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Reflections of Biology in Her Unquiet Mind

 

Dr. Kay Redfield Jamison’s book An Unquiet Mindprovided many examples of biological concepts that we discussed throughout thecourse in the context of an individual’s life.  Due to the intricacies of her condition and her acuteawareness of death, her story embodies, perhaps to an extreme, the complexitiesof what it is to be fully human and not just a creature of chemical processesmoving through life.

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Bunny Vision

For years mothers have told their children to eattheir vegetables.  When it came tothose odd orange ones called carrots, they often gave the reason that eatingcarrots would improve eyesight, especially vision in the dark – just likerabbits.  By some this isconsidered an old wives’ tale, others think of the link between vitamin A andeyesight and dutifully eat their carrots. The story of carrots being linked to good eyesight first became widespreadin Britain during World War II. Coinciding with more successes at shooting down enemy bombers, newsstories appeared in Britain crediting a special new diet with an incr

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Lethe In A Pill

Throughout history and across cultures, the force of memory has always held a prominent position in our concept of humanity and self.  The ancient Greeks embodied memory in a goddess – Mnemosyne, the mother of the nine inspiring Muses.  But what if a person possessed memories so upsetting and intense that they caused him to not be able to function as himself?  If you had the option, would you choose to forget or to distance yourself?  This dilemma is now a source of debate among scientists and medical practitioners.  Propranolol, a drug previously prescribed to people suffering from hypertension, has also been found to bring some relief to victims of traumatic events by manipulating their memory of the experience.

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Mnemosyne vs. Lethe

Throughout history and across cultures, the force of memory has always held a prominent position in our concept of humanity and self.  The ancient Greeks embodied memory in a goddess – Mnemosyne, the mother of the nine inspiring Muses.  But what if a person possessed memories so upsetting and intense that they caused him to not be able to function as himself?  If you had the option, would you choose to forget or to distance yourself?  This dilemma is now a source of debate among scientists and medical practitioners.  Propranolol, a drug previously prescribed to people suffering from hypertension, has also

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