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View Diary: Gabrielle Giffords, and the horror of aphasia (92 comments)

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  •  Obscure disorders can be.... interesting.... (14+ / 0-)

    I spent thirty years wondering, in a somewhat bemused way, why I had never bothered to have a career after graduating first in class at a major university with a doctorate in intellectual history. Instead, I found it more natural to drift along, doing other people's work for them or just filling in with temporary jobs. Anything that paid next month's rent was fine. It was only a couple of years ago that one of my doctors noticed that I'm completely immune to the psychoactive effects of such drugs as amphetamines and opiates, and later discovered that a certain series of dopamine receptors in my brain aren't functioning at all -- the ones concerned with feelings of accomplishment at tasks performed for oneself. I had never been able to understand why people felt so happy at winning games or completing projects -- when I completed a project, my drive, which was connected entirely to work in progress and intellectual curiosity, would vanish overnight. All I would do was look for faults in the completed work, and then drop it with a feeling of disgust, if anything -- it was finished and thus no longer of any interest. Often I wouldn't even bother to take credit for it. It just didn't matter.

    So, now I know. I can't do anything about it -- it is not a disease but a structural defect -- but in an abstract way it is interesting to understand why I could never concentrate on self-improvement.

    I confess it's made me a little more cynical too. I wonder how many "saints" there have been in history whose immunity to the temptations of wealth and power have derived not from some transcendent virtue but from a defective set of dopamine D2 receptors?

    When we are no longer children, we are already dead. (Constantin Brancusi) And whoever gave it, thanks for the gift!

    by sagesource on Mon Jan 23, 2012 at 05:59:44 PM PST

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    •  Fascinating. (1+ / 0-)
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      I'll bet you find sports uninteresting as well. I know I do. Although I do know that I am susceptible to opiates and other drugs, but perhaps not in the way others are.

      "I don't need a script to tell the truth" Ed Schultz, Feb. 4 2010

      by BusyinCA on Mon Jan 23, 2012 at 08:15:42 PM PST

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    •  Interesting. So many questions... (1+ / 0-)
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      So are you then a cynical saint? ;-)

      Have you found any benefits from your condition?

      Is that a description of, or related to, the religious impulse?

      Others have simply gotten old. I prefer to think I've been tempered by time.

      by Just Bob on Tue Jan 24, 2012 at 12:12:35 AM PST

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