You Can’t Dissect a Virtual Cadaver

What is lost when we lose in-person learning. BY MICHAEL DENHAM Last year, my first in medical school at Columbia University, I used a bone saw to slice through the top half of a cadaver’s skull, revealing a gray brain lined with purple blood vessels. This was Clinical Gross Anatomy, the first-year course that has fascinated or devastated (or both) every medical student. You never forget the day you open the skull. Cutting into the brain, unlike the muscles of a forearm or the arteries running down a thigh, feels personal. As a cloud of aerosolized bone dust particles darkened … Continue reading You Can’t Dissect a Virtual Cadaver

When the Line Between Life and Death Is ‘a Little Bit Fuzzy’

Every state recognizes brain death. But rules vary, and the true line separating life from death is ambiguous as ever. BY LOLA BUTCHER UNTIL SEPT. 17, 2020, Sharon Frederick was an ostensibly healthy 63-year-old woman who spent her days caring for her disabled sister and going to church. That evening, she was praying the rosary over the telephone with a friend when she began slurring her words. By the time an ambulance delivered her to St. Elizabeth Medical Center in Utica, New York, Frederick was comatose after suffering a massive stroke. Four days later, a physician declared her to be brain dead, … Continue reading When the Line Between Life and Death Is ‘a Little Bit Fuzzy’

Mind and God: The new science of neurotheology

Studies show that religion and spirituality are positively linked to good mental health. Our research aims to figure out how and why. by Andrew Newberg  Neurotheology is a field that unites brain science and psychology with religious belief and practices. There are several indirect and direct mechanisms that link spirituality with improved mental health. Compassion and love are positive emotions that will make your brain healthier. The field of neurotheology continues to expand from its early origins several decades ago to the present day. In its simplest definition, neurotheology refers to the field of scholarship that seeks to understand the relationship between … Continue reading Mind and God: The new science of neurotheology

The myths that hint at past disaster

10th May 2021Myths and fables passed down over thousands of years are full of fantastic creatures and warring gods. But they also might contain evidence of environmental disasters of the past. By Mark Piesing For those affected, it could seem like the end of the world. Residents of Stinson Beach, a popular tourist destination near San Francisco, are coming to terms with studies that show large parts of their neighbourhood will be under a foot of water in less than 20 years. The affluent are able to build homes on raised foundations and afford expensive sea defences that will hold the … Continue reading The myths that hint at past disaster

Between Science and Magic: How Hummingbirds Hover at the Edge of the Possible

How a tiny creature faster than the Space Shuttle balances the impossible equation of extreme fragility and superhuman strength. BY MARIA POPOVA Frida Kahlo painted a hummingbird into her fiercest self-portrait. Technology historian Steven Johnson drew on hummingbirds as the perfect metaphor for revolutionary innovation. Walt Whitman found great joy and solace in watching a hummingbird “coming and going, daintily balancing and shimmering about,” as he was learning anew how to balance a body coming and going in the world after his paralytic stroke. For poet and gardener Ross Gay, “the hummingbird hovering there with its green-gold breast shimmering, slipping its needle nose … Continue reading Between Science and Magic: How Hummingbirds Hover at the Edge of the Possible

The truth behind the ‘genius’

IMDB/COURTESY BY JEANA LEE  In 1939, a first-year doctoral student at UC Berkeley named George Dantzig, arrived late to class. His professor, famous statistician Jerzy Neyman, had written two statistics problems on the blackboard. Dantzig quickly jotted them down, assuming that they were homework problems. A few days later, Dantzig turned in the problems late to Professor Neyman, apologizing for the overdue assignment. The problems had seemed “a little harder to do than usual.” Six weeks later, an ecstatic Professor Neyman knocked on Dantzig’s door. As it turns out, the problems weren’t homework at all. They just so happened to be … Continue reading The truth behind the ‘genius’

How Your Body Remembers Trauma

KKGAS / STOCKSY UNITED Trauma can have damaging long-term effects, even on your physical health. Arm yourself with the science behind the sensations and therapies that can kickstart healing. BY MERYL DAVIDS LANDAU Amy Orr was watching TV one night some time ago when she felt a stabbing pain in her upper abdomen. Still hurting a few days later, she went to the emergency room, where doctors suspected gallstones. But tests were inconclusive, so they gave her pain meds and sent her home. The pain vanished that night, but it showed up again and again for months. She wound up at … Continue reading How Your Body Remembers Trauma

Mathematics for gamblers

If philosophers and mathematicians struggle with probability, can gamblers really hope to grasp their losing game? by Catalin Barboianu is a gaming mathematician, philosopher of science, and problem-gambling researcher. Among his books for the general public are eight books on mathematics of gambling and What Is Mathematics: School Guide to Conceptual Understanding of Mathematics (2021). Edited by Sally Davies Amathematician, a philosopher and a gambler walk into a bar. As the barman pulls each of them a beer, he decides to stir up a bit of trouble. He pulls a die from his pocket and rolls it ostentatiously on the bar counter: it … Continue reading Mathematics for gamblers

What’s the minimum number of people needed to survive an apocalypse?

A surprisingly small population could save our species. By Patrick Pester – Staff Writer  From all-out nuclear war to a giant asteroid strike, it’s not hard to imagine ways human life on Earth could abruptly end. But assuming there are some survivors, how many people would it take to keep our species going?   The short answer is, it depends. Different catastrophes would create different doomsday conditions for surviving human populations to endure. For example, a nuclear war could trigger a nuclear winter, with survivors facing freezing summer temperatures and global famine, not to mention radiation exposure. However, putting some of these conditions aside and focusing on … Continue reading What’s the minimum number of people needed to survive an apocalypse?

What Happens to Your Body When You Take a Cold Shower, Says Science

If you’re brave enough to try it, taking cold showers can change your life for the better. BY JOHN ANDERER FACT CHECKED BY WILLIAM MAYLE Given the choice, 99 out of 100 people would choose an inviting warm shower over an ice-cold one. But like in so many other areas of life, there’s something to be gained by jumping out of one’s comfort zone. The truth is, a cold shower can induce a number of changes and positive reactions in the human body that are beneficial across your physical, cognitive, and mental health. Now, I know what you’re thinking. “Water … Continue reading What Happens to Your Body When You Take a Cold Shower, Says Science