Neuroscientist & Author

A Gunman’s Regret

Science can help society grapple with the horrors of modern gun violence …A death row inmate wrote to say that something I had written had helped him understand how his life derailed. If he had read this material on the neuroscience of violence earlier in his life, he wrote, “I might not be here today.”…

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Culprit in Cuban Sonic Attack Revealed!

The alarming story that a mysterious energy beam caused traumatic brain injury to US Embassy personnel in Havana has consumed the media in an anxious frenzy not seen since the UFO hysteria of the 1950’s.   Many possible suspects in this cruel affair have been fingered, but the perpetrator remains elusive.  That, in my opinion, is…

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Blaming Fentanyl for the Nation’s Opiate Crisis?

The current spotlight on fentanyl as the culprit causing the sharp spike in opioid deaths in the United States, is motivated by a well-intentioned effort to address an alarming public health concern, but is blaming fentanyl and the drug industry an effective way to address the root cause of the epidemic, or a desperate effort…

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Muscling Up Brain-Computer Interfaces

The internet is abuzz with reports of neuroscientists linking the human brain to computers to eliminate the clickety keyboard and empower us to control personal electronic devices or manipulate robotic arms.  But the science beneath the sizzle doesn’t support all the sensational claims, and there are significant practical hurdles. Unless you have a medical condition…

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The Strange Case of the “Sonic Attack” in Havana: Cuban Scientists Narrow in on Suspect

HAVANA–The US State Department warns US citizens not to travel to Cuba because numerous US Embassy employees in Havana have been targeted in specific attacks that have caused hearing loss and serious central nervous system injury, but the culprit, means, and motive for the international crime remain a mystery despite a year of reporting.  Senator…

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Shock Therapy: New Understanding and Old Ignorance

WASHINGTON, DC–Speaking at the Society for Neuroscience meeting in Washington, DC on November 14, 2017, Dr. Wendy Marie Ingram, Psychiatric Epidemiologist at the Geisinger Medical Institute in Pennsylvania, presented new research on the effects of anesthesia on electroconvulsive therapy (ECT or shock therapy).  The results help answer long-standing questions about the controversial treatment, but social…

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Smoking Pot as a Teen a Major Risk Factor for Schizophrenia

The scientific evidence linking cannabis use in adolescence to schizophrenia in adulthood is now so strong that the general public must be alerted.  This was the pronouncement of researchers from Germany and England speaking October 9, 2017, at the World Psychiatric Association meeting in Berlin. “There is no doubt,” concludes Sir Robin Murray, Professor of…

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The Custodian Who Left His Mark on Neuroscience

Working alone at the turn of the 20th century in Spain, Santiago Ramón y Cajal (1852-1934) ventured into science as both an artist and a pathologist, and became the first person to see a neuron. Working by gaslight, he made thin slices of brain tissue and subjected them to the same silver-nitrate chemistry he used to capture…

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When Music Makes You Cry

Ever find yourself moved to tears by music?  Eva Cassidy’s Somewhere over the Rainbow does it for me.  How about you?   Many types of music can move people to tears—blubbering in the balcony is iconic in opera.  The phenomenon of crying sparked by music is an interesting but little-studied behavior.  According to a new…

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Fatal Attraction: A Common Infection Linked to Sexual Deviance

According to a study by Janus and Janus,14 percent of male and 11 percent of females in the United States have had personal experience with sadomasochistic sexual practices. Although human behavior is complex, an intriguing link has been identified between sex and violence and a common parasite, Toxoplasma gondii, which is acquired from cats. It is well-established that parasitic infections…

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