Category: Scientific American

The Chronification of Pain

The Chronification of Pain

Published online at Scientific American on December 29, 2017. Earlier this year, I wrote about my patient, Andrew, an engineer who developed a heroin habit. An unfortunate series of joint replacements had left Andrew with terrible pain and, when his medication ran out, he turned to heroin. Months after his surgeries—after his tissue and scars had …

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The Economics of Paid Parental Leave

The Economics of Paid Parental Leave

Published online at Scientific American on November 29, 2017. In my last piece, “The Neuroscience of Paid Parental Leave,” I discussed how infants’ attachment with their parents is critically involved in brain development. I described a bizarre paradox wherein physician trainee programs don’t provide trainees the types of leave recommended by their own organizations (like the American …

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The Neuroscience of Paid Parental Leave

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 …

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Scientists, Break Out of That Ivory Tower

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 …

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New Hope for Children Who Nearly Drown

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 …

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The U.S. Supreme Court Stymies Science

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 …

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

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 …

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Do You Suffer from Trump Syndrome?

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, …

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How Studying Neuroscience Transformed My Brain

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 …

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How a Curious Condition Solved a Neuroscientific Mystery

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 …

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