Friday, December 9, 2011

Dr. David Eagleman - The Carl Sagan of Brains

To me, Dr. Eagleman is the “Carl Sagan of Brains”. Why?  Because he is brain scientist who can explain the complex physiology of the brain to somebody like me who hasn't taken a science class since the 10th grade. I recommend it because, for those of us with medical brain issues, I find that we often focus on learning about the disease we have without learning about the brain itself.  

For example, his “Team of Rivals”[1] description of the workings of the brain helped me understand, when I’m arguing with myself, whom I’m arguing with. This happens to me the most when I want a piece of pie or bowl of ice cream but know that it’s not particularly good for me. Yes, this is almost a daily argument.

His commentary on how our actions are irrevocably tied to our biology, are particularly relevant to those of us that have had brain surgery.  In this arena, he discusses the behavioral changes of folks with brain tumors – an on-going topic on the American Brain Tumor Association and It’s Just Benign websites.
Is he controversial? Yes. Did I agree or even understand all his positions? No.

If you want to learn a bit more, before putting on reserve at your local library, I recommend that you listen to Terry Gross’ interview with Dr. Eagleman on her Fresh Air program:

[1] The book, Team of Rivals, was written by Doris Kearns Goodwin about Abraham Lincoln’s cabinet. If you like history books or the civil war, it’s well worth reading. 

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