Stuffing envelopes at work means I can watch interesting things while I do it. And this is very interesting! There is some amazing stuff in this short TED talk by Andres Lozano (chair of neurosurgery at the University of Toronto) showing the results of deep brain stimulation. The physical results in a patient with Parkinson’s and a boy with dystonia are just astonishing (the results in patients with Alzheimer’s and depression are amazing too, they’re just not as easy to see, other than in brain scans).
My depression is nowhere near bad enough to need surgical intervention, but it fascinates me to learn more about how the brain works.
I’m also, coincidentally, reading Ruby Wax’s book, Sane New World. It’s a great read, with Wax’s trademark humour and her own experiences with depression thrown in, so it’s not a completely dry book about brains. She talks a bit about neuroplasticity, which is something that has fascinated me since I started seeing my current counsellor, because she talks about it a lot. That’s the idea that the brain isn’t a static organ, but changes throughout life depending on the pathways you create and reinforce (needless to say that is a wildly simplified definition!). I might write more about what the book has to say when I’ve finished reading it; I’m up to the topic of mindfulness and how that can help with depression.