Thursday, September 25, 2008

Monday Quotations (on Thursday)

9/25/08. As my friend Benny once quipped, "This is a strange week --- Friday the 13th is on a Tuesday."

"First do no harm," says the Hippocratic oath for physicians. If writers of children's books had to take an oath it might begin, "First tell the truth."

--- William Zinsser (1922 )

...In fact, we may see the essential of civic society in its preservation of balance - between the individual and the community, between the desirable and the possible, between our knowledge and our imagination.

The balance implies that we should neither accept solutions, however fashionable, however much supported by narrow-gauge experts, nor deny or minimize problems. What one might call the nonideology of moderation.

--- Robert Conquest (1917 )

The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

---William Butler Yeats (1865 - 1939)

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Congress Approves Mental Health Bill

9/24/08. This is the best time in human history to get help for psychological disorders. We know enough to help many people balance their mental health portfolio. I hope this legislation helps to reduce the stigma associated with psychiatric disorders.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Charlatans to the Rescue

9/23/08. Linda Seebach reviews the book, "Autism's False Prophets," by Paul A. Offit, a pediatrician and chief of infectious diseases at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. Dr. Offit chronicles the parade of charlatans who promote desperately wrong cures and exploit vulnerable parents and children.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Monday Quotations


He will never amount to much. He never became comfortable with being uncomfortable.

--- Lou Pinella (1943 - )

Knowledge keeps no better than fish.

--- Alfred North Whitehead (1861 - 1947)

(Responding to a beach club telling him he couldn't join because he was Jewish:)
My son's only half Jewish. Would it be all right if he went in the water up to his knees?

--- Groucho Marx (1895 - 1977)

Sunday, September 21, 2008

"Without God"

9/21/08. American physicist and Nobel laureate in physics, Steven Weinberg discusses important tensions between science and religion. His professional mission, he says, is finding out what is true, not what makes us happy or good.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Redefining Depression as Mere Sadness

9/16/08. Are psychologists and psychiatrists advising patients to take antidepressants when they are merely sad, but not clinically depressed? When does depression stem from biological causes? When does a person's environment trigger a depressed state? We know that antidepressants help many people --- no doubt preventing suicides, and makeing life worth living for those struggling to come back from the depths of despair. We know that for some, antidepressants offer no help. We know that separating the influences of nature and nurture on the causes of depression is often difficult, if not impossible. We know that the combination of medication therapy and psychological therapy is the most powerful treatment for depression for most people.

In this article, psychiatrist Ronald Pies makes many good points regarding the above questions, among them: "...undertreatment of severe depression is a more pressing problem than overtreatment of normal sadness."

Monday, September 15, 2008

"Thinking Outside the Lox"

9/15/08. Essayist Joseph Epstein uses insight and humor to tell us why it's not kosher to vote Republican --- although he does.

Monday Quotations


A professor is one who talks in someone else's sleep.

--- W. H. Auden (1907 - 1973)

I am an old man and have known a great many troubles, but most of them never happened.

--- Mark Twain (1835 - 1910)

Everybody is ignorant, only on different subjects.

--- Will Rogers (1879 - 1935)

Sunday, September 14, 2008

The Bipolar Puzzle

9/14/08. This is a long, well written article about bipolar disorder in children. Jennifer Egan, the author, describes the day-to-day lives of some children with this disorder and the agony of their parents. Along the way, Ms. Egan draws from the work of clinical and research experts highlighting some ongoing controversies in understanding and treating bipolar disorder in children.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Liberals and Conservatives

9/11/08. Liberals are mystified when people vote for conservatives. Conservatives feel that liberals just don't get it. To liberals, conservatives are simple-minded. To conservatives, liberals are muddle-headed. Professor of Psychology, Jonathan Haidt tells us what makes people vote Republican.

Monday, September 8, 2008

On Cognitive Therapy

9/8/08. A look at the development of cognitive therapy.

Monday Quotations


When in doubt, tell the truth.

--- Mark Twain (1835 - 1910)

A few years after I began teaching, it occurred to me that being a teacher - not being a student - provides the best education. "To teach is to learn twice," wrote Joubert, in a simple-sounding maxim that could have several different meanings. It could mean that one first learns when getting up the material one is about to teach and then tests and relearns it in the actual teaching. It could mean that being a teacher offers one a fine chance of a second draft of one's inevitable inadequate initial education. It could mean that learning, like certain kinds of love, is better the second time around. It could mean that we are not ready for education, at any rate of the kind that leads to wisdom, until we are sixty, or seventy, or beyond. I favor this last interpretation, for it accounts for the strange feeling that I have had every year of my adult life, which is that only twelve months ago I was really quite stupid.

--- Joseph Epstein (1937 - )

A liberal is someone too broadminded to take his own side in an argument.

--- Robert Frost (1874 - 1963)

Friday, September 5, 2008

For the Brain, Remembering Is Like Reliving

9/5/08. Benedict Carey, science writer for the New York Times, reports on some exciting findings from the field of memory research:

"Scientists have for the first time recorded individual brain cells in the act of summoning a spontaneous memory, revealing not only where a remembered experience is registered, but also, in part, how the brain is able to recreate it."

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Study Finds No Links between Vaccines and Autism

9/4/08. Many scientists are hard at work on developing effective treatments for the devastating, chronic disease of autism. So far, we have gone down many blind alleys, including linking vaccines with autism.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Addiction Doesn't Discriminate? Wrong

9/2/08. Psychiatrist Sally Satel tells us that psychiatric disorders, attitudes, values, and behaviors all play a potent role in who becomes addicted to drugs. Drug abuse is not, she says, an equal opportunity destroyer of lives.