Greg is back home

Ruth writes that Greg is home from the hospital. He is still quite uncomfortable I gather but progressing rapidly. He will soon be berating all of us again.

Toddy Cat asked me for a post in Greg’s absence. I will try to bang one out tomorrow, part II of my fantasy about a knowledge-based public welfare system.

I have to apologize for my recent absence of posts here. I have had my own struggle with health this past year, which I find mildly interesting. Because of recurrent atrial fibrillation I was given a new anticoagulant. As an apparent outcome I had a brain bleed while in Germany. I was completely unaware of it at the time since the only symptom I experience was an inability to read. The bleed was in my left temporal lobe right at an area of the brain that is dedicated to reading in humans. Why on earth we have a dedicated reading area is a mystery to me.

I arrived in Germany, got some sleep, then went walking for hours around Munich: I always do this to nudge my circadian rhythms after international flight. With no knowledge of the German language, I walked for hours completely unaware that I could not parse written words. Then I gave a talk for an hour and half at the University with no discernible impairment, neither to anyone in the audience nor to myself. After dinner I found that I could see the letters in my email but could make no sense at all of them. Interestingly I had had no trouble reading my own slides during the talk.

I seem to have mostly recovered but I make a lot of typing errors and my prose is still full of bad spelling and typos. My balance also seems slight affected but at my age that is perhaps no surprise.

So I will write something tomorrow but you all will have to agree not to laugh at my spelling errors and errors of grammar.

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46 Responses to Greg is back home

  1. Ron Pavellas says:

    Wishing you well, cousin…

  2. JayMan says:

    Well I hope the both of you get back in fine shape soon!

  3. Chip Smith says:

    No obvious typos in this post. To human resilience and free inquiry!

  4. Donna B says:

    As long as you don’t try to pass off “intensive purposes” for “intents and purposes” you’re good with me. I learned the hard way that it doesn’t take much to short-circuit one’s brain. Yours from a bleed, mine from a non-malignant tumor. Both may need treatment and the treatment can cause other circuit disruptions, both major and minor… depending on one’s angle of view.

  5. Peter Connor says:

    Glad to hear that both of you will soon be back in fighting shape! Keep on trucking…

  6. erica says:

    Thanks for the update on Dr. Cochran. Sorry about your recent health problems. It must have been pretty frightening to discover you couldn’t make sense of the written word. I’m very glad the problem was identified and you’re on the mend. I hadn’t forgotten your post on your welfare policy fantasy and your promise to give us a next part—looking forward to it.

  7. M. M. says:

    This is a bit disturbing, therefore, I, the anonymous commenter, order you two to get well soon!

  8. Sandgroper says:

    I can well imagine that Greg is uncomfortable, and can only pass on my belated best wishes for him to feel a lot better very soon.

    And sympathy for your condition too, Henry. I won’t be laughing.

  9. hbd chick says:

    great news about greg! hope he continues to recover quickly.

    but good grief! take care of yourself, too, prof. harpending! the world needs The Dynamic Duