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Exploring Emotion and Social Interactions in Autism

    Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASDs) are serious neurological disorders, which usually present themselves in an individual before three years of age. The spectrum refers to the wide variety in severity and type of characteristics. Young autistic individuals generally appear physically normal but engage in a variety of bizarre activities that are markedly different from those of other children their age. They often appear disconnected, self-absorbed, and avoid major and minor routine changes. Both autistic children and adults are generally seen (to varying degrees) to be impaired socially and emotionally, as extremely sensitive to loud noises, lights or smells, and as having difficulty with language as well (9).

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Oliver Sacks: An Anthropologist on Mars

    Oliver Sacks’ novel, An Anthropologist on Mars, contains seven fascinating and strange neurobiological stories that explore unique perceptions and experiences of both the world and oneself in the world. The first tale, “The Colorblind Painter”, is about Jonathan I., a painter who, after an accident, lost his ability to perceive color in the world, his memories, and even his dreams. He could not remember what color ever looked like (the entire concept was obliterated from his brain), yet, intriguingly, it was determined that he could discriminate wavelengths of light.

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Concussions in athletes: to play or not to play

     You’ve collided with someone, fallen, been struck by flying athletic equipment in a sports game. After an initial evaluation, involving an MRI or a head CT, the doctor tells you that it’s just a concussion, and it is not that bad. After all, your brain is not bleeding, you are not comatose, and with proper monitoring of your health over the next few weeks or months, full recovery is expected.

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Conversion Disorder: An Analysis of the Hysterical

Historically termed “hysteria” and thought to be a physical manifestation of disordered emotions, little is known about the mystery that is conversion disorder (5). In the seventeenth century, some individuals with unexplained paralysis, blindness or “fits” (seizures) were thought to have been involved with witchcraft and were burned at the stake (2). Nowadays, these symptoms are considered relatively common and oftentimes debilitating. Although not much is known about conversion disorder, it seems possible that the neurological processes responsible for its development are related to those involved in anxiety and depression disorders.

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