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And-most important-from this model may evolve the Site- ul de intalnire cre? tina and tools we need to affect our own lives, mold our own destinies, change ourselves and our society in ways that, as yet, we can only imagine.

The universe is suffused with spiritual messages, he says, if you just allow yourself to tune in. I glance at his medical chart, noting that he has suffered from temporal lobe epilepsy since early adolescence, and that is when "God began talking" to him.

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Do his religious experiences have anything to do with his temporal lobe seizures? An amateur athlete lost his arm in a motorcycle accident but continues to feel a "phantom arm" with vivid sensations of movement.

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He can wave the missing arm in midair, "touch" things and even reach out and "grab" a coffee cup. If I pull the cup away from him suddenly, he yelps in pain. I can feel it being wrenched from my fingers," he says, wmcmg. But to her dismay, she often sees cartoon characters cavorting within the blind spot itself.

Imagine having a conversation with a native speaker and hesitating because you lack a solid vocabulary base. When I download free resources like this, I find opportunities to use them with co-teachers, friends, or my language tutors.

Or sometimes she sees cartoon versions of real people she's always known. A schoolteacher suffered a stroke that paralyzed the left side of her body, but she insists that her left arm is not paralyzed. Once, when I asked her whose arm was lying in the bed next to her, she explained that the limb belonged to her brother. A librarian from Philadelphia who had a different kind of stroke began to laugh uncontrollably.

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This went on for a full day, until she literally died laughing. And then there is Arthur, a young man who sustained a terrible head injury in an automobile crash and soon afterward claimed that his father and mother had been replaced by duplicates who looked exactly like his real parents.

He recognized their faces but they seemed odd, unfamiliar. The only way Arthur could make any sense out of the situation was to assume that his parents were impostors. None of these people is "crazy" ; sending Dummy Mute Woman Dating to psychiatrists would be a waste of time.

Rather, each of them suffers from damage to a specific part of the brain that leads to bizarre but highly characteristic changes in behavior.

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They hear voices, feel missing limbs, see things that no one else does, deny the obvious Dummy Mute Woman Dating make wild, extraordinary claims about other people and the world we all live in. Yet for the most part they are lucid, rational and no more insane than you or I. Although enigmatic disorders like these have intrigued and perplexed physicians throughout history, they are usually chalked up as curiosities­ case studies stuffed into a drawer labeled "file and forget.

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Their goal is to alleviate symptoms and to make people well again, not necessarily to dig deeper or to learn how the brain works. Psychiatrists often invent ad hoc theories for curious syndromes, as if a bizarre condition requires an Dummy Mute Woman Dating bizarre explana­ tion. Odd symptoms are blamed on the patient's upbringing bad thoughts from childhood or even on the patient's mother a bad nur­ turer.


Phantoms in the Brain takes the opposite viewpoint. These pa­ tients, whose stories you will hear in detail, are our guides into the inner workings of the human brain-yours and mine. Have you ever wondered why some jokes are funny and others are not, why you make an explosive sound when you laugh, why you are inclined to believe or disbelieve in God, and why you feel erotic sensations when someone sucks your toes?

Surprisingly, we can now be­ gin to provide scientific answers to at least some of these questions. Indeed, by studying these patients, we can even address lofty "philo­ sophical" questions about the nature of the self: Why do you endure as one Dummy Mute Woman Dating through space and time, and Dummy Mute Woman Dating brings about the seamless unity of subjective experience?

What does it mean to make a choice or to will an action? And more generally, how does the activity of tiny wisps of protoplasm in the brain lead to conscious experience?

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Philosophers love to debate questions like these, but it's only now becoming clear that such issues can be tackled experimentally. By moving these patients out of the clinic and into the laboratory, we can conduct experiments that help reveal the deep architecture of our brains.

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Indeed, we can pick up where Freud left off, ushering in what might be called an era of experimental epistemology the study of how the brain repre­ sents knowledge and belief and cognitive neuropsychiatry the interface between mental and physical disorders of the brainand start experi­ menting on belief systems, consciousness, mind-body interactions and other hallmarks of human behavior.

I believe that being a medical scientist is not all that different from being a sleuth. In this book, I've attempted to share the sense of mystery that lies at the heart of all scientific pursuits and is especially characteristic of the forays we make in trying to understand our own minds. Each story begins with either an account of a patient displaying seemingly inexpli­ cable symptoms or a broad question about human nature, such as why we laugh or why we are so prone to self-deception.

We then go step by step through the same sequence of ideas that I followed in my own mind as I tried to tackle these cases. In some instances, as with phantom limbs, I can claim to have genuinely solved the mystery.

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In others-as in the chapter on God-the final answer remains elusive, even though we come tantalizingly close. But whether the case is solved or not, I hope to con­ vey the spirit of intellectual adventure that accompanies this pursuit and makes neurology the most fascinating of all disciplines.

As Sherlock Holmes told Watson, "The game is afoot! But, by simply showing him photo­ graphs of different people and measuring the extent to which he starts sweating using a device similar to the lie detector testI was able to figure out exactly what had Dummy Mute Woman Dating wrong in his brain see chapter 9. This is a recurring theme in this book: We begin with a set of symptoms that seem bizarre and incomprehensible and then end up-at least in some cases-with an intellectually satisfYing account in terms of the neural circuitry in the patient's brain.

And in doing so, we have often not only discovered something new about how the brain works but simultaneously Dummy Mute Woman Dating the doors to a whole new direction of research. But before we begin, I think it's important for you to understand my personal approach to science and why I am drawn to curious cases. When I give talks to lay audiences around the country, one question comes up again and again: "When are you brain scientists ever going to come up with a unified theory for how the mind works?

There's Einstein's general theory of relativity and Newton's universal law of gravitation in physics.

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Why not one for the brain? Every science has to go through an initial "experiment" or phenomena-driven stage-in which its practitioners are still discovering the basic laws-before it reaches a more sophisticated theory-driven stage.

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Consider the evolution of ideas about electricity and magnetism. Although people had vague notions about lodestones and magnets for centuries and used them both for making compasses, the Victorian physicist Michael Faraday was the first to study magnets systematically. He did two very simple experiments with astonishing results.

In one experiment-which any schoolchild can re­ peat-he simply placed a bar magnet behind a sheet of paper, sprinkled powdered iron filings on the surface of the paper and found that they spontaneously aligned themselves along the magnetic lines of force this was the very first time anyone had demonstrated the existence of fields in physics.

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In the second experiment, Faraday moved a bar magnet to and fro in the center of a coil of wire, and, lo and behold, this action produced an electrical current in the wire. These informal demonstra­ tions-and this book is full of examples of this sort-had deep implica­ tions:1 They linked Dummy Mute Woman Dating and electricity for the first time. My point is simply that neuroscience today is in the Faraday stage, not in the Maxwell stage, and there is no point in trying to jump ahead.

I would love to be proved wrong, of course, and there is certainly no harm in trying to construct formal theories about the brain, even if one fails and there is no shortage of people who are trying.

But for me, the best research strategy might be characterized as "tinkering. But that's exactly what I mean although these hunches are far from random; they are always guided by intuition. I've been interested i n science as long as I can remember.

When I was eight or nine years old, I started collecting fossils and seashells, becoming obsessed with taxonomy and evolution.

A little later I set up a small chemistry lab under the Femeie femeie dating site in our house and enjoyed watching iron filings "fizz" in hydrochloric acid and listening to the hydrogen "pop" when I set fire to it.

The iron displaced the hydrogen from the hydro­ chloric acid to form iron chloride Dummy Mute Woman Dating hydrogen.