September 21, 2015 |
The papal visit is a time for ritual, prayer, and meditation. Research has shown that such activities - even outside a religious context - change our brains for the better. Andrew B. Newberg, a neuroscientist and director of research at Jefferson University Hospitals' Myrna Brind Center of Integrative Medicine, specializes in the neurological study of religious and spiritual experiences, an emerging field known as neurotheology. He has taken hundreds of brain scans of nuns in prayer, of Buddhists during meditation, of people involved in rituals, while speaking in tongues, and during trance states.
September 15, 2015 |
Psychologist Caryn Lerman spent decades studying how people react when they learn their behavior has put them at high risk of developing cancer. But education, she saw early on, isn't enough to help some smokers kick the habit. "The motivation to quit became stronger and they tried to quit more times, but they actually were unable to," said Lerman, who is now senior deputy director of the University of Pennsylvania's Abramson Cancer Center. "I then became very interested in why it was so hard to quit smoking.
August 30, 2015 |
In a corner of Greg Dunn's Spring Garden studio are two cabinets. One holds the sources for the science - Cajal's Butterflies of the Soul , a book of figures from the 19th and early 20th centuries focusing on the brain, and The Color Atlas of Anatomy . The other cabinet keeps the elements of his art. Mica powders, soft and glittery. Weightless tissue papers holding a variety of gold leaf - white gold, champagne gold, yellow gold. Dunn's work melds science and art, bringing images of the brain into beautiful, ethereal detail.
July 20, 2015 |
Nothing about Lucy RorkeAdams is retiring. Not her crowded office in Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, lined with medical texts and stacks of professional journals, two microscopes at the ready. Certainly not her manner - forthright and candid, ready to provide detailed answers to every question posed. And yet, this month, Rorke-Adams, 86, senior pediatric neuropathologist at CHOP and clinical professor of pathology and laboratory medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, will retire after a career spanning more than a half-century at Children's and the old Philadelphia General Hospital, where she served her internship and residency.
July 2, 2015 |
It definitely wasn't something Jeanne Buerkel would have tried in the corporate world, even having reached an age when you can say almost anything and get away with it. "Are you chewing gum?" Buerkel, 89, asked the woman about to exit the SEPTA bus with her. She waited a split second for the shocked stare, and then: "Me, too!" The woman exploded in laughter. For Buerkel, a retired business developer for architects, it had nothing to do with chewing gum and everything to do with an improv routine she wanted to try out in the real world.
June 9, 2015 |
Describing Jim Kenney's nascent Philadelphia mayoral campaign, Ken Snyder called to mind an improbable escape scene from a famous comic film. "All right, we're down 14 points and we have $75,000 in the bank," said Kenney's political strategist, recounting the candidate's initial standing in the polls and the state of his finances. "It felt like The Blues Brothers : 'It's dark out, we're wearing sunglasses, and we're out of gas. Let's hit it.' " Snyder may have slightly misquoted Dan Aykroyd's classic line, but the sentiment was dead-on: Here was as impossible a mission as a campaign strategist could face - a late start, an underfunded candidate, and two formidable opponents.
June 8, 2015 |
When Stephen Weber saw an ad seeking participants to help determine whether online games could improve brain function, it was, well, a no-brainer. The Drexel senior would get paid for what sounded to him like playing Nintendo. Maybe it could even help him remedy his weakness in math, he thought. So he signed up for a University of Pennsylvania study on "the effects of Lumosity on brain activity and decision-making behavior. " There's much more at stake here than the fortunes of an industry whose revenue is expected to hit $6 billion a year by 2020.
May 25, 2015 |
Gov. Christie vowed to rein in government spending when he took office in 2010, and one of his most controversial first-term initiatives was setting a cap on salaries for school district superintendents. Anecdotes of seemingly exorbitant pay for school administrators became a symbol of the government excess Christie had pledged to rid from Trenton. Four years after Christie set his own salary - $175,000 - as a maximum base for superintendents, Democratic lawmakers and school boards say the regulation has resulted in high turnover and made the state less competitive in attracting the best administrators.
April 12, 2015 |
By the time A.A. arrived in my office, she had spent almost a year looking for answers. In November 2012, she was 45 and struggling to lose weight and keep her blood pressure down. What sounds like a common scenario, however, was anything but. A.A. was experiencing fatigue and malaise, and the area around her eyes bruised easily. Another puzzling symptom: She said she was acutely aware of her neck. It wasn't pain, but awareness. She was losing more hair than usual in her brush and had stopped menstruating, and her skin broke open easily.
April 8, 2015 |
Having trouble remembering all the elements of the proper golf swing? Getting stuck while trying to pick out that tune on the piano? Maybe you're thinking too much. That is the implication of a new study published Monday by researchers at the University of Pennsylvania, the University of California Santa Barbara, and Johns Hopkins University. On four occasions over a six-week period, the scientists used MRI machines to measure the brain activity of people as they tapped out various 10-digit sequences on a keyboard.