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I was born in Dallas and spent my childhood scampering through the countrysides of central and eastern Texas, with brief escapades in Maryland and Utah. I began medical school in San Antonio, where I met my wife and future psych co-resident Kristin Budde. After my PhD, we moved together to New Haven, where I finished med school. I enjoy writing about neuroscience as a way to think through some of the problems that come up in clinic. I spend a great chunk of my time thinking about and researching how to develop useful biomarkers of brain disease. When I'm not at the hospital or working on research stuff, I'll be fixing up my 1920s New England house.

Scientific American

The U.S. Supreme Court Stymies Science

On the last Monday in June I ran into my lab mate, close collaborator and friend, Mehraveh Salehi. We were at the Organization for Human Brain Mapping Conference in Vancouver. Salehi had just learned that the U.S. Supreme Court would reinstate parts of Pres. Donald Trump’s travel ban within 72 hours. Salehi is Iranian, living 6,000 miles from home to...

Scientific American

What Do “Emotion” and “Mood” Actually Mean?

Cecilia (not the patient’s real name) was 15 the first time she tried to kill herself. She sliced into her left wrist with a razor she had hidden away. The initial sting silenced her emotions, but as she went deeper her arm tensed. Her head dizzied with pain. Too much. She screamed out and threw the razor at the wall....



Published in Neurology February 25, 2014 vol. 82 no. 8 e62. Whence sounds the shout of Veritas That all is black or white? If Nature fails to fit this form, Why dogma’s wrong or right? Could the neuron’s all or none Brood artifactual truth? And binarize the networked mind, Render grey scales uncouth? And could behavior’s need to act When...


The Role of Neuroscience in Psychiatry Redux

Originally published on Scientific American’s Blog on April 28, 2017. Neuroskeptic has launched the “mother of all blog posts” against my article, published earlier this week. Neuroskeptic is skeptical that there is a “War Between Neuroscience and Psychiatry.” I fully agree. There is NOT a war and I regret the first title that was published with my piece. I did...


Why Psychiatry Needs Neuroscience

Originally published on Scientific American’s Blog on April 25, 2017. In April, JAMA Psychiatry published a groundbreaking addition to its lineup: an educational review intended to educate psychiatrists about neuroscience. A group of psychiatrists led by David Ross of Yale University described how and why post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) should be clinically evaluated from a neuroscience framework. The fact that this editorial...

Scientific American

Do You Suffer from Trump Syndrome?

If you’re displaying erratic behavior that seems irrational to others, part of the explanation could be plain old sleep deprivation Originally published on Scientific American MIND’s Guest Blog on October 17, 2016. “You know, I’m not a big sleeper,” Donald Trump said last November. “I like three hours, four hours, I toss, I turn, I beep-de-beep, I want to find out...


Case Study: When Chronic Pain Leads to a Dangerous Addiction

Originally published in Scientific American MIND on March 1, 2017. Before this, article was originally published with the title “A Painful Descent into Addiction.” It was 4 P.M., and Andrew* had just bought 10 bags of heroin. In his kitchen, he tugged one credit-card-sized bag from the rubber-banded bundle and laid it on the counter with sacramental reverence. Pain shot through...


The Rise of Evidence-Based Psychiatry

Originally published on Scientific American’s Guest Blog on February 28, 2017. On January 2, 1979, Dr. Rafael Osheroff was admitted to Chestnut Lodge, an inpatient psychiatric hospital in Maryland. Osheroff had a bustling nephrology practice. He was married with three children, two from a previous marriage. Everything had been going well except his mood. For the previous two years, Osheroff...


Should We Let Doctors-in-Training Be More Sleep Deprived?

Originally published on Scientific American’s MIND blog on December 16, 2016. As a third year medical student I rotated through a sleep clinic. My job was to administer the Epworth Sleepiness Scale, a tool used to screen patients for sleep disorders. At the end of the day, I took the questionnaire myself and was shocked when I scored worse than...

Scientific American

How Studying Neuroscience Transformed My Brain

Originally published on Scientific American MIND’s Guest Blog on November 16, 2016. Neurobiology was the first class I shuffled into as a dopey freshman undergraduate student. Dr. Brown’s class began at 8AM. I wore that bowling jacket I bought from the Orem Deseret Industries, Utah’s version of Goodwill. I’d spent much of my childhood in small towns: Middle and Junior...