Outmoded Diseases: Neurasthenia

Have you ever read a book where someone had pleurisy, or gout, or hysteria, and wondered…how come I never hear about anybody getting that anymore? Well, you’re in luck: It’s Outmoded Diseases Week at LWON, and we’re going to tell you. About some of them, anyway.  We’re starting off with neurasthenia, a disease suffered by […]

The Placebo President

As I have occasionally mentioned on this blog, I am currently working on a book on the many ways that our own brains can deceive ourselves. Placebos, hucksters, healers, hypnotists, and con men – it’s all in there. It’s a fascinating subject and one that constantly reminds me to be careful about what I think I […]

Homeopathy Part Two: The Secret Placebo Experiment

If you suffer from low blood pressure or an inability to get bent out of shape, I recommend an evening of fine dining and finding yourself backed into a serious conversation about homeopathy. Difficulty: you’ve been instructed by your spouse to “keep your science in your pants” because it’s a social occasion with extended family, […]

What Happened Next

My husband died.  He wasn’t young any more and was sick and weak but we weren’t expecting his death to come as quickly as it did, within a few days, almost overnight.  He just went away.  Maybe there are worse things than a quick, quiet death. Here’s what happened next. My brother and sister-in-law (who […]

Can We Defend Ourselves Against Brain Tumors?

Eleven years ago this week, my 67-year-old mother died from a brain tumor. It was Glioblastoma multiforme, an insidious fourth-stage cancer that, without treatment, usually kills within three months. Treatment options are miserable for the patient and not terribly effective; for those who opt for surgery and radiation/chemo, the cancer almost always returns within a year […]

Birthdays are Arbitrary and Awesome

Over the past six weeks, my sister and two of my dearest friends have celebrated landmark birthdays (the kind with a zero at the end). These festivities have left me thinking about birthdays. Why do we celebrate them? A birthday represents a lap around the sun — 365 Earth days, or 8,760 hours. But let’s […]

Redux: The Compulsion to Count

  Back in 2012, I wrote about my compulsive counting habit. I’m revisiting it now, in hopes of collecting stories from other counters. If you count too, I’d love to hear about it. Leave me a comment. For as long as I can remember, I have counted. If I’m on a train I might count the […]