As if the damn headache wasn’t bad enough…

About two weeks ago, I read a research report in one of our best fundamental neuroscience research journals, Nature Neuroscience, that documented neurological consequences of migraine headaches in a mouse model. This is one of those animal models of a human vascular/neurological condition that appears to relatively faithfully reproduce the physical, chemical and electrical sequelae…

Was that Will really Free?

Not Shakespeare, mind you. We’re talking about the infamous Mr. Seung-Hui Cho. Stephanie noted in a comment that Sharon Begley had written very cogently (and generally in agreement with what I had written) about the origins of behavior that could result in something like the Virginia Tech massacre. Sharon Begley is a highly informed science…

Ultrasound and autism

A former UCSF medical student, Carolyn Rees, now a doc in rural Idaho, wrote me a very informative letter — and raised several interesting questions — that are definitely worth a little discussion here. Dr. Rees asked: Is there any evidence that ultrasound examination can affect brain development? In fact, that evidence is mixed. Over…

What underlies the documented increase in autism incidence? Results of a new study

Studies from the Center for Disease Control and elsewhere have compellingly documented a rapid increase in the incidence of autism in the United States. WHAT THE HELL IS CAUSING IT? Given the enormous human and societal costs of this malady, few practical scientific questions are more important to we Americans, in our current era. Whether…

Computers go to school

The U.S. Department of Education recently published a report that they prepared for Congress summarizing the gains achieved by children using computer-based training in reading and mathematics, comparing randomly assigned classes of children who did or did not use these tools (“Effectiveness of Reading and Mathematics Software Products: Findings from the First Student Cohort”; Report…

The brain and the law, when Bobby goes bad

Each year I deliver a “guest lecture” in a medical ethics course at Stanford. My friend Bill Hurlbut, a member of the President’s Council on Bioethics, is the course director. The issues that I raise in this course were addressed in part by an interesting cover story in the March 11th New York Times Sunday…