Studies in Concentration

thumbnail
Chris J Macie, modified 6 Years ago.

Studies in Concentration

Posts: 863 Join Date: 8/17/14 Recent Posts
1) New Yorker, May 18, 2015 pp.98-101
"Anatomy of Error – A surgeon remembers his mistakes"
Book review of "Do No Harm", Henry Marsh, rekowned British neurosurgeon

p.99
      Marsh is fascinated by the brain. He loves looking at it through his counter-balanced surgical microscope, which "leans out over the patient's head like an inquisitive, thoughtful crane." To Marsh, the view is beautiful. At the center of the brain, he writes, the internal cerebral veins are like "the great arches of a cathedral roof"; the Great Vein of Galen can be seen "dark blue and glittering in the light of the microscope. It is "a very private view," "clearer, sharper and more brilliant than the world outside," and "made all the more intense and mysterious by my anxiety." 
      That anxiety begins long before surgery, with the decision to operate in the first place, which could easily be wrong. (A brain scan is mute on the all-important question of how tightly a tumor will cling to the brain.) It continues through a series of meetings in which Marsh must try to explain that uncertainty without alarming his patients. (It's tempting to be reassuring, he writes, but after failed operations he has "bitterly regretted having been too optimistic.") Bicycling to the hospital, Marsh is oppressed by dread – "almost a feeling of doom" – and, before surgery, he is often seized by panic, which is swept away, at the last moment, by "fierce and happy concentration."

2) New Yorker, May 18, 2015 pp.74-83
"Lighting the Brain – Karl Deisseroth and the optogenetics breakthrough"
Profile article by John Colapinto

p.76
(after a patient interview –Deisseroth is a praticing psychiatrist as well as neuroscientist)
Later, Deisseroth told me that Sally's [the patient] response to the treatment was good evidence for the efficacy of VNS [vagus nerve stimulation]. But is also provided valuable insight for Deisseroth in his work as a neuroscientist."When I'm sitting in front of a patient, it concentrates the mind wonderfully," he says. "It's a source of hypothesis, a source of ideas."

p.78 Deisseroth seems never to be on tilt [like a poker player not on track after a beginning bad hand]. He attributes this partly to his psychiatric training: "Those nights on call where there are five emergencies, you've got a patient in restraints in the E.R., where they need you immediately, patients up on the psychiatry floor, where someone punched a nurse – you develop a little bit of a 'just get through it one thing at a time.'" His unusual calm has allowed him to compartmentalize competing demands (fatherhood, marriage, neuroscience, literary endeavors, clinical psychiatry, speaking appearances at dozens of conferences a year), so that he can think through complex problems. He told me that, while many people find that walking or jogging shakes ideas loose from the subconscious, he needs to quell all physical activity. "Otherwise, I get this disruption from the motor cortex," he said. "I have to be totally still." Ideas come floating up "like a bubble in liguid." At that point, he goes into an excitable motor state,  pacing or scribbling down ideas.
thumbnail
SeTyR ZeN, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Studies in Concentration

Posts: 113 Join Date: 9/9/14 Recent Posts
quite interresting Chris ! many thanks

Breadcrumb