The Fallible Mind:
Emotion, perception, & other tricks of the brain
Neuroscience explains everyday experience in ways that seem highly counterintuitive. As a Duke graduate Dr. Cytowic was attracted to the surprisingly strange and peculiar syndromes encountered neurology. These columns spin out some of those surprises. Visit the Fallible Mind.
The Night I Danced with Liberace
Essay, Los Angeles Review of Books May 26th, 2013
Age 10, the Latin Casino, the Twist!…
“MY HUSBAND AND I HAD A CHOICE of marrying in either California or Massachusetts in July 2008 — the only two states where it was then legal. The West won and we set off, not knowing that we would be one of only 18,000 same-sex couples to marry in the big blue state before Proposition 8 foreclosed that option four months later. Continue reading.
The Long Ordeal of James Brady
Cover Story, New York Times Magazine Sept. 27, 1981
Pulitzer Prize Nomination
The six months since the President’s press secretary walked into an assassin’s line of fire have been a slow, painful, often courageous period of recovery…
IT ALL BEGAN with a voice over the George Washington University Hospital intercom system: All physicians in the trauma team to the ER . . . All physicians in the trauma team to the ER …It It was the hospital’s Code Orange disaster plan. Continue reading.
Virginia Woolf’s Bipolar Illness and Her creativity
- Many Minds, One Story – Seed Magazine
- Virginia Woolf’s mental illness may have ultimately defined her craft—one that rejected convention in a decades-long attempt to portray the very character of consciousness.
Lessons for Patient and Physician in the Art of Dying and the End of Life
- Lessons in the Art of Death and Dying – Washingtonian Magazine
- In the 1950s I went with my father on house calls. Nearly every home seemed to have a sick room, and an invalid in need of comfort. In the 1970s no one taught me how to handle fraught, terrifying situations at the end of life. Today, a majority of Americans die alone in hospitals and nursing homes, out of view.
The Love Doctor
A dozen excerpts from Dr. Cytowic’s essays on dating and romance from MW Magazine under the title “The Love Doctor.”
Aphasia in Maurice Ravel
Bulletin of the Los Angeles Neurological Societies 41:109-114, 1976
Irwin Brody Award, History of Neuroscience, Duke University, 1978
A SELECTIVE LOSS OF LANGUAGE resulting from left hemisphere cerebral lesions is familiar to all neurologists but only rarely does such a deficit allow preexisting extraordinary capabilities of the right hemisphere to emerge. A retrospective case history of French composer Maurice Ravel demonstrates such a right-sided cognitive system. At 58, Ravel was struck with aphasia, which quelled any further artistic output.
Anton Chekhov: A Physician-Genius in Spite of Himself
North Carolina Medical Journal 36:612-14;679-81;733-735: 37:29-31 1975-76
The JOURNAL offers four installments of a study of a great physician, short story writer and dramatist, Anton Chekhov, by a young medical student whose background has given him a particular appreciation of this giant of Russian literature. The list of doctors whose impulse demanded literary expression is endless—Rabelais, Goldsmith, Keats, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Maugham, William Carlos Williams, Weir Mitchell—and Chekhov’s name comes close to leading all the rest. The peculiar genius of Russian literature has had its most recent flowering in the person and works of Alexander Solzhenitsyn, whose CANCER WARD is one of the best novels about medicine ever written.
Ambergris in Your Cup
Café: An Interview Magazine (Sydney)
The Daily Grind—Understanding Your Habit — Java drinkers are equally fond of chocolate, it seems. And why not? The caffeine of coffee and the xanthine of chocolate belong to the same chemical family of stimulants. The famous gastronome Brillat-Savarin (1755-1826) hailed chocolate as “one of the most effective restoratives.”
Your Brain on Screens
The American Interest Magazine, Volume 10, No. 6. June 9, 2015
Addiction to mediated images is imbecilizing America’s youth. The energy-cost functions of our still-Stone Age brain explain both how and why.
Jerome E. Sikorski (1940-2010)
Eulogy at National Cathedral, Washington DC
A good life is long in both intention and extension. We often say of the dead that their life was too short. For some, life was not long enough for all they intended. Jerome Sikorski was one of the latter ones, for he accomplished much in his time, and intended even more.
I first met Jerome in 1970 when I was a freshman at Duke and he directed a program at the Raleigh art museum. He was trained in art, and it remained central throughout his life. He was a decent artist himself, and drew a sublime parody of Albrecht Durer’s St. Jerome in His Study with you–know–who as St. Jerome.
He admired producing artists more than critics, most of whom he criticized as lacking practical experience in how art is actually made. They were lost in theory, he said; he went for the empirical, the practical, the realistic. One of Jerome’s remarkable achievements, I think, was to turn his own life into a work of art….