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Whistleblowers speak out about illegal or unethical actions at work. One of most striking aspects of listening to whistleblowers is how they feel silenced. As one whistleblower put it, "They wouldn't talk about it, and they wouldn't talk about not talking about it." Silence does not just mean the absence of speech. Silence means that one party to the dialogue refuses to engage the other. Whistleblowers try to talk about what the organization is doing. Their bosses will only talk about the whistleblowers and their problems. "Nuts and sluts" is the name given to this strategy by experienced whistleblowers, in which the goal of the organization is to turn the issue into one of the mental health or morality of the whistleblower. What is unsaid, what cannot be spoken, is almost always the moral and ideological corruption of the organization. Corruption means the loss of an organization's mission. Society is a conspiracy of silence against those who cross an invisible boundary that most of us will not recognize, for to do so would establish our willingness to do almost anything to belong.
A recent paper, “Parkinson's disease mild cognitive impairment classifications and neurobehavioral symptoms” (McDermott et al., 2017), provides an interesting comparison of the influence of different criteria for Parkinson's disease with mild cognitive impairment (PD-MCI) on progression to dementia (PDD). Unfortunately, McDermott et al. (2017) incorrectly stated that “only 21% of PD-MCI participants (identified with a 1.5 SD cut-off) converted to PDD within four years” (p.6) in our study (Wood et al., 2016). However, the important point made by Wood et al. (2016) was that the proportion of conversions to PDD was 51% when the PD-MCI diagnosis required a minimum of two 1.5 SD impairments within any single cognitive domain, whereas additional PD-MCI patients classified with one impairment at 1.5 SD in each of the two domains (but never two impairments in the same domain) had a non-significant risk of dementia relative to non-MCI patients (11% vs. 6% converted, respectively). Our PDD conversion rate was 38% when combining both 1.5 SD criteria (21/56 PD-MCI patients vs. 4/65 non-MCI patients converted); McDermott et al. (2017) found a 42% conversion rate over three years for similarly described PD-MCI patients (10/24 PD-MCI patients vs. 0/27 non-MCI patients converted). Our study was also part of a multinational study (n = 467) showing that PD-MCI has predictive validity beyond known demographic and PD-specific factors of influence (Hoogland et al., 2017). All three studies found that multiple cognitive domain impairments are common in PD-MCI. Nonetheless, the research community needs to clarify the association between PD-MCI subtypes and, especially, the optimal cognitive markers for dementia risk in PD patients.
Studies using acute tryptophan depletion (ATD) to examine the effects of a rapid reduction in serotonin function have shown a reduction in global cognitive status during ATD in Alzheimer's disease (AD) and Parkinson's disease (PD). Based on the severe cholinergic loss evident in dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) and Parkinson's disease and dementia (PDD), we predicted that a reduction of global cognitive status during ATD would be greater in these conditions than in AD.
Patients having DLB or PDD underwent ATD in a double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized, counterbalanced, crossover design.
While the study intended to test 20 patients, the protocol was poorly tolerated and terminated after six patients attempted, but only four patients – three with DLB and one with PDD – completed the protocol. The Modified Mini-Mental State Examination (3MSE) score was reduced in all three DLB patients and unchanged in the PDD and dementia patient during ATD compared with placebo.
This reduction in global cognitive function and the poor tolerability may fit with the hypothesis that people with dementia with Lewy bodies have sensitivity to the effects of reduced serotonin function.
Contrary to the view of trauma popularized by literary theorists, Trauma and Forgiveness argues that the traumatized are capable of representing their experience and that we should therefore listen more and theorize less. Using stories and case studies, including testimonies from Holocaust survivors, as well as the victims of 'ordinary' trauma, C. Fred Alford shows that, while the traumatized are generally capable of representing their experience, this does little to heal them. He draws on the British Object Relations tradition in psychoanalysis to argue that forgiveness, which might be expected to help heal the traumatized, is generally an attempt to avoid the hard work of mourning losses that can never be made whole. Forgiveness is better seen as a virtue in the classical sense, a recognition of human vulnerability. The book concludes with an extended case study of the essayist Jean Améry and his refusal to forgive.
Man Is by Nature a Political Animal: Evolution, Biology, and Politics. Edited by Peter K. Hatemi and Rose McDermott. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2011. 352p. $80.00 cloth, $27.50 paper.
Peter K. Hatemi and Rose McDermott's Man Is by Nature a Political Animal brings together some of the most important social scientists working at the intersection of political science, psychology, biology, and cognitive neuroscience. Given recent advances in cognitive neuroscience and given the proliferation of work in political science that draws on these advances, we have decided to invite a range of political scientists to comment on the promise and the limits of this line of inquiry. What can scientific developments in psychology, biology, and neuroscience tell us about “human nature”? Can these discourses reckon with the variation in time and space that has traditionally been at the heart of political science, perhaps even going back to the classic text from which Hatemi and McDermott derive their title, Aristotle's Politics?—Jeffrey C. Isaac, Editor