Playing the ‘A’ game: Opening up the black-box of academic publishing

Interesting information


If, like me, you are new to the academic publishing game, have you ever wondered what happens to your work once your tightly crossed fingers have pushed the ‘submit’ button on the impersonal manuscript submission site? Where does it go? What decisions are being made about your paper submission ‘on the other side’? I was offered the chance last week to attend a Paper Development Masterclass at the Centre for Professional Service Firms, Cass Business School (City University London). This masterclass was designed to offer early career researchers a peek inside this publishing black-box.

The day began with a panel discussion led by editors from the ‘A’ ranked journals Human Relations (HR), Administrative Science Quarterly (ASQ), Journal of Management Studies (JMS) and Journal of Professions and Organization (JPO). The discussion centred on the decision-making process of how editors, and then reviewers, decide whether or not to publish your blood, sweat…

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Causes of Drug Addiction – Genetic Vulnerability

This is the first of the posts in the addiction and natural medicine series.

In this post, we will discuss the genetic factors in play with addiction.

Perhaps one of the most researched ways for researching alcoholism, it is something that runs in families, and the risk of being an alcoholic is 4x more amongst the males of fathers who were alcoholic than sons of non-alcoholic fathers.  However, we also see that kids of alcoholics do not become alcoholics & there are about half of the alcoholics known, do not have any other family members who are alcoholics.

This is a biological or physiological method of acquiring this disorder.  This is said to be linked to the molecule Dopamine.

The chemical structure of Dopamine.

The chemical structure of Dopamine.

This molecule is said to be the main mood molecule, in addiction studies this is known as D2.  A researcher on psychopharmacology called Kenneth Blum PhD states:

Forty years of research into the causes of alcoholism and other addictions have led to one conclusion:  Irresistable craving is a malfunction of the reward centres of the brain… Genetic research….indicates that the malfunction begins in the gene.

Dr Blum then continues by mentioning the Brain Reward Cascade, (BRC).  He describes it as:

This is the harmonious functioning of the brain’s neurotransmitters which work together in complex ways, to ensure the proper levels of dopamine in the brain’s reward centre.  (Pleasurable activities or occurrences, even something as receiving a compliment, result in the release of dopamine in the brain, the “reward” or feel – good neurotransmitter.)

According to the model by Dr Blum, the genetic affects the system by triggering a breakdown in the BRC, which manifests in the person as feeling uneasy and having anxiety.  This uncomfortable feeling then has the person trying to get rid of these feelings via substances or behaviour.  The term which is given to this is:

Reward Deficiency Syndrome (RDS) – common predisposition to addiction.

Carrying on with the addiction theme, there may be another way the genetic factors play a part and that is, in the way the liver processes alcohol that predisposes a person towards alcoholism.

After all that, genetic factors isn’t the be all and end all of addiction, as genetics isn’t your destiny, as stated once by a biochemist – “Genetics doesn’t mean hopeless or incurable.  What genetics means, to me, is chemistry.  Chemistry can be adjusted and corrected.”  Dr Blum’s research also backs up the biochemist, as he has found that supplementing the diet with amino acids – which are the starting products of neurotransmitters, which in turn can help with the RDS.

Although in our case, we can not change our genetic blueprint, however, we do have environmental factors, (which will be discussed later on in the series), which will play a part in drug addiction.  However, the 1st step is to work out what these factors are, and then we can reduce them or totally take them out of out completely.


Marohn, S., 2004. The natural medicine guide to addiction.  P28 – 30.

2013 SNG meeting at the Roslin Institute, Edinburgh

Hello everyone

On August 30th, I attended the 2013 Neuroscience held by:


And it was held at the new Roslin Institute, which looks like this:


I had to wake up early for this one.  3am!! and took a taxi into Foresterhill (ARI) to get the bus at the IMS.  So, I was about to go on the bus and realised my headphones were missing.  So when the bus was in Dundee, we had a stop in Tescos and bought a headset there!  £5 for a set of headphones!!  I got reduced Sony ones but they’re not as good as my ones.

On our way to the Roslin institute our bus got a little lost – City of Edinburgh Council, sort out your signs please.  We got a little lost and this IS a top research base.  People on the bus from Waverley station went here, there and everywhere to the old Roslin.  So we weren’t the only ones taking detours in the Lothian / Midlothian countryside.

