The Neuroscience of Paid Parental Leave

Published on Scientific American on October 30, 2017. (BTW: the pic is of me with Everett! Everett was 1.5 wks old and we wandered out to Bishop's Apple Orchard.) As a new father, I’ve learned that the U.S. ranks at the very bottom of industrialized nations for paid parental leave. Denmark offers a year. Italy offers five … Continue reading The Neuroscience of Paid Parental Leave

Scientists, Break Out of That Ivory Tower

Published online at Scientific American on September 28, 2017. “Science and everyday life cannot and should not be separated.” Rosalind Franklin Recently, The Atlantic senior editor James Hamblin discussed how nearly all major physician organizations have spoken out publicly against the Senate’s Graham–Cassidy health care bill. In fact, throughout this year’s string of health care reform bills these physician … Continue reading Scientists, Break Out of That Ivory Tower

New Hope for Children Who Nearly Drown

Conrad was 17 months old when Dave, his grandfather, was babysitting him at their home in Temple, Texas. The two had been playing in the pool and went inside for a break. Dave set to unloading dishes in the dishwasher, unaware that Conrad had snuck back outside. As he finished the dishes, Dave looked out … Continue reading New Hope for Children Who Nearly Drown

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 … Continue reading The U.S. Supreme Court Stymies Science

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 … Continue reading What Do “Emotion” and “Mood” Actually Mean?

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, … Continue reading Do You Suffer from Trump Syndrome?

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 … Continue reading How Studying Neuroscience Transformed My Brain

How a Curious Condition Solved a Neuroscientific Mystery

Originally published on Scientific American MIND's Guest Blog on August 22, 2016.  Véalo en español After prepping for the day’s cases, “Mike Brennan,” a 63-year-old cardiology technician, sat down for his morning coffee and paper. On the front page, he discovered something troubling: he could no longer read. No matter how long he stared at … Continue reading How a Curious Condition Solved a Neuroscientific Mystery

Psychiatry When You Don’t Speak the Language

Originally published on blogs.scientificamerican.com on June 23, 2016. “It’s been an exciting morning—we got a new patient last night with acute mania,” the resident said with a wry smile. It was my first day in Changsha, China. I was at the Second Xiangya Hospital and frankly, I began to tense up wondering what “exciting” meant. … Continue reading Psychiatry When You Don’t Speak the Language

How the Brain Processes Images

No matter where we call home, where we were raised, or what we ate for breakfast, our brains process information pretty much the same as anyone else in the world.  Which makes sense—our genomes are 99.6-99.9% identical, which makes our brains nearly so. Look at a landscape or cityscape and comparable computations occur in your … Continue reading How the Brain Processes Images