The C2S blog draws on the arts, the social and biological sciences to explore the many meanings of health and "dis-ease." Designed to be a locus where patients, their families and professionals can meet on a level playing field, it is the natural off-shoot of the Cell 2 Soul Online Journal. We encourage the submission of ideas, essays, poems, stories, humor, and timely reviews relating to the humanities and health care.
Abstract: Physicians spend many years immersed (drowning?) in their professional literature. There is no way anyone can keep up with it and most of it is, after all, forgettable, boring and sadly inaccurate. The attached essay’s thesis is that the arts (literature, music, fine art, film) are vitally important to one’s personal and professional development. They provide the Continuous Medical Inspiration that trumps the mandated Continuing Medical Education. Although the professional may not realize it, each of us has a personal canon comprised of those works of art that guide us in our daily lives. “Paper Teachers” covers, among other topics, thoughts on documenting one’s Personal Canon.
A recent article in thje NY Times discusses the role that Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) plays is determining one's health later in life. It asks us to:
"Imagine if scientists discovered a toxic substance that increased the
risks of cancer, diabetes and heart, lung and liver disease for millions
of people. Something that also increased one’s risks for smoking, drug
abuse, suicide, teen pregnancy, sexually transmitted disease, domestic
violence and depression — and simultaneously reduced the chances of
succeeding in school, performing well on a job and maintaining stable
relationships? It would be comparable to hazards like lead paint,
tobacco smoke and mercury. We would do everything in our power to
contain it and keep it far away from children. Right?"
We've been reading Paul Tough's important new book, “How Children Succeed” and find it to be mandatory text for those who are parents or grandparents of young children. Instead of waxing enthusiastic, please turn to David Brooks' Op=Ed piece devoted to Tough's book in the Friday, September 28 New York Times.
Brooks calls “How Children Succeed” an "essential book." "Childhood stress can have long lasting neural effects,
making it harder to exercise self-control, focus attention, delay
gratification and do many of the other things that contribute to a happy
life." Brooks essay is a great introduction and precis of required reading for many of us.
Paul Tough's recent book, How Children Succeed, may be of immeasurable value to parents, teachers, mentors and those of us who are on a path. His thesis is that standardized tests and IQ measures are often less important than grit, perseverance and curiosity in determining who succeeds in life.
An old proverb says it better: "Fall seven times, get up eight."
Some of you may remember Paul Tough's landmark New Yorker article, The Poverty Clinic, which dealt with the effects Adverse Childhood Experiences have on an individual's physical (as well as emotional) development and health.
"My college offers a special term abroad in Siem Reap, Cambodia. Along with four other students I have the unique opportunity to intern in one of the most challenged countries in the world. My program is with the Global Child- a school that provides a rigorous education for former street children. This non-profit provides these kids not only with an education but also with life skills, a cultural understanding of their country and its traditions, and training for employment and citizenship.
I am overwhelmed with both excitement and nerves. I have already fallen in love with the students dedication, maturity and adorable demeanor. Seeing their smiling faces always brightens my day. They have experienced so much turmoil at such young ages, and yet they come to school with such positive attitudes. The Global Child is certainly a school of "today's children, tomorrow's world."
"Often, we forget what an awsome responsibility and privilege it is to raise a child. Early Adverse Childhood Experiences can retard some children's development. In "Time for Natasha," a foster mother/grandmother tells us an important and moving story. There is a comment from a retired fifth grade teacher as well.
"My granddaughter, Natalia, came to live with me at the age of four. I never knew how serious a learning disability could be until then. Her mother had been ill since before her birth. Her father had been abusive, compelling her to sit and watch television all day. She wasn't allowed the luxury of play nor did she watch anything age- appropriate. There was no communication with her mother who was so medicated that she was in deep slumber most of the day. Communication with her father consisted of constant disapproval and scolding. I spoke Spanish to her or I'd have noticed her English was distorted beyond recognition. It broke my heart when I realized that she had no communication skills in English, couldn't write her name, didn't recognize a single letter or sound..." Download Time for Natalia
Comment from Bonnie Millette, a retired fifth grade teacher, who loved her work and misses the classroom even as she spends her time traveling and experincing the U.S.A.:
"This grandmother is fantastic!! She is shaping another life in a positive way. She has taken on another child and shown her that even if she has a learning disability she can learn. Yes, she may take longer than many children at each grade level and not feel she fits in. As she gets older though she will understand how great it was to have a grandmother and teachers helping her but, as a child she may be more concerned with fitting in and friendships." for more Download Millette
"The cadavers gather in early September. After a cold, dark, lonely summer, each alone on a gurney, stiffened by cold and formalin, they are glad for the well-lit anatomy laboratory, though one or two express exasperation at the fluorescent lightening which gives their skin a bluish pallor."
Tonight, Halloween, is their special evening. Larry Zaroff presents a story about sentient ghouls with heart: Cadaver Reunion. Chill out and Download CADAVER REUNION
Author Bio: Larry Zaroff has had five careers: cardiac surgeon, mountaineer, teacher of the medical humanities, writer, and volunteer family doctor. You may contact him at: Larry Z.
The image is from the New Yorker Cover, 10/31/2005
he loves animals science the natural world he thirsts for information connects ideas asks profound questions for his age but he has a darker side as well he is private intrusions can be met with force he is sweet but has a temper that breeds anger he finds difficult to control he doesn't fit the mold we're told... more Download Raising Zane
Author Bio: Upon arriving at Stanford University in 2008 as the first in his family to attend college, Justin Vincent intended to delve into cellular and molecular biology in anticipation of a future in biomedical research. As a non-traditional student living on campus with his wife and three children, a series of personal medical experiences prompted a deeper interest in the social and cultural factors that affect health. Justin will graduate in 2011 with a degree in Human Biology and plans to begin Medical School in 2012.
As a young man, Samuel Clemens spent two years learning the lay of the Mississippi River to become a licensed riverboat pilot.No sooner had he completed his apprenticeship than he realized that the topography of the river had changed.In order to maintain his proficiency, he would have to continue to study the waterway, which remained in a constant state of flux.
Rivers are not the only things that change over the course of time.Medical knowledge morphs with each new piece of data that is discovered.Just when we think we’ve got it all figured out, voilà—a piece of information gleaned from the latest research hints that we’re probably off the mark; and so we set off again, chasing a new lead. >>more
Brian T. Maurer has practiced pediatrics as a Physician Assistant for thirty years. His "Marginal Notes" column appears periodically in the Cell2Soul Blog. The title "Marginal Notes" is taken from a quote by Henry David Thoreau: "I love a broad margin to my life."