Many species of seahorse could become extinct in the next 20 years due to massive harvesting for traditional Chinese medicine. Photograph: Oli Scarff/Getty Images

In a previous column (April 2013), I drew attention to the powerful impact of beliefs on behaviour and outlined some significant risks that mig(...)

 A ‘parasite zapper’, which claims to rid the body of parasites by allowing the nine-volt battery to pass a current through the patient’s body

I’ve just finished reading a very interesting article by Prof Thomas Patterson of Texas State University. He lectures on a number of topics inc(...)

A nebula in the constellation Orion, photographed in 1999. Photograph courtesy of Nasa

As I write this column, the incessant rain is wreaking havoc across the country and depressing the overall mood of the entire population. While(...)

The idea that nature reflects the work of a conscious designer remains a compelling one in the face of the immense complexity we see in the world arou(...)

Inexorable. The word just seemed to pop up with unusual regularity in my reading of late. Then one particular essay stopped me in my tracks. It was di(...)

Many interesting discussions arise over coffee. A recent example concerned changes in diet over the course of our lives in Ireland. The chat ranged fr(...)

The term “neuro” is popping up with increasing regularity these days. I’ve recently received brochures for events on the “neuroscience of psychotherap(...)

Alternative therapies: how does one appropriately prescribe ‘medicines’ that have not been shown to work, or have been shown not to work? Photograph: iStockphoto

A recent paper in PLOS ONE (a journal published by the Public Library of Science) raises some interesting questions about the public’s use of compleme(...)

An intriguing article in the June 2013 issue of the Psychologist journal got me thinking of BF Skinner, an old hero of mine. Skinner is one of the mos(...)

Sleep deprivation results in a deterioration of concentration, memory and general cognitive functioning. Photograph: Getty Images

Sleep and dreams occupy a significant proportion of our lives and yet are poorly understood. We spend about one-third of our lives asleep and onequart(...)