Nothing in Biology Makes Sense: Treating depersonalization disorder

Barnacles. Photo by JustCallMe_Bethy.

This week at Nothing in Biology Makes Sense!, my brother Jonathan Yoder—a third-year medical student—makes his science blogging debut with a post on the treatments available for depersonalization disorder, a condition in which patients feel disconnected from their own bodies.

There are currently no definitive treatments that have been developed regarding DPD. This is due largely to the fact that there is no well-defined pathology regarding its onset. Given its estimated prevalence of 0.8-2.0% in the general population, it is about as widespread as schizophrenia. Yet little research has been done to understand its root cause and treatment.

Jon’s post is a view inside evidence-based medicine, in which a physician weighs peer-reviewed scientific results to decide on a treatment strategy. Go read the whole thing. ◼

Not that I watch Monday Night Football, either

Slacktivist Fred Clark, as ever, draws an apt comparison:

This suggests that anyone who hopes to become an ethical person would be better off watching football on television every Monday night than attending worship at a Southern Baptist church every Sunday morning. Monday Night Football might not make you a better person, but the Southern Baptist Convention has long employed an “ethics” spokesman who seems determined to make you a worse one.

Actually, now that I think of it, much of what I like about the Slacktivist is his apparently limitless ability re-frame Christianist bigotry as a failure to behave by standards of basic human decency. Jesus said of simple courtesy, “even the pagans can do that.” Fred Clark says, “Hey, folks? The pagans are doing it better.” ◼

Science online, a pox upon your pox parties edition

Halloween hangover, anyone? Photo by bunnygoth.


Nothing in Biology Makes Sense: Timing is everything

A euglossine bee gathers scent compounds inside an orchid. Photo by Alex Popovkin, Russian in Brazil.

This week at Nothing in Biology Makes Sense, the big science post comes from … me. It’s about a big new study of orchids and the perfume-collecting euglossine bees that pollinate them.

The study by a team out of Harvard—lead-authored by Santiago R. Ramírez—tests three predictions arising from the proposition that bees and orchids are equally dependent on the scent-collection mutualism. First, as I noted above, a mutually-dependent relationship should mean that bee and orchid species often form in tandem, and that the euglossine bees and the orchids have spent most of their histories together. Second, the euglossines should rely mainly on scents from orchids, not from other sources. Finally, euglossines and orchids should show similar degrees of dependency. An orchid that relies on only one bee species should use a bee species that only collects scent from that one orchid; bees that collect scent from multiple orchids should use orchids that are, themselves, involved with multiple bee species.

To find out whether or not these predictions are borne out, go read the whole post. ◼