Category: Scientific American

Why Doctors Are Drowning in Medical Student Debt

Why Doctors Are Drowning in Medical Student Debt

Published online at Scientific American on July 15, 2019. It’s four o’clock on a roasting Wednesday last July. I am a resident physician at Yale University, and I am sitting beside my wife, Kristin Budde, who just became an attending physician, also at Yale. We are both opposite our new accountant. As directed, we have …

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Psychiatry’s Inevitable Hubris

Psychiatry’s Inevitable Hubris

Published May 8, 2019 on Scientific American. It’s 3 P.M. on a Saturday in March, and I’m working at Silver Hill Hospital. As the on-duty doctor, my job is to admit new patients and to work with the other staff to make sure that everything goes smoothly. I’m about to see a young patient I’ll …

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Should Mental Disorders Have Names?

Should Mental Disorders Have Names?

It’s 7:30 A.M. on a frosty Wednesday in December. I’m waiting impatiently in the lobby of the Anlyan Center, a large research building at Yale University. I’m waiting for a man named William Perry.* After two frustrating weeks of phone tag that involved his mother and her actual landline, William is coming in to be …

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Is Chronic Anxiety A Learning Disorder?

Is Chronic Anxiety A Learning Disorder?

Published at Scientific American on October 11, 2018. Lisa Barlow, whose name I have changed to protect her privacy, is at her kitchen table in Washington DC when she realizes that each Sunday, fifteen passenger trains depart for New Haven, CT. She’s a successful copy editor and has a meeting in New Haven early Monday …

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How Freely Should Scientists Share Their Data?

How Freely Should Scientists Share Their Data?

Published online at Scientific American on August 13, 2018. At the beginning graduate school, I decided I wanted to study how epileptic seizures damage the brain. I was in something of a pickle: I wanted to use magnetic resonance imaging (M.R.I.) to study this damage, but I didn’t have access to M.R.I. data of patients …

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Who Are You Calling Normal?

Who Are You Calling Normal?

Published on scientificamerican.com on May 15, 2018. We use the term “normal” so casually and so often that it seems utterly…normal. But in a compelling Trends in Cognitive Sciences paper published earlier this year, Yale University neuroscientists Avram Holmes and Lauren Patrick argue we must move beyond the traditional concept of “normal” because it doesn’t exist—at least, …

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Can We Measure Delusions?

Can We Measure Delusions?

Published online at Scientific American on March 19, 2018. It was midday when an ambulance brought Rose to the Emergency Department. The triage nurses, with their characteristic knack for brevity, had written “50 year old schizophrenic woman hearing/seeing dead boyfriend.” The medical team had done the standard workup—temperature, blood pressure, EKG, labs to screen for …

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What Makes Friends Vibe?

What Makes Friends Vibe?

Published online at scientificamerican.com on February 20, 2018. Think about your friends—the people you spend a lot of time with, see movies with, those people you’d text to grab a drink or dinner after a long week. Now think back to why you first became friends and ask yourself: was it because you like them? Or because you are like …

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Why Don’t Babies Smile from Birth?

Why Don’t Babies Smile from Birth?

Published online at scientificamerican.com on February 6, 2018. When my son was born a few months ago, he quickly established himself as the tyrant of  our household, one that ruled with a singular phonetic ultimatum (“Oooo—whaaah”), tiny iron fists clutched in fury, and a face that roiled like the churning sea. His placid silence instantly …

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