Benjamin Franklin famously said, “In this world, nothing is certain except death and taxes.” As a society, people have always tried to cheat on their taxes. More recently, people are getting serious about cheating death. Investments in breakthrough medical technologies have never been stronger. Craig Venter, who mapped the human genome in 2007, founded Human Longevity Inc. in 2014 to end aging, and extend the human lifespan. Google’s Calico invests tens of millions of dollars a year into ‘long-shot’ life extension medical technologies. On an individual level, billionaire Peter Thiel receives injections of blood from younger individuals. Some may find the unorthodox methodology disturbing (it was famously parodied in HBO’s Silicon Valley ), but few can fault the motivation behind it. Who can disagree with wanting to cheat death? More recently, ideas about life extension have taken another turn. Enter the world of mind uploading, and the promise of a digital afterlife. … [Read more...] about The Psychology Of The Digital Afterlife
Truth about secret societies
On the eve of her graduation from Yale in 2012, Marina Keegan wrote an essay that, within about a week, would be read by well over a million people from 98 nations. It was called " The Opposite of Loneliness ." But what is the opposite of loneliness ? Keegan opened her essay by noting that we don't have a word for it, but whatever it is, she found it at Yale: "It is not quite love and it's not quite community; it's just this feeling that there are people, an abundance of people, who are in this together. Who are on your team. When the check is paid and you stay at the table. When it's four A.M. and no one goes to bed… "Yale is full of tiny circles we pull around ourselves. A cappella groups, sports teams, houses, societies, clubs. These tiny groups that make us feel loved and safe and part of something even on our loneliest nights…" That essay opens a collection of Keegan's writings published under the same title, " The Opposite of Loneliness ." (Here is my review … [Read more...] about What Is the Opposite of Loneliness?
A woman teleconferences. Source: Anna Shvets/Pexels The field of psychiatry — much like our society as a whole — is at a turning point. We are beginning to harness the power of the Internet, social media, and digital technologies to improve the ways we diagnose, treat, and connect with our patients. My area of research is focused on how to better leverage our digital footprint, whether through Facebook/social media activity, or Google search history, to develop new tools to deliver the best care possible, especially for youth with schizophrenia . Colleagues at the Feinstein Institutes for Medical Research and Zucker Hillside Hospital are also investigating other emerging areas to help develop digital biomarkers — or clues to mental illness. New digital health solutions, like augmented reality, for example, are being developed to help treat negative symptoms for those with schizophrenia, increase socialization, reduce unemployment and improve the overall quality of … [Read more...] about How Technology Is Personalizing and Progressing Psychiatry
Source: Sarah Kilian/Unsplash It should have been a great evening. I was nicely wedged into the couch with a bowl of popcorn and two slavering dogs, and I was working my way through the entire series of The Queen’s Gambit . I was alone, and it was divine. Brian, my husband, had both our boys on a long day-trip involving socially distanced basketball. He was due to arrive soon, and I felt rested and rejuvenated after indulging in some badly needed alone time. An introvert mom’s longing for alone is never done. And then, they came home. The kid part was fine. They are my children and I missed them and I hugged them hard. I’m not a monster. The husband, however, was a different story. I leaned in to kiss him and I sniffed. And sniffed again. My husband had been drinking. To make a few things clear: Brian is not the alcoholic in the room. I am. He is a totally normal drinker with an annoying ability to have a beer every once in a while without subsequently wanting to … [Read more...] about How to Be Sober and Not Hate Your Spouse
Source: Teddy Hugo Walker/Nuzzle The autumn of 1985 proved a turning point in my career as a veterinarian, one that reached deep to my very essence, brought me to question my ethics and values, and has since imbued every part of my life: the tenderness I treasure as a father and husband; the connections I cherish with colleagues and friends; my empathy for others, both animals and humans; and the compassion that inspires so many choices I make. As I write down these thoughts over 30 years later, I still remember that fall so vividly. We had just dipped our toes into the third year of vet school. With a wild-eyed excitement that had snowballed all summer—after two grueling years spent in lectures and labs in a torrent of formaldehyde, microscopes, and specimens—we were finally entrusted with our first chance in clinics. With stethoscopes draped round our necks, proudly worn as badges; manure-stained, khaki overalls and blue scrub suits in-hand; and student-length, white … [Read more...] about Finding Empathy and Ethics When the Odds Feel Overwhelming