Category Archives: Medicine

Deception, Obfuscation & Misdirection

Most are familiar with the concept of FUD—short for Fear, Uncertainty & Doubt. It summarizes a strategy often used in marketing and political propaganda. Its effects are pernicious, divisive and lead to exploitation. Examples abound. Fear is a strong motivator! To resist FUD one must understand how it is practiced using the principle tools Deception, Obfuscation and Misdirection. It is nearly […]

They Stole My Morning… Again! (DST Rant)

Daylight Saving Time has to be one of the dumbest social conventions of all time! It’s just a bad idea that should be abolished!! DST doesn’t save energy, negatively impacts the health of millions, and robs me of an extra hour of daylight every morning! I thought I’d review some recent evidence here. I’ve added emphasis to […]

Atul Gawande “How do we heal medicine?”

Cowboys vs Pit Crews Key facts from his recent TED talk… Modern doctors have 4000 procedures and 6000 medications at their disposal In 1970 it took 2 FTEs to care for a patient in the hospital In 2001 it took 15 FTEs to care for the same patient Checklists and mandatory pauses help decrease mistakes “We […]

Zero Degrees of Empathy

This is a great talk by Simon Baron Cohen. He describes how three personality disorders (borderline, narcissistic and anti-social) are fundamentally tied to an inability to empathize with others. Although he does not mention them by name, mirror neurons are thought to play and important role.

The Neuroscience of Seeking Behavior

I found this recent article in Slate fascinating. It draws on the research legacy of James Olds, who did some of the seminal experiments with electro-stimulation of the brain. He referred to certain reward centers for basic drives such as hunger and sex. These became known collectively as the “pleasure centers” of the brain. Fine […]

Updated Food Pyramid Review

I originally wrote this editorial/review as a handout for patients back in 2004. I’ve updated and republished it here as a public service. One important issue I did not highlight in my article is the inherent conflict of interest on the part of the USDA. How can the agency that promotes various food industries give […]

The Plague by Albert Camus

One of the great novels of the twentieth century. Also one of the most powerful expressions of existentialism and humanism ever written. I reviewed this book for the Narrative Medicine Series in 2002. See also the article A Hero for Our Times published in The Guardian. The Plague is an allegorical novel set in the […]

Animals Make Us Human by Temple Grandin

Just finished listening to a fascinating interview with Temple Grandin about autism, humane treatment of livestock and the connections between the two. Her new book is Animals Make Us Human: Creating the Best life for Animals.

Mirror Neurons, Imitation Learning and Empathy

Mirror Neurons help explain why watching someone perform a task is almost as important as doing it yourself. The human brain responds to both doing and watching in the same way. Mirror neurons may also play an important role in social interaction and the development of empathy. Researchers recently proposed that their dysfunction may explain some of the symptoms of […]

The Demon in the Freezer by Richard Preston

This is one of the scariest books I’ve read in a long time—and it’s not fiction! Published in 2002, it chronicles the strange tale of Smallpox, its world-wide eradication, and the lingering threat of its return. Millions are alive today thanks to the efforts of D. A. Henderson (2) (who received the Presidential Medal of […]