. Frank is the H. J. Louis Professor of Management and Professor of Economics at Cornell University's Johnson School of Management. He has been an Economic View columnist for the New York Times for more than a decade and his books include The Winner-Take-All Society (with Philip J. Cook), The Economic Naturalist, The Darwin Economy (Princeton), and Principles of Economics (with Ben S. Bernanke). He lives in Ithaca, New York.
Wed, 29 June 2016
The Euthansia Program in Nazi-Psychiatry - Dr Michael Von Cranach talks to Dr Raj Persaud about German Psychiatry in the Nazi era.
The “Euthanasia “ Program in Nazi-Psychiatry
Dr Michael Von Cranach, an eminent German Psychiatrist, discusses with Dr Raj Persaud his research into the Nazi era, at the Royal College of Psychiatrists Annual Congress, London, 27th of June 2016.
Tue, 28 June 2016
Professor Frank Schneider, M.D., Ph.D. Chair, Department of Psychiatry, Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics, University Hospital Aachen and Adjunct Professor of Psychiatry, School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, also Past President of the German Society for Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, talks to Dr Raj Persaud about the role of the German Society for Psychiatry and Psychotherapy in the mass murder of psychiatric patients which occurred in Germany during the Second World War at the hands of Nazis and Nazi ideology. How was it that elite doctors and psychiatrists, caring and highly accomplished clinicians, could so rapidly be transformed into killing machines? Some 200,000 psychiatric patients eventually lost their lives, often at the hands of their own doctors – could the same thing happen again? The interview occurs at the Royal College of Psychiatrist Annual Congress 2016 just before Professor Schneider takes part in a panel discussion on how German psychiatric patients suffered during the Nazi era partly as a result of the rise in eugenics or genetic theories concerning the spread of mental illness. Is it possible that the modern rise of biological psychiatry could presage the same atrocities occurring again?
Sun, 26 June 2016
What is it like to be stalked? In this astonishing interview a victim of stalking describes in vivid detail what it feels like to be stalked. Do her experiences explain why stalkiing has been described as a kind of psychological rape or terrorism?
Direct download: raj_talks_to_eleanor_about_her_terrifying_stalking_experience.mp4
Category:general -- posted at: 10:18pm UTC
Mon, 6 July 2015