2008年5月26日 星期一

A Superhighway to Bliss

A Superhighway to Bliss

AJ Mast for The New York Times

Jill Bolte Taylor’s stroke led her to euphoria.

Published: May 25, 2008

JILL BOLTE TAYLOR was a neuroscientist working at Harvard’s brain research center when she experienced nirvana.

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AJ Mast for The New York Times

Dr. Taylor says the right, creative lobe can be used to foster contentment.

But she did it by having a stroke.

On Dec. 10, 1996, Dr. Taylor, then 37, woke up in her apartment near Boston with a piercing pain behind her eye. A blood vessel in her brain had popped. Within minutes, her left lobe — the source of ego, analysis, judgment and context — began to fail her. Oddly, it felt great.

The incessant chatter that normally filled her mind disappeared. Her everyday worries — about a brother with schizophrenia and her high-powered job — untethered themselves from her and slid away.

Her perceptions changed, too. She could see that the atoms and molecules making up her body blended with the space around her; the whole world and the creatures in it were all part of the same magnificent field of shimmering energy.

“My perception of physical boundaries was no longer limited to where my skin met air,” she has written in her memoir, “My Stroke of Insight,” which was just published by Viking.

After experiencing intense pain, she said, her body disconnected from her mind. “I felt like a genie liberated from its bottle,” she wrote in her book. “The energy of my spirit seemed to flow like a great whale gliding through a sea of silent euphoria.”

While her spirit soared, her body struggled to live. She had a clot the size of a golf ball in her head, and without the use of her left hemisphere she lost basic analytical functions like her ability to speak, to understand numbers or letters, and even, at first, to recognize her mother. A friend took her to the hospital. Surgery and eight years of recovery followed.

Her desire to teach others about nirvana, Dr. Taylor said, strongly motivated her to squeeze her spirit back into her body and to get well.

This story is not typical of stroke victims. Left-brain injuries don’t necessarily lead to blissful enlightenment; people sometimes sink into a helplessly moody state: their emotions run riot. Dr. Taylor was also helped because her left hemisphere was not destroyed, and that probably explains how she was able to recover fully.

Today, she says, she is a new person, one who “can step into the consciousness of my right hemisphere” on command and be “one with all that is.”

To her it is not faith, but science. She brings a deep personal understanding to something she long studied: that the two lobes of the brain have very different personalities. Generally, the left brain gives us context, ego, time, logic. The right brain gives us creativity and empathy. For most English-speakers, the left brain, which processes language, is dominant. Dr. Taylor’s insight is that it doesn’t have to be so.

Her message, that people can choose to live a more peaceful, spiritual life by sidestepping their left brain, has resonated widely.

In February, Dr. Taylor spoke at the Technology, Entertainment, Design conference (known as TED), the annual forum for presenting innovative scientific ideas. The result was electric. After her 18-minute address was posted as a video on TED’s Web site, she become a mini-celebrity. More than two million viewers have watched her talk, and about 20,000 more a day continue to do so. An interview with her was also posted on Oprah Winfrey’s Web site, and she was chosen as one of Time magazine’s 100 most influential people in the world for 2008.

She also receives more than 100 e-mail messages a day from fans. Some are brain scientists, who are fascinated that one of their own has had a stroke and can now come back and translate the experience in terms they can use. Some are stroke victims or their caregivers who want to share their stories and thank her for her openness.

But many reaching out are spiritual seekers, particularly Buddhists and meditation practitioners, who say her experience confirms their belief that there is an attainable state of joy.

“People are so taken with it,” said Sharon Salzberg, a founder of the Insight Mediation Society in Barre, Mass. “I keep getting that video in e-mail. I must have 100 copies.”

She is excited by Dr. Taylor’s speech because it uses the language of science to describe an occurrence that is normally ethereal. Dr. Taylor shows the less mystically inclined, she said, that this experience of deep contentment “is part of the capacity of the human mind.”

Since the stroke, Dr. Taylor has moved to Bloomington, Ind., an hour from where she was raised in Terre Haute and where her mother, Gladys Gillman Taylor, who nursed her back to health, still lives.

Originally, Dr. Taylor became a brain scientist — she has a Ph.D. in life sciences with a specialty in neuroanatomy — because she has a mentally ill brother who suffers from delusions that he is in direct contact with Jesus. And for her old research lab at Harvard, she continues to speak on behalf of the mentally ill.

