What’s this brain reward system you keep talking about?

Mesolimbic pathway by User:Slashme; Patrick J. Lynch; User:Fvasconcellos licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0 In my last post, I talked about the hijacking of the brain's reward system and the role it plays in addiction. I need to expand on that, because this is a lot more complicated than it looks. It is fascinating from a Stoic viewpoint: How much… Continue reading What’s this brain reward system you keep talking about?

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A Disquiet in the Machine

What greater test for Stoicism is there than addiction? How would you know what is truly in your control when there are external forces that can hijack that control? By now, we know that addiction is just as great a disease as hypertension and diabetes. None are immune to its pull and all are at… Continue reading A Disquiet in the Machine

On Opioids

Vicodin, Lortab, Oxycontin, morphine... They are the source of all relief and of all ills. Of course, I exaggerate, but judging by the discourse around opioid deaths, we appear to be in a life-or-death struggle with these classes of medications. I would not presume to tell someone whether they should take opioids for pain or… Continue reading On Opioids

What’s up with the p-value?

Some of you may be familiar with this Nature news article describing the effort to lower the threshold of the p-value (from 0.05) for statistical significance. In the wake of major reproducibility crises in psychology and biomedicine, this issue is more pertinent. What's the p-value anyway? In the language of statisticians, it's the probability you… Continue reading What’s up with the p-value?

A Bayesian Model for Chronic Pain

I recently read a fascinating article from the UK by Tabor and colleagues (https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pcbi.1005142). It posits that chronic pain occurs because our brain can't accurately assess the threat to the body. As this continues, our perception continues with that out-of-date analysis, resulting in the maintenance of pain. Let's move back a bit and talk about… Continue reading A Bayesian Model for Chronic Pain

Bayes: Update complete!

Let's start by jumping right into the deep end: Bayesian analysis. If you've ever taken statistics, then more likely than not, you've heard of this concept. However, I bet most people's training have been in frequentist statistics, so they're not as familiar with Bayesian statistics. I will avoid going on a long history lesson and… Continue reading Bayes: Update complete!