Serotonin Robbers

By Nicolette Francey Asselin, M.D

1. Sparkless Days

Happiness determines how long we live and how strong our families are.

After returning from an overseas trip, I was fighting time changes and a cold that robbed me of hours of sleep. The day ahead appeared blurred, faint, colorless, and gray. The natural sparkle that generated my sense of enthusiasm and fired my first steps out of bed, had vanished. Later, I sat down to my favorite routine, writing, but chapters I had written appeared dull, unexciting, and soporific. The sunless day weighed heavily on me, or even spicy food seemed bland, vapid, and savorless. Why such a low mood? My husband and I had just had a pleasant visit with my family in Europe, and no dark clouds were lurking on the horizon of our peaceful lives. Full story

This story is the first of a 4 part article series:

  • 1. Sparkless Days
  • 2. Portrait of the Robbers
  • 3. Tryptophan Deprivation
  • 4. Manufacturing the “Magic Powder”

This article can be followed in ReFlex-ions.

When Cancer Meets the Internet

Dr. Google doesn’t always know what’s best.

By Jane Brody

When faced with an actual or potential diagnosis of cancer, most people are inclined to consult Dr. Google, often before they see a real live medical expert. Unfortunately, Dr. Google doesn’t always know what’s best.

A generation ago, patients were largely dependent upon the physicians they consulted as to how best to deal with a disease like cancer. Nowadays there’s the internet, replete with a virtual tsunami of information offered by all kinds of sources, from experts equipped with evidence-based facts to people selling products or outright quackery. The trick is to know how to tell the difference, especially since the disparate guidance provided can become a matter of life or death.

Full story

Art Credit: Gracia Lam

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The Science behind Taste Buds

by Nicolette Francey Asselin

The ability to taste food is a vital part of our lives.

While some studies differ on this point and claim that it is inherited, the ultimate sense of taste is learned and developed at an early age. Early exposure strongly influences the components of flavors, detected by our sense of smell (olfactory system) and taste (gustatory system). Read

The Race to Diagnose Cancer With a Simple Blood Test

By Ron Wislow

Liquid biopsies could transform cancer care as we know it.

Five years ago, a team of researchers pored over the results of a prenatal genetic test given to more than 125,000 healthy pregnant women and made a stunning discovery. The blood test, marketed by gene-sequencing giant Illumina, was designed to detect chromosome anomalies associated with conditions such as Down syndrome by analyzing fragments of fetal DNA circulating in the mother’s blood.

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Illustration by Eric Peterson

Books on Health | Bestseller BooksGift Cards

 

Every Note Played

From neuroscientist and New York Times bestselling author of Still Alice comes a powerful exploration of regret, forgiveness, freedom, and what it means to be alive.

Summary:

An accomplished concert pianist, Richard received standing ovations from audiences all over the world in awe of his rare combination of emotional resonance and flawless technique. Every finger of his hands was a finely calibrated instrument, dancing across the keys and striking each note with exacting precision. That was eight months ago.

Richard now has ALS, and his entire right arm is paralyzed. His fingers are impotent, still, devoid of possibility. The loss of his hand feels like a death, a loss of true love, a divorce—his divorce.

He knows his left arm will go next.

“A book that awakens gratitudes.”

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41tX-0J7feL._SX324_BO1,204,203,200_

My Wife Said You May Want to Marry Me

A little over a year ago, my wife, Amy Krouse Rosenthal, published a Modern Love essay called “You May Want to Marry My Husband.” At 51, Amy was dying from ovarian cancer. She wrote her essay in the form of a personal ad. It was more like a love letter to me.

Those words would be the final ones Amy published. She died 10 days later.

Cont

Is Alkaline Water Really Better for You?

Ask Well

ALICE CALLAHAN APRIL 27, 2018

Q. Are there benefits of drinking alkaline water, or is what I’m reading just a bunch of hooey?

A. Despite the claims, there’s no evidence that water marketed as alkaline is better for your health than tap water. Continue reading the main story