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It has been an exciting week wandering the web. I am especially proud to announce that yours truly has been recognized by the Brain blogging carnival for my series on depression. Check it out, for a lot of great articles covering the biological, social, and psychological perspectives of the mind. But enough tooting my own horn, check out these picks from the week’s wanderings of the ether. Read the rest of this entry »

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More and more lately, I hear from those who would reduce man to a machine. Certain outspoken scientists proclaim life as random, the result of chemical interactions and natural processes, and free will as an illusion. As I have stated before many neuroscientists are seeking to unlock the mystery of the brain and explain away consciousness. Others are convinced that we have evolved logic and can now leave primitive emotion behind. Occasionally this logic is overpowered by the primitive structures labeled by Arthur Koestler as the Ghost in the machine, a derogative term for mind-body dualism. Apparently, the Vulcan race is what these fellows aspire too. We could solve all the problems of the world if we could just be strictly logical, and lose emotion. It seems simple enough doesn’t it? Read the rest of this entry »

I am starting a new weekly feature. Here are my some of my favorite stops wandering through cyberspace this past week. Read the rest of this entry »

One of the largest fronts in the Religion vs. Science culture wars of our time is embryonic stem cell medical research. From a secular medicine point of view, we can and obviously should be using any and every means at our disposal for advancing technology to fight the diseases and scourges of our day. I am by no means unsympathetic to this point of view. I see very real and tragic stories everyday in children with damaged nervous systems that cannot recover, and for whom their is no curative or reparative treatment.

However, from a religious or even ethical point of view, things are just not that black and white. There is a point where just because we can does not mean we should. Nazi medicine shot into high gear with experimentation and eugenics on all kinds of “subhuman” or “damaged” subjects, certainly making scientific advancement easier but only in the most abhorrent and repugnant way.

While not always this obvious, the scientific community has a checkered history of recognizing when can does not mean should. They deeply resent any hint of suggestion of applying brakes when they see possibilities. The resentment goes doubles if the concerns are religious, with the two communities frequently at odds and at each others throats since the days of Galileo. Read the rest of this entry »

I posted before about how I see a clear difference between brain and mind. Today I want to explore the difference between mind and spirit. There are those in the Scientific field who would disagree and are endeavoring to explain away consciousness, and spirituality as a pure brain physical phenomenon. Read the rest of this entry »

Disclosure–This is an intensely personal subject for me.  I suffer from Major Depression, I have had to come to a knowledge of this thing both as a patient and a physician and as a committed religious person.  In my journey, I have gained a LOT of perspective and at a painful price.  Ironically, I think the biggest reason I still use the Doc pseudonym for posting is the stigma this problem might create for me as a physician.  My particular story is to come in a later post when I am in a more soul baring mood.

Who is to blame for depression? Ourselves, God, the devil, our genes, our culture, our  loved ones, our experience, our brain? Read the rest of this entry »

The medical study of the mind long ago went a cosmic split between psychiatry and neurology, between higher function and the unknown and lower function and relatively understood.

Psychiatry and study of the mind has traditionally taken in the “whole person” and more abstract theories of thought, mood, behavior. Neurology, OTOH, is very mechanistic, rooted in basic science, medicine, and physiology. It clearly focuses on the Brain and its function, normal versus pathology. Today there is a strong tendency to wipe this distinction away and rejoin the disciplines, and for some good reasons.

After all conditions like Schizophrenia and Alzheimer dementia, for example, are clearly organic syndromes and it would seem the scientific, bench research, mechanistic approach will lend itself well to finding treatment for them, vastly improving the lives of those suffering from them.

It seems to me that the medical model definitely has its limits.   Read the rest of this entry »

After lurking the Bloggernacle far too long, I have decided to take Elder Ballard’s Initiative to heart. I have reached a point in residency when I might conceivably keep up with a blog. I have found I am becoming bored with blogs lately. The issues I love to discuss and have a passion for are discussed infrequently. So here goes my project to pontificate and discuss my own interests unabashedly. I am a student of the mind and brain, a physician and healer, and a committed, spiritual person. I feel that as such I might occasionally have something interesting to say. We will see where it goes.

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