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Welcome to BrainHelper.org
Brain Fingerprints and the Law
Sunday, 24 January 2010


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ScienceDaily What if a jury could decide a man's guilt through mind reading? What if reading a defendant's memory could betray their guilt? And what constitutes 'intent' to commit murder? These are just some of the issues debated and reviewed in the inaugural issue of WIREs Cognitive Science, the latest interdisciplinary project from Wiley-Blackwell, which for registered institutions will be free for the first two years.

In the article "Neurolaw," in the inaugural issue of WIREs Cognitive Science, co-authors Walter Sinnott-Armstrong and Annabelle Belcher assess the potential for the latest cognitive science research to revolutionize the legal system.

Neurolaw, also known as legal neuroscience, builds upon the research of cognitive, psychological, and social neuroscience by considering the implications for these disciplines within a legal framework. Each of these disciplinary collaborations has been ground-breaking in increasing our knowledge of the way the human brain operates, and now neurolaw continues this trend.

One of the most controversial ways neuroscience is being used in the courtroom is through 'mind reading' and the detection of mental states. While only courts in New Mexico currently permit traditional lie detector, or polygraph, tests there are a number of companies claiming to have used neuroscience methods to detect lies. Some of these methods involve electroencephalography (EEG), whereby brain activity is measured through small electrodes placed on the scalp. This widely accepted method of measuring brain electrical potentials has already been used in two forensic techniques which have appeared in US courtrooms: brain fingerprinting and brain electrical oscillations signature (BEOS).

Brain fingerprinting purportedly tests for 'guilty knowledge,' or memory of a kind that only a guilty person could have. Other forms of guilt detection, using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), are based on the assumption that lying and truth-telling are associated with distinctive activity in different areas of the brain. These and other potential forms of 'mind reading' are still in development but may have far-reaching implications for court cases.

"Some proponents of neurolaw think that neuroscience will soon be used widely throughout the legal system and that it is bound to produce profound changes in both substantive and procedural law," conclude the authors. "Other leaders in neurolaw employ a less sanguine tone, urging caution so as to prevent misuses and abuses of neuroscience within courts, legislatures, prisons, and other parts of the legal system. Either way we need to be ready to prevent misuses and encourage legitimate applications of neuroscience and the only way to achieve these goals is for neuroscientists and lawyers to work together in the field of neurolaw."

As this paper shows, WIREs Cognitive Science takes an original interdisciplinary approach to understanding the key issues surrounding state-of-the-art cognitive research. Disciplines featured in the inaugural issue include topics as diverse as cognitive biology, computer science, linguistics, neuroscience, philosophy and psychology.

 
Depression Goes Untreated
Tuesday, 05 January 2010

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A national survey of 15,762 households by UCLA/Wayne State University researchers found that only 21 percent of Americans suffering from clinical depression receive medical care consistent with American Psychiatric Association guidelines. Half receive no treatment at all.

The majority of treated patients, nearly 45 percent, received psychotherapy with no medication. Only 34 percent of patients were prescribed antidepressants. Of that number, Mexican Americans and African Americans were prescribed antidepressants a third less often than Caucasians. Factors such as education, health insurance and income did not explain the lower rates of medication use.

African Americans and Mexican Americans faced the greatest barriers to mental healthcare and received adequate treatment only half as often as Caucasians. Depression is the leading cause of disability in the United States.

Impact

The findings unmasked disparities in healthcare access often overlooked when Latinos are inappropriately lumped together. This was especially true for Mexican Americans, who showed the greatest inequalities in mental health care. Lack of health insurance partly explained the disparity for Mexican Americans, but not for African Americans' low levels of treatment, suggesting other variables are at play.

Journal

The Archives of General Psychiatry publishes the findings in its January 2010 edition.

 
BrainHelper Chat a good tool to use for Communicating
Wednesday, 28 October 2009


BrainHelper Chat is a place where you can go to chat about current brain topics and communicate with people around the world in real time. Pick a time to meet someone and chat real-time. This can be helpful for the patient and the clinician in some circumstances.

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BrainHelper Chat uses AddOn Technology software to run the Chat Room.

Just click link below to go to the Chat and pick a Chat name, then Logon

You do not need to be a member of BrainHelper.org to use the Chat Room. Although, we would love your membership and support to one of the most comprehensive brain sites on the internet.

Logon to BrainHelper Chat

You can also enter by clicking on BrainHelper Chat in the Menu bar.


BrainHelper.org is not responsible for what is talked about in the chat room and will only be moderating special events and special guests on occasion. Please Enter at your own risk. If you have any problems associated with BrainHelper Chat, then send an email to This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it so that we may address it, thank you.

 
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