When Zack McDermott was 26, he woke up believing he was the star of a reality show dedicated to him. That was the first of many adventures his bipolar disorder would take him on. He talks about how he ultimately got his life back on track with the help of his mother, which he writes about in “Gorilla and the Bird: A Memoir of Madness and a Mother’s Love”
About one of every 10 people is left-handed. That can be profitable if you’re a pitcher – and a pain if you’re an average Joe living in a right-handed world. Howard Kushner – a historian of medicine and neuroscience – explains why so few people are lefties; and about the many ways cultures worldwide discriminate against them. His new book is called “On the Other Hand: Left Hand, Right Brain, Mental Disorder, and History”.
In India around one fifth of the population still live below the poverty line, according to the most recent World Bank estimates. Businesses selling to this market need to keep prices low. In the famous tech city of Bengaluru, south India, we visit a veterinary clinic for pets, the unlikely home of a surprising young start-up, which is set to revolutionise one of the most common medical devices on the planet – the stethoscope. In a village in Mathura, about three hours drive from New Delhi we take a look at the installation of a new affordable solution to providing solar energy. We then meet a young entrepreneur in Kenya who is looking at the success of firms like Amazon and has developed his own similar internet based delivery system for Kenya’s low-income customers.
Sixty years ago, when hacking meant nosing around the telephone network, it seemed innocent enough. And not all modern hacking has criminal intent. Today, there are biohackers who experiment with implanted electronic devices to improve themselves, and geoengineers who propose to hack the climate. But in our efforts to cool an overheated planet, might we be going down a dangerous path?
Your brain consists of two distinct hemispheres and they collaborate with each other to provide you with different experiences of the world. But has the balance between the two halves of your brain got out of whack – and what’s the impact?
Silicon Valley CEOs, scruffy hippies, and Tibetan monks alike describe meditation as blissful and life-changing, but what does the science say? Can it reduce stress, increase your attention, and improve mental health — or is all this focus on breathing just a bunch of hot air? Sit back, get comfortable, focus your mind and let the experts to sort it out for you. Among them are Tim Ferriss, Professor Gaelle Desbordes, Dr. Clifford Saron, and Dr. Britta Hölzel.
One of the things in life we currently can’t change is our DNA. Yet technological progress shows an exciting promise for significant alterations that would eradicate some of the genetic diseases and enhance certain traits in the genome before birth. In addition, modern research indicates that there is no single “cancer”, “IQ” or “infidelity” gene or that DNA would control our destiny contrary to popular beliefs. University of British Columbia psychology professor Steven Heine joins us to discuss his book “DNA is not Destiny: The Remarkable, Completely Misunderstood Relationship Between You and Your Genes” (W.W. Norton and Co.).
How we can regain control of our impulses – whether it’s a compulsion to constantly check social media, binge eating, smoking, excessive drinking, or any other behaviors, we may find ourselves uncontrollably repeating – explained by an associate professor in medicine and psychiatry at UMass Medical School, Dr. Judson Brewer. He has spent more than 20 years researching addiction and recently published “The Craving Mind: From Cigarettes to Smartphones to Love – Why We Get Hooked and How We Can Break Bad Habits.”
Human memory is a sensory experience, says psychiatrist Bessel van der Kolk. Through his longtime research and innovation in trauma treatment, he shares what he’s learning about how bodywork like yoga or eye movement therapy can restore a sense of goodness and safety. What he’s learning speaks to a resilience we can all cultivate in the face of the overwhelming events.
Bessel van der Kolk is a professor of psychiatry at Boston University Medical School, and he helped found a community-based trauma center in Brookline, Massachusetts. As medical director there, he works with people affected by trauma and adversity to re-establish a sense of safety and predictability in the world, and to reclaim their lives.
Modern medicine, personal health tracking, and why health journalism is broken. Jody Avirgan talks to James Hamblin, the doctor-turned-journalist and a seriously entertaining authority in the field of health. Hamblin, the author of “If Our Bodies Could Talk: A Guide to Operating and Maintaining a Human Body”, draws from his own medical training as well from hundreds of interviews with distinguished scientists and medical practitioners.
Illustration by Ski