All the talks were interesting, My favourites were Dr Rachael Jack from Glasgow University and her computer generated faces, Dr Akira O ‘ Connor from St Andrews University, Ashleigh Kennedy from Glasgow University, Professor James Ironside from Edinburgh University, Dr Silvia Paracchini from St Andrews University, Dr Laura McCulloch from the host university and Professor Paul Ince from Sheffield University.  I do a little something to say though for the plenary talks.  In Press 2010 for the literature for both of them?  Hmmmm.

Other than that the day was really enjoyable and watching talks given on a variety of topics, I was more than interested with the Inflammation and the Spleen after having a stroke talk.

I would like to say a big thank you to Edinburgh University and all those who helped to organise this successful event.

See you in Glasgow in 2014!

2012 Scottish Neuroscience Meeting in Dundee

Greeting and blessings to you all

August 31st last year, I went down to Dundee to attend the Scottish Neuroscience Group Conference which was held at the West Park Centre.

The Sadlaw Suite where the conference was held.

The Sadlaw Suite where the conference was held.

I was going down to the conference with the UoA bus.  Thank you to them for allowing me to travel to and from Dundee with them.  I had to get up at 4.30am for getting my bus before 6am on a frosty morning.

Arrived in Aberdeen to get my bus down to Dundee, been a while since  I was on a bus down to Dundee, so it was interesting being on the bus down doing through the traffic at Garthdee and getting around the city centre of Dundee.

All down in Dundee and we got our nametags etc  and we were in the middle of listening to another person’s lecture.  So we stood at the back of the hall with a mug of coffee.  So after that, I got comfy in a chair to listen to the rest of the day’s proceedings.

Before I knew it, it was break time and we had a warm cookie and I had a drink to kill my thirst.

Next it was into the next lot of lectures and the first of the visiting lecturers – Huibert Mansvelder from Amsterdam.  And his very excellent lecture on adolescent brain damage (via drinking or smoking), I enjoyed it!

Then it was dinner time, we had a hot lunch which was a lovely touch which is much appreciated than the sandwiches etc I have had in the past.  And then I went to look at the posters.

This is the inside of the room where the conference was. Very unusual and the snacks and meals were outside.

This is the inside of the room where the conference was. Very unusual and the snacks and meals were outside.

Next it was the next lot of lectures which covered a wide variety of topics – one which was interesting was the role of hyperhomocysteinemia (more information here) and how we can spot it when it comes to Alzheimer’s.  I know it can implicate CB2 receptors – More information here.) and then there was another break.  We had two breaks and the lunch time during this informative seminar (sadly, there wasn’t a lot of Cannabinoids for me! but the addiction lectures were more than making up for that!)

Three more lectures then the last lecture of the day from Dai Stephens from Surrey University.  There was some fascinating information in the lecture which I find interesting and I didn’t know about 3 times in rehab and it becomes more difficult to detox from the booze in terms of the receptors and as a result it can cause kindling (the onset of an epileptic type state but may not be actual epilepsy itself).

The lectures all drew to a close and we said cheerio to Dundee and my first neuroscience group meeting came to a close.

Roll on 2013 and Edinburgh as I would love to attend that meeting also as I have sort of left pure chemistry, (my first degree is in Chemistry) and in my first OU module I did, I did about addiction and my project was on Cocaine and the cannabinoid receptors which fits in nicely with the addiction talks of  the day.

2012 for me was a big year for popping my main conference cherries with the conference in Edinburgh and the Neuroscience meeting in Dundee.  Although I have been to the Aberdeen Neuroscience Meetings which have been rather excellent and I loved the afternoons I had at them.

I hope you enjoyed reading my aherm rather late review as I have been looking for actual photos from the event and I can’t see any, I had a photographer sitting behind me on the day.


Addiction and Natural health Series – an Introduction.

Aloha everyone.

This is a blog which will give us an overview about all the natural therapies which are being in addiction and the whole holistic view of addictions.

There will be a series of 7 blogs:

The different types of addiction onset.

Biochemistry of addiction.

Amino Acid therapy of addictions.

Allergies and addiction.

Addiction and TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine.)

Addiction and Flower Essence Therapies

Also we will have a blog on Psychic healing as well as a blog on Thought Field Therapy and Seemorg Matrix work.

It looks to be an informative series of blogs on an issue which is close to my heart as I did a review / report on Cocaine and the endocannabinoid system.  So am expecting the biochemistry section be massively detailed.

I am asking you the reader, do you want me to focus on drug & alcohol addiction, or do you want me to include gambling?  Thank you!

Best get starting with my addiction series!!!!


Welcome to this wonderful blog I have which will concentrate on Neuroscience which is my particular field of research.

I also will have some subjects on bipolar disorder which is an interest of mine as well.

I trust you will enjoy it here!