But otherwise, she has dialed back her once loaded work schedule. Her house is on a leafy cul-de-sac minutes from Indiana University, which she attended as an undergraduate and where she now teaches at the medical school.

Her foyer is painted a vibrant purple. She greets a stranger at the door with a warm hug. When she talks, her pale blue eyes make extended contact.

Never married, she lives with her dog and two cats. She unselfconsciously calls her mother, 82, her best friend.

She seems bemused but not at all put off by the hundreds who have reached out to her on a spiritual level. Religious ecstatics who claim to see angels have asked her to appear on their radio and television programs.

She has declined these offers. Although her father is an Episcopal minister and she was raised in his church, she cannot be counted among the traditionally faithful. “Religion is a story that the left brain tells the right brain,” she said.

Still, Dr. Taylor says, “nirvana exists right now.”

“There is no doubt that it is a beautiful state and that we can get there,” she said.

That belief has certainly sparked debate. On Web sites like evolvingbeings.com and in Eckhart Tolle discussion groups, people debate whether she is truly enlightened or just physically damaged and confused.

Even her own scientific brethren have wondered.

“When I saw her on the TED video, at first I thought, Oh my god, is she losing it,” said Dr. Francine M. Benes, director of the Harvard Brain Tissue Resource Center, where Dr. Taylor once worked.

Dr. Benes makes clear that she still thinks Dr. Taylor is an extraordinary and competent woman. “It is just that the mystical side was not apparent when she was at Harvard,” Dr. Benes said.

Dr. Taylor makes no excuses or apologies, or even explanations. She says instead that she continues to battle her left brain for the better. She gently offers tips on how it might be done.

“As the child of divorced parents and a mentally ill brother, I was angry,” she said. Now when she feels anger rising, she trumps it with a thought of a person or activity that brings her pleasure. No meditation necessary, she says, just the belief that the left brain can be tamed.

Her newfound connection to other living beings means that she is no longer interested in performing experiments on live rat brains, which she did as a researcher.

She is committed to making time for passions — physical and visual — that she believes exercise her right brain, including water-skiing, guitar playing and stained-glass making. A picture of one of her intricate stained-glass pieces — of a brain — graces the cover of her book.

Karen Armstrong, a religious historian who has written several popular books including one on the Buddha, says there are odd parallels between his story and Dr. Taylor’s.

“Like this lady, he was reluctant to return to this world,” she said. “He wanted to luxuriate in the sense of enlightenment.”

But, she said, “the dynamic of the religious required that he go out into the world and share his sense of compassion.”

And in the end, compassion is why Dr. Taylor says she wrote her memoir. She thinks there is much to be mined from her experience on how brain-trauma patients might best recover and, in fact, she hopes to open a center in Indiana to treat such patients based on those principles.

And then there is the question of world peace. No, Dr. Taylor doesn’t know how to attain that, but she does think the right hemisphere could help. Or as she told the TED conference:

“I believe that the more time we spend choosing to run the deep inner peace circuitry of our right hemispheres, the more peace we will project into the world, and the more peaceful our planet will be.”

It almost seems like science.


解釋醫專名詞有一套 衛署推實用醫學辭典

http://www.cdnews.com.tw 2008-05-25 16:49:26


 中央社25日報導,整天鼻水流不停,醫生說是「過敏性鼻炎」,一直吃藥卻沒有好轉;曾經開刀,同一部位要再次開刀,醫生卻說「沾黏」嚴重,聽得 一頭霧水,體內又沒有膠水,怎麼會「沾黏」?其實,「過敏性鼻炎」要改善,首要之務在清除環境過敏原,「沾黏」是指開刀部位組織再生時,被切開的部位接合 時形成的纖維組織。



 有鑑於此,醫管會參考美國國家醫學圖書館將人體區分成二十一個解剖位置分類,加上兒科及一般外科共二十三個部分,自 2004 年十一月委託中華民國血液病學會等二十四個專業醫學會,蒐集四千一百二十八個醫學專業名詞,由各部位專科醫師逐一撰擬淺顯易懂、不失專業的解釋,日前委由 合記圖書出版社出版「實用醫學辭典」。

