@Risk
Thursday, December 12, 2019

Influence of Culture on Brain-Based Conditions

If we didn’t have culture, we would be either dead or very seriously socially free. Humans are designed to live as cultural animals.  Our brains are adapted to learning: whether it involves reacting to stimuli, evaluating options or paving the way to new ones.  Our minds are formed by the culture we live in, and Read more…

Mental Illness or an Adaptation?

A Caucasian, otherwise healthy 50-year-old man is struck with depression. He has never experienced depression before. A lawyer by occupation, with a family and a partnership at a firm, he is baffled by why he is feeling depressed and wants a prescription to fix his life. I can readily think of many other patients and Read more…

The Burdens of Talent

In a cartoon from some time ago, Vincent Van Gogh hears a knock on the door and opens it to find a futuristic stranger  bearing a vial of medicine that could cure mental illness.  He hands Van Gough the antidepressant, and encouragingly states, “it is worth a try.”  Van Gough downs the medicine at once Read more…

Psychopathology of Genius (as featured in Huff Post 8/11/14)

Following the recent and popular article on the Secrets of the Creative Brain in The Atlantic magazine, there has been an increased amount of discussion on where genius comes from and why it is often accompanied by mental illness.  The age-old view that genius and madness are linked has its roots in classical Greece.  Aristotle Read more…

Empathy in Clinical Health Care

A forty-five-year-old Hispanic gentleman became well known to the health system after presenting frequently with shortness of breath and abdominal pain.  His primary care physician ordered multiple laboratory tests and radiologic scans which were unrevealing, and he was seen both a gastroenterologist and a cardiologist who found no organic explanation for his symptoms.  He was Read more…