Saturday, September 12, 2009

depressing thought for the day

Take a kid who is institutionalized. Institutions tend to vastly under-stimulate kids, for a number of reasons. Now look at that kid's brain.

Current research indicates that our young brains vastly overproduce the number of both neurons and synapsis, and then trim them back. The thing is that we overproduce according to a genetic program but trim back according to experience, so kids who are chronically (and severely) under-stimulated trim back way too many neurons and connections because according to their environment they don't need them. And as we all know, at least for the sexy higher-functioning regions of the brain, a dead neuron never gets replaced.

So life is horrible and we are all going to die.

And I really shouldn't be complaining about studying because I am incredibly privileged and I know it.

Friday, September 11, 2009

fun fact

It is a Friday night, and I am not out getting drunk with friends as God intended. Instead I am at home studying the mental status exam and the implications of evolutionary psychology for future research. My consolations are few at the moment, but let me share something cool that I learned.

Say you are walking around one day when a flying saucer lands in front of you and a lithe, buxom (if slightly green-skinned) alien emerges to gather samples of earthling sexual energy. How do you know if you are crazy or not?

The answer is simple: touch him/her. Hallucinations derived from mental disorders tend to only be audial or visual, so if you can touch said alien it is probably real. Well, you know.

Hallucinations that are olfactory or tactile tend to derive from more organic disorders or from substance abuse, so if you are on a mess o' mushrooms then all bets are off. Still, it seems like a cool way of being able to distinguish reality from non-reality.

Now you know. And knowing is half the battle!