A Tribute to Oliver Sacks

“Every act of perception, is to some degree an act of creation, and every act of memory is to some degree, an act of imagination.”

Oliver Sacks

Oliver Sacks, a renowned writer and neurologist passed away yesterday at the age of 82 due to his ocular melanoma, as many of us may know by now. Not only was Sacks a physician, but he was also a brilliant writer, polymath, humanist, musician, and a weight-lifter. Perhaps one of the most interesting qualities Oliver Sacks possessed was his intellectual curiosity that really sparked a light through which everyone realized his profound insight on subjects such as psychology or cognitive science. He ultimately took medicine to the next level, by melding science into the art of storytelling!

“Music can lift us out of depression or move us to tears- it is a remedy, a tonic, orange juice for the ear. But for many of my neurological patients, music is even more – it can provide access, even when no medication can, to movement, to speech, to life. For them, music is not a luxury, but a necessity.”

Check out these books by Oliver Sacks:

  1. Musicophilia
  2. Hallucinations
  3. Awakenings
  4. On the Move
  5. The Mind’s Eye
  6. An Anthropologist on Mars
  7. The Island of the Colorblind
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Money Isn’t An Excuse

Awhile back, I just realized how lucky high school students are in this country. We have access to so many resources, besides the library. Everything you want to know more about can be read online. I’m not trying to state the obvious, but there is literally no excuse for students to not know information about their area of interest, and I am here to tell you that money, is definitely not an excuse.

MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) has an open courseware webpage where students can take free online courses about various areas of interest. These courses can be taken at the undergraduate and the graduate level. The best part about it, just like the Stanford University Lectures on YouTube is that you don’t have to have much initial knowledge about the subject, unless there’s a prerequisite. Even high school students can take these courses. If your dream was always to go to a prestigious school like MIT, you can get a head start on college by taking these courses,

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I know that a lot of students my age have a lot of work as it is , already because of the advanced placement classes they may be taking. However, you can squeeze in a good 20 minutes each day for researching and acquiring knowledge out of curiosity. Trust me this stuff will pay off!

http://ocw.mit.edu/courses/life-sciences/

Your Brain on Fat

It is a common myth that fat is bad for us, but a lot of times we don’t consider the healthy fat. Your brain is made up of 60% fat, or more specifically, fatty acids so it’s fair to say that you do need some healthy fats. These lipids are among the most vital building blocks of a properly functioning brain.  So what are the fatty acids your brain needs for optimal health?

FISH OIL – As much as people say that this is nasty and gross to ingest with water, fish oil is actually an excellent source of DHA, an omega-3 fatty acid that is highly concentrated in the gray matter of the brain. Gray matter is involved in muscle control, sensory perception such as seeing and hearing, memory, emotions, and speech. DHA plays an “integral role in the evolution of human intelligence,” according to an article from the National Center for Biotechnology Information. This article can also be found on http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3257695/ …….

The DHA found in fish oil caplets also help improve communication between brain cells that may affect mood, concentration, memory, attention, and even behavior. Numerous clinical trials have shown the value of boosting DHA with supplemental fish oil as well.

To me, it’s so interesting how this tiny supplement is really so effective when it comes to cognitive brain function. The best part about this is that you don’t have to adapt to some new dieting method. You can just take the supplement. Brain food! That’s what I’m talking about!