Neuron Culture

Archives for August, 2006

Single-payer and the cost game

Having written the below as a comment on my previous post , I realized it should perhaps be its own post. My previous post drew notice to Malcolm Gladwell’s recent article and blog posts about the competitive disadvantage our employer-based health-insurance system (and retirement system) inflicts on many American industries. Only hours passed before a…

In his recent New Yorker article, “The Risk Pool,” as well as a blog post, Malcolm Gladwell has drawn attention to yet another reason to move to a single-payer health insurance system: the punishing competitive disadvantage that American companies and industries suffer when they provide health insurance, especially health insurance for their retirees and pensioners.…

Do Musicians Make Good Programmers?

“Errant Behaviors,” a video and sound installation by Shawn Decker and Anne Wilson. In response to my post on “Music, Mood, and Genius (not) — or RockNRoll meets neuroscience,” one Shawn Decker, a music professor and composer at the Chicago Art Institute (and a former classmate and ultimate-frisbee teammate of mine from college), wrote asking…

I’ve been interested in music and science since taking a physics of music class back in college (20 years later, amazingly, I discovered my violin teacher of 2000, Kevin Bushee, was married to the daughter of the professor who taught that class), so I was intrigued to find this Wired piece in which neuroscientist Daniel…

Spills of War

It’s good to see NASA hasn’t completely abandoned its mandate to look after the home planet. As its Earth Observatory notes: Among the casualties of the conflict between Lebanon and Israel in the summer of 2006 was the Mediterranean. Israeli raids in mid-July on the Jiyyeh Power Station released thousands of tons of oil along…

Fast Plasticity

Among the many wonders of neuroscience — and central to the discipline — is the brain’s plasticity, its ability to rework synapses and networks to respond to new challenges and experiences. In this dynamic lies the physical explanation of the fluid nature of experience, thought, and consciousness. This is why I find so fascinating the…

My profile of Emory neurologist Helen Mayberg is out now in Scientific American Mind. You can read either a text-only version at my website, or get the full published version, with photos and such, at the Scientific American Mind site (free to subscribers, $5 for the article for non-subscribers). Mayberg made headlines last year when…

No sooner had I noted that mouse pups seem to handle stress better when near their mothers than I found a study of some 9000 British kids showing that breastfeeding seems to make kids more resilient to stress even well after they’ve stopped breastfeeding. As the press release puts it, Breastfed babies cope better with…