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Leading neuroscientist: Religious fundamentalism may be a ‘mental illness’ that can be ‘cured’

A leading neurologist at the University of Oxford said this week that recent developments meant that science may one day be able to identify religious fundamentalism as a “mental illness” and a cure it.

During a talk at the Hay Literary Festival in Wales on Wednesday, Kathleen Taylor was asked what positive developments she anticipated in neuroscience in the next 60 years.

“One of the surprises may be to see people with certain beliefs as people who can be treated,” she explained, according to The Times of London. “Somebody who has for example become radicalised to a cult ideology – we might stop seeing that as a personal choice that they have chosen as a result of pure free will and may start treating it as some kind of mental disturbance.”

“I am not just talking about the obvious candidates like radical Islam or some of the more extreme cults,” she explained. “I am talking about things like the belief that it is OK to beat your children. These beliefs are very harmful but are not normally categorized as mental illness.” (The Raw Story).

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The Paradox of Mental Health: Over-Treatment and Under-Recognition

Mental Health Room Renovations

Among all the conditions in the world of health, mental health occupies a unique and paradoxical place. On the one hand is over-treatment and over-medicalization of mental health issues, often fueled by a pharmaceutical industry interested in the broadening of the boundaries of “illness” and in the creation of more and wider diagnostic categories and thus markets for “selling sickness.” On the other hand exists profound under-recognition of the suffering and breadth of mental health issues affecting millions of people across geographies, which is a global problem. (PLOS Medicine).

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The Saddest Tweeters Live in Texas

The town of Beaumont is known as “Texas … with a little something extra.” But the industrial town along the Gulf Coast now has a more dubious distinction: It’s been named the saddest city in America—at least, if you’re measuring sadness on Twitter.

That’s according to a group of researchers at the Vermont Complex Systems Center, who analyzed over 80 million words from more than ten million geotagged tweets written throughout 2011. The results of their study, published Wednesday in the journal PLoS ONE, showed that the happiest tweeters in the U.S. live in Napa, California, and their sad counterparts live mostly in the Rust Belt and along the Gulf Coast border. (National Geographic).

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Ask a Bartender: What Cocktail Should Disappear Forever?

I have next to no interest in alcohol and never frequent bars, but I now know what drinks to order if I want my bartender to look down on me. Most despised drink is Long Island Iced Tea, in case you were wondering. Bad things happen to people who order this drink, according to many of the bartenders polled. (Serious Eats)

On the other hand, I can see exactly where these baristas are coming from. (Serious Eats)

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Last man alive born in 19th century

With the death in Barbados on Thursday of James Emmanuel ”Doc” Sisnett, at the age of 113 years and 90 days, Jiroemon Kimura, of Japan, has become the last man alive to have been born in the 19th century.

Literally the last man. There are, according to the Gerontolgy Research Group at UCLA, 21 women born before New Year’s Day, 1901, who are still with us, most of them living in the United States or Japan, with others in Europe and Canada.

But while the females born in the reign of Queen Victoria strongly outnumber him, Mr Kimura, born on April 19, 1897, has one record the girls can’t match – not just yet, anyway. At 116, the ”supercentenarian” is the oldest human on the planet. (Sydney Morning Herald via Boing Boing)