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Photo by JPhillipson, used onder creative commons license

 

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     It is a strange thing to sit at the end of a very long, very intense road that is training to be a physician and take a look back on the winding, arduous road I took to get here.  I am now endeavoring to prove I have done all of it by gathering documentation of the past 15 years of my life in excruciating detail.  With just one final test to go, my neurology boards,  I have become an absolute master at the ubiquitous modern knowledge measuring tool, namely I can fill bubbles on a scan sheet in completely, inside the lines with a no. 2 pencil, choosing only one answer and always guessing if I don’t know.

   It is amazing how standardized tests have become the mainstay of education these days.  Colleges and medical schools use them to differentiate students, nations use them to compare their system to other nations, and No Child Left Behind uses them to set minimum standards for funding our schools.   We use them to prove we can drive in most states.  We use them to measure IQ’s all over the internet.  We use them to poll current public opinion.  We use them to test marketing for the latest breakfast sandwich.  Mensa and the triple nine society determine your eligibility for geniushood by these tests.  Everyone can be boiled down to how they fill out these neat little bubbles.  Read the rest of this entry »

 

   Way back in the 1940s Jerome Kagan performed a classic study on personality in which he formed a core concept that rooted at least part of the mind in biology.  This was an incredible breakthrough in understanding that certain perceptions and reactions can be rooted in inherited traits.  What Dr. Kagan did was observe a bunch of children as eight month old infants. Read the rest of this entry »

And we’re back.  With this blog now in its second year, I am resetting the counter for points of interest, my irregularly irregular romp through all things mind, body and soul on the internets.  I waited on this oune until the weekend when I have usually put these out and as such had too many great posts to include.  Sheesh, slow down bloggers.  If only my muse were so kind.  Anyway, without further delay, I present the best I could find- Read the rest of this entry »

     Whether its Moses parting the Red Sea, Jesus rising from the dead, Mohammed riding a winged horse of fire up into heaven, or the Angel Moroni appearing to Joseph Smith to lead him to an ancient record written by his own hand on gold plates, all the World’s great religions are founded upon miracles. They are fantastic and dramatic, and awe inspiring. They are also generally ridiculed and looked down upon in today’s “evidence based” world. To believe in miracles is to be gullible. In today’s world there must always be an explanation.

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Every man can, if he so desires, become the sculptor his own brain“.
             Santiago Ramon y Cajal (1852-1934)
                             Spanish Neuroscientist

  Life is distinguished from the inanimate by its ability to recreate itself and hold a pattern.  Throughout our lives, The very material we are made up of is recycled or regenerated.  Every few weeks we completely change out the cells that compose our skin.   The body is constantly in a state of regenerating itself.  Even the bones are borrowing or depositing calcium throughout our lives.  The machinery of our cells are constantly disposing of waste, replacing damaged portions, killing cells that are old or dysfunctional and making new ones.  All this processes are kept in order by our genetic information.  In essence the only thing that holds our form and keeps it from weathering away and degenerating is our DNA.  This is the master set of instructions that our cells use to replace, rebuild, and develop us into the body we now have.  It is the ultimate difference between the collection of elements that is us, and a rock.

     However, there is much more to what we are than just the DNA blueprints.  I remember a moment at the beginning of my very first year of medical school that really brought this home to me.  In anatomy we had to memorize every crater, every bump, every nodule, line and crevice in every bone in the body.  As we learned about these landmarks, we learned that they form not as part of some genetic program, but as a reaction to stress forces from pulling tendons and ligaments, triggering a reaction that caused the cells in that part of the bone to duplicate and reinforce the bone as needed.  In other words, our actions determine the shape of our bones every bit as much as our genes.

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Another week come and gone and the Internet has been full of good stuff as always. I may be going overboard with the two videos, apologies if it should slow page loading, but the wait is worth it. So without further adieu I present the best I’ve seen, especially for you, the reader. Read the rest of this entry »

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