 黃進興說,「實用醫學辭典」為方便民眾檢索,這本辭典還採用中文筆劃、解剖部位及醫院常見科別三種索引方式,目前已在各大書局上架,每本售價新 台幣四百八十元,盼民眾能將這本辭典當成與一般語文辭典一樣的居家工具書,在自己、家人有病時,透過辭典更了解病情,從而建立醫病溝通的橋樑。


【甯瑋瑜╱台北報導】環境賀爾蒙「壬基苯酚」 (Nonylphenol,簡稱NP)可能傷害兒童生殖系統。繼衛生署限制洗碗劑所含NP上限濃度,不得超過0.1%後,日前再預告將洗面乳、沐浴乳,一併納入上限管制範圍內,最快下月中公告實施。

衛 生署藥政處官員說,沐浴乳、洗面乳加添NP,主要作用是加強清潔效果。因洗面乳、沐浴乳不含藥,現在是不需查驗登記,因此無法掌握國內產品是否含NP。官 員說,NP成本低,來路不明販售洗臉與沐浴產品,可能會含有NP。民眾選購時,可觀察產品外包裝是否有「Nonylphenol」成分。


Nonylphenol is an organic compound of the wider family of alkylphenols. It is a product of industrial synthesis formed during the alkylation process of phenols, particularly in the synthesis of polyethoxylate detergents. Because of their man-made origins, nonylphenols are classified as xenobiotics. In nonylphenols, a hydrocarbon chain of nine carbon atoms is attached to the phenol ring in either the ortho (2), meta (3), or para (4) position, with the most common ring isomers being ortho or para (e.g. figure 1 para-nonylphenol). Moreover, the alkyl chains can exist as either linear n-alkyl chains, or complex branched chains. Nonylphenol is commonly obtained as a mixture of isomers, and is thus usually found as a pale yellow liquid at room temperature with a freezing point of -10°C and a boiling point of 295-320°C. However, pure isomers of nonylphenol crystallize readily at room temperatures and for example, para-n-nonylphenol, forms white crystals at room temperature.

Ethoxylated alkylphenols, alkylphenol ethoxylates (APE), are used as industrial surfactants in manufacture of wool and metal, as emulsifiers for emulsion polymerization, in laboratory detergents, and pesticides. APEs are a component of some household detergents outside of Europe; within Europe, due to environmental concerns, they are replaced by more expensive but safer alcohol ethoxylates.

Nonoxynol-9, one of the APEs, is used as a surfactant in cleaning and cosmetic products, and as a spermicide in contraceptives.

Nonylphenol, and a related compound tert-octylphenol, were first detected as an air pollutant in New York City and New Jersey, probably due to its evaporation from the Hudson river and other smaller rivers in the region that routinely receive municipal wastewaters. It is possible that the atmosphere is a destructive sink for nonylphenol as it is probably reactive with atmospheric radicals and/or is photoactive.

Nonylphenol and nonyphenol ethoxylates have been banned in the European Union as a hazard to human and environmental safety.

Biochemically, p-nonylphenol and many of its derivatives act as a xenoestrogen.

2008年5月11日 星期日


Op-Ed: Change We Can Stomach


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stomach PhoneticPhoneticPhoneticPhoneticPhoneticPhoneticPhoneticPhoneticPhoneticPhonetic
noun [C] plural stomachs
an organ in the body where food is digested, or the soft front part of your body just below the chest:
He was punched in the stomach.
The doctor asked him to lie down on his stomach.
The sight of blood always churns/turns my stomach (= makes me feel as if I am going to vomit).
She's got a very delicate stomach and doesn't eat spicy food.
I was hungry and my stomach had started growling/rumbling (= making noises).
He felt a knot of nervousness in the pit (= bottom) of his stomach.
I suggested that a cup of tea might settle (= calm) her stomach.
See picture .

verb [T usually in negatives]
to be able to accept an unpleasant idea or watch something unpleasant:
He can't stomach the idea that Peter might be the next chairman.
She found the violence in the film hard to stomach.


中時電子報 - Taiwan
台灣勞工陣線秘書長孫友聯就質疑,美國要求的病(人)、 護(士)比例至少是一比五,台灣護理人員的工作量卻高達 兩倍以上,醫療品質如何,實在難以想像。 甚至還有醫院要求護理人員直接住在醫院,只要醒過來就 是工作時間,在這種高壓力的環境下,若不幸過勞死,誰 要負責? .