Is There a Gene for Postpartum Depression?

January 22, 2009  |  Posted by John Medina | No Comments
This article first appeared in the Psychiatric Times. Learn about Brain Rules here.

The transition to parenthood is filled to the brim with behavioral extremes. Parents who are otherwise emotionally stable are in one moment thrilled and happier than they have ever been and confused and fearful the next. A friend of mine once theorized that these reactions occur because “parenting is an amateur sport” played by persons who are highly motivated to do the right thing but who often have no idea what that right thing is.

For some couples, the transition to parenthood is not filled with this rich mixture of great perplexity and great joy. For them, parenthood is mostly filled with sadness and even despair. Postpartum depression was originally coined to describe this experience in the mother, although it is becoming clear that fathers can experience very similar emotions too.

Is there a molecular basis for postpartum depression—at least for the type that mothers experience? Recent findings, which I describe here, may answer this question. First, we will focus on several background behavioral and molecular issues and then move on to some interesting data about births in genetically manipulated laboratory animals.

Download the PDF to read the complete article

Get brain in gear for new year

January 1, 2009  |  Posted by John Medina | No Comments
People sometimes make New Year's resolutions for the wrong reason.

John Medina knows a lot about how people operate. He doesn't make resolutions, but he does have some advice for anyone who wants to have a better life in 2009. Take care of your brain.
--Read Jerry Large's column in the Seattle Times

--Excerpt below from interview

Given the 12 Brain Rules, what advice do you have for marketers?

Three pieces of advice:
1. The brain is not interested in learning. And it is not interested in buying. It is interested in surviving.

2. It fleshes out this pre-occupation by creating and responding to two internal motivations, both strikingly Darwinian. The brain is interested in anything that will provide it a benefit. And it will do whatever it can to avoid pain.

3. Both motivations are related to a single goal: passing our genes onto the next generation. That sounds like it all comes down to sex, but it really comes down to endurance – in terms of millions of years. We barely survived our womb in the Serengeti, but we did so because of the overwhelming dictatorship of these twin interior forces.

H.M., a man with no hippocampus, dies at 82

December 29, 2008  |  Posted by John Medina | No Comments
Each time Suzanne Corkin met H.M. during one of his visits to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, she would ask him if they had met before. He would smile and say yes, and when she asked him where he would reply, “In high school.” They did not actually meet until he was in his late 30s, but they worked together for nearly five decades, and the last time they met he still failed to recognise her. The most she ever elicited in him was a sense of familiarity.
Economist Obit

John Medina explains how H.M. helped us understand how memory works (watch on You Tube).

Brain Rules in HD

November 27, 2008  |  Posted by John Medina | No Comments
Watch the introduction to the Brain Rules DVD below in HD (or here). The DVD is included with every hardcover book.

Below is the exercise segment in HD. You can also view it here. To learn more about how exercise boosts brain power, check out the exercise tutorial.