Today, science is puzzling out mental illness, contemplating the ins and outs of mass extinction, trying out nano-gardening, and training honeybees to seek out live landmines.
The 5th edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) was released Saturday, to mixed reactions
Published by the American Psychiatric Association (APA), the DSM is often used by doctors to diagnose mental health conditions in patients that meet specific sets of criteria. Among other changes, the fifth edition drops Asperger’s syndrome as a distinct condition and includes it under the diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder, revises diagnostic criteria for mental health disorders, and adds several new disorders, including “Binge Eating Disorder.”
The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) is not at all happy with DSM-5, noting particularly that the diagnoses are based on “clusters of clinical symptoms, not any objective laboratory measure,” and can hamper new research using genetics, cognitive science, imaging and other avenues to learn more about mental health. Critics also say the DSM-5 tends to “overpathologize” human behavior, but there are strong opinions on both sides.
Would humanity survive a mass extinction? Listen in at Town Hall Wednesday
Who: Annalee Newitz—Science and tech journalist, editor-in-chief of science-fiction/science blog io9, author of Scatter, Adapt, and Remember
What: Newitz talks about human history of dodging extinction, the one we could be on the cusp of, and suggests how we might survive again.
Where: Downstairs at Town Hall (enter on Seneca)
When: Wednesday, 7:30 – 9:00
Advance tickets are $5 online, and at the door starting at 6:30. Read more here.
Harvard researchers “grow” micron-scale crystal flowers
Wim Noorduin, a postdoctoral researcher, makes tiny gardens in a beaker of fluid. To make the flowers, Noorduin uses chemical gradients to shape the direction in which crystals grow. One of his gardens is around the base of the Lincoln Memorial on a penny.
Honeybees could help find unexploded mines
Using a sugar solution, scientists in Croatia are training honeybees to associate the scent of TNT explosive with the scent of their food. They hope these bees could help find unexploded mines that are sometimes missed by de-mining and pose a threat to citizens. Theoretically, heat-seeking cameras would follow the bees as they gathered around areas that smell of TNT. Go bees!