The science corner: What exactly is the placebo effect?
Science, Pseudoscience, & Media Literacy

What Exactly Is the Placebo Effect?

We've probably all heard of the placebo effect, but what is it, and how does it work? For something that happens regularly, it's not all that well understood. A placebo is any substance that's not intended or expected to have any therapeutic effect. Ethically, it generally wouldn't be considered acceptable to give a patient a… Continue reading What Exactly Is the Placebo Effect?

Things that make you go hmm... Strange attitudes about mental illness
Stigma

Attitudes About Mental Illness That Make You Go Hmm…

While doing some research for my upcoming book on stigma, I came across a 2004 discussion paper on Stigma and Work. It was written by Heather Stuart, a public health faculty member at Queen's University in Canada. It quickly became clear that the author's PhD in epidemiology didn't prevent her from having some strange attitudes… Continue reading Attitudes About Mental Illness That Make You Go Hmm…

What Is Series... Insights Into Psychology on Mental Health @ Home
What Is... Psychology Series

What Is… The Stanford Prison Experiment

In this series, I dig a little deeper into the meaning of psychology-related terms.  This week we'll look at the Stanford prison experiment. The Stanford prison experiment was a social psychology study carried out at Stanford University in 1971.  Male student volunteers were randomly assigned to be either "prisoners" or "guards" in a mock prison… Continue reading What Is… The Stanford Prison Experiment

Mental Health @ Home Science Corner - Can you believe statistics? - image of different types of charts and graphs
Science, Pseudoscience, & Media Literacy

Can You Believe Statistics?

There are all kinds of statistics that get thrown around, some of which appear rather dubious.  As a result, there seems to be a lot of suspicion about statistics in general.  But is that warranted? Let's start with what statistics are.  According to Wikipedia, statistics is "the discipline that concerns the collection, organization, displaying, analysis,… Continue reading Can You Believe Statistics?

cannabis plant leaves
Mental Health

What Does the Research Say on Cannabis and Mental Illness?

Cannabis.  It's a plant that's well known for getting people high, but it's also become increasingly accepted for medicinal purposes, particularly for pain and nausea.  But what do we know about the interaction between cannabis and mental illness? There's been a clearly established link between cannabis use and triggering the onset of psychotic illness in… Continue reading What Does the Research Say on Cannabis and Mental Illness?

nature vs nurture building blocks
Health & Health Care, Science, Pseudoscience, & Media Literacy

Nature vs. Nurture: Findings from Dunedin Study

IMDB I recently learned from a fellow blogger about the Dunedin Study, which explored the issue of nature vs. nurture and turned up some fascinating results.  The study followed a group of 1000 individuals born in 1972 in the New Zealand city of Dunedin.  Interviewing and testing with these individuals still continues, and the study… Continue reading Nature vs. Nurture: Findings from Dunedin Study

chemistry lab experiment
Science, Pseudoscience, & Media Literacy

Research Design and Why It Matters

geralt on Pixabay I have previously written about improving research literacy to gain greater understanding of mental health research.  In that post, I described some of the terms commonly used in research.  In this post, I'll talk about some of the common types of research design for both quantitative and qualitative studies. Quantitative research Quantitative… Continue reading Research Design and Why It Matters

evidence-based treatment
Depression

What the STAR*D Study Means for Depression Treatment

geralt on Pixabay The Sequenced Treatment Alternatives to Relieve Depression (STAR*D) trial studied 2876 people with major depressive disorder to evaluate their response to depression treatment in a real-world setting.  Unlike the randomized controlled trials that are often used to evaluate a drug's efficacy, there were few exclusion criteria, the patient and their physician knew… Continue reading What the STAR*D Study Means for Depression Treatment

Mental Health @ Home Science Corner - Why Research Literacy Matters - image of an owl sitting on a book
Science, Pseudoscience, & Media Literacy

Why Research Literacy Matters in Mental Health

We're regularly bombarded with news of the latest scientific research findings, and sometimes it seems like you can find a study to tell you just about anything.  My concern with news reporting of research findings is that many people (including members of the media) have relatively limited research literacy.  Research literacy refers to the ability… Continue reading Why Research Literacy Matters in Mental Health