The Inner Lives of Disordered Brains
One popular new novel is narrated by a boy with autism, another by a nun with epilepsy, a third by a man with Tourette syndrome. These are stories very different from the classic neurological case history, but, thanks to the pioneering efforts of Oliver Sacks and others, such stories are capturing the attention of scientists and the public in nonfiction accounts as well as novels, movies, and television dramas. Historian of science Harrington asks what we are learning from these voices out of worlds so unlike our own.
Mental Retardation: Struggle, Stigma, Science
Scientists are investigating many types of disability, but also asking if there is a common, underlying process, say at the synaptic level. Certainly, any effective cure will have to target the underlying neurobiology. Until then, we have much more to do in lessening the stigma still attached to this diverse but common lifelong brain disorder.