Brain Lessons

To the Editor:

As a premed undergraduate student, I majored in psychobiology; the study of the brain and behavior. Upon graduation, I happily changed paths and am currently a stay-at-home mom. When I heard about the upcoming First Wednesday lecture on "Brain Lessons and Life Stories", I was delighted (I think some dormant neurons began firing). I do admit that my enthusiasm somewhat dwindled on that frigid night as I pulled myself away from the woodstove; but I quickly realized that it was a night out for mom! I think the brain is the most fascinating and sophisticated organ.

In hearing Dr. Paul Whalen's lecture on the amygdala, I was reminded of the impact that studying the nervous system has on advances in mental as well as physical health and other medical fields of research. His talk was as entertaining as it was informative.

He is currently working on a book and on another study: is the thickness of the path between the prefrontal cortex and the amygdala determined by nature or by nurture? From what I understand, he has found that essentially, those with thinner pathways between these two brain regions have higher levels of anxiety and those with thicker pathways have lower levels.

I look forward to his findings and attending many more First Wednesdays.

Christie Mackson

East Dorset


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