Anisha Chirmule's blog

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Creativity As A Product of Necessity: Through the Lens of Medicine and Ballet

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Why Recreate Art?

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Ballet as an Algorithmic Process

 

 

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The Evolution of Natural Selection

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Illness as Metaphor and AIDS and Its Metaphors

After having read the book Illness as Metaphor and AIDS as Its Metaphors, by Susan Sontag, I have developed a very different perspective on the concept of diseases. In her novel, Sontag describes the social stigmas associated with terminal diseases such as tuberculosis, cancer, and AIDS, and how the effects these stigmas have on patients with terminal illnesses. Initially, I thought of sickness and infections very objectively. I perceived them as abnormalities that needed to be treated as soon as possible, and once they were dealt with they would not have any further implications. I never processed the idea that the social perception of sick people had such an influence on the lives of individuals with terminal illnesses.

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Can It Ever Be Too Much? The effects of epinephrine on the brain

Why seek to scale Mount Everest,
Queen of the Air,
Why strive to crown that cruel crest
And deathward dare?
Said Mallory of dauntless quest
`Because it's there.'

-Robert William Service

Inspired by George Mallory, a British mountaineer, Robert William Service’s poem, “Dauntless Quest”, poses a very interesting question (1). Why risk everything to climb one of the most dangerous mountains in the world for no tangible benefit? Or for that matter why risk losing your life for fifteen minutes of an adrenaline rush? For many years, extreme sports such as bungee jumping and skydiving, have appealed to many people despite the threat they pose to a person’s life. Personally, I have not partaken in many forms of extreme activity, but as strange as it sounds, I would very much like to satisfy my desire to jump thousands of feet out of a moving plane.

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Transgenderism

Biologically, the anatomy of a male and female are very different; from sexual and physical characteristics, such as genitalia and reproductive organs, to the differences in brain organization. Sexual dimorphism, or the difference between the male and female anatomy, is an essential component to maintaining genetic diversity in a population such as the human species. The variation between males and females promotes sexual reproduction and keeps the population constant. A transgender individual’s gender identity does not match one’s ‘assigned gender’ as a male or female. A transgenderist is a person who lives as gender opposite to anatomical sex, for example a person with male genitalia living as a woman (1). More recently, the term transgender has expanded to encompass a much greater range of different types of people, such as cross-dressers, drag queens, androgynies, transsexuals, and many more.

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The Influence of Music on Neurons

The Influence of Music on Neurons Anisha Chirmule Luciano Pavarotti once said “if children are not introduced to music at an early age, I believe something fundamental is actually being taken from them”. People are surrounded by music everyday; it affects mood, concentration, creativity, and even the ability to learn. How can a combination of a few notes have such a profound effect an on individual’s ability to learn? When in infant is born, there are billions of nerves and nerve connections in the brain that are necessary for survival. These neural connections are formed through experiences and strengthened through repetition. An infant is exposed to new situations everyday that affect the nerves in their brain, and once these connections are formed it is very difficult to reverse or rewire them. Listening to music helps to create and strengthen more neural connections because nerves that deal with the auditory system of the brain are being activated in order to hear the music (1). Music is a stimulus that needs to be processed by the brain because we have receptors for sensing and reacting to music. The act of processing this stimulus influences the neural connections in the brain and therefore affects other neural connections which in turn affect the outputs of the body. The Mozart effect is a phenomenon that states when an individual listens to short bursts of music, their intellectual and motor abilities increase and become more efficient (2). It has a profound effect on young children because their minds are still developing at a rapid rate and their neural pathways are easily influenced. The music composed by Mozart has a 60 beat per minute pattern that is repeated throughout his pieces. This pattern activates the action potentials in the right and left hemispheres of the brain and it strengthens the connections between the neurons that connect the two halves. Strengthening of the neural connections leads to more efficient information processing because the brain must concentrate on comprehending multiple stimuli and it therefore becomes capable of multitasking. The ductility of an infant’s brain must be utilized to its fullest potential, because unused nerves are rendered useless.

 

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