Teency children, starting at about four months, laugh about 400 times a day. Adults seem to laugh only about five times a day. This has got to have at least something to do with why growing up often stinks. The authors of this article start by reporting about a case of a woman with a mood disorder that was difficult to control. But she was more easily controlled with medication once she started doing “laughter yoga.”

Now “laughter yoga” sounds like my idea of a crashing bore.  I think that this discipline — invented by an Indian Doctor in the 1990’s — is intended to make people laugh without using words.  From what little I can find it seems to depend more on the “contagious” nature of laughter than on any humorous content. I suppose laughter can exist, as a neurophysiological entity, apart from content. A bunch of neurophysiological imaging studies, which I have actually attempted to read, implicate practically every part of the brain I can think of. Tickling initiates laughter in a baby (and on several occasions, in my husband as well). Read more on The Good Stuff…

Fifteen years after.  That means there are sentient, living teenagers who are (I hope) somewhere in school learning about this devastating event in some kind of secondary school curriculum, or perhaps witnessing public patriotic events. — But they don’t remember it, because they weren’t born yet.

Read more on 9-11 15th Anniversary…


My family wanted me to see “Fiddler on the Roof: because it celebrated the “shtetl” — the little Russian village like the one where my “Bobie,” my grandmother of blessed memory, lived before she emigrated to the United States. I did not see it until it reached our local movie theater.

There was one line in that musical that burned upon my personal soul more than any other.  It is from perhaps the most famous song from that production, “If I were a Rich Man.”  Tevye, the poor little old milkman is daydreaming about what his life would be like if he were a wealthy man. Read more on When The World Encourages You To Gain Weight…


I started researching workplace stress more feverishly and with fewer records of sources than usual for me, as the patient was — and still is — me.

I have practiced in every setting I can imagine a psychiatrist being in — public and private, government (from federal to county) solo and institutional, whatever.

But now I have more physical and emotional fatigue.  More struggle getting my work done in the timely manner I expect from myself.  More need for (albeit, sounder) sleep.  And more “Sunday Night-it is” — for who has not complained about job stress? Read more on Sunday Night-itis — AKA Job Stress…

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Although I had been offered some academic scholarships after a pretty distinguished high school career, my parents had a great ritual. After formally declining them, I had to save and overlap (and trim) all of the letters and put them in a frame for the living room wall.

The idea of actually accepting one of them — they were all pretty far from the greater Boston area where we lived — never even came up.  As a precocious over-achiever, I had skipped a couple of grades and was only 15. They  told me I was too young to even think about such fantasies as going to a university.

I’m glad that I had parents that loved me so much and worried about my well-being.  But gee whiz – I don’t think Doogie Houser had over-protective parents.

Anyway, it was two against one, and I was still a minor and financially dependent upon them. There was a non-negligible scholarship, a work study program, and numerous considerations from one of Boston’s fine local universities.  My mother dropped me off at classes and picked me up, since student parking was both expensive and difficult to get.

Of course I never really “felt” like a freshman. I managed, with some difficulty, to convince my mother to either drop me off early or pick me up late.  I needed to meet colleagues.   All I really cared about academically were the necessary prerequisites for medical school, in terms of courses or grades, but I knew I was in the middle of a rich, seething subculture of the youthful.

There were some activities I would never be a part of, like dating the football team or being a member of a sorority.  Types like me did not do those things.  But I was so fascinated by large number of people whose age was somewhere near mine.  I walked up to them and shook hands and said “hello,” whether they sat on the stoop in front of the chemistry building or in the television lounge at the Student Union. Read more on Student Stresses Are Mental As Well As Financial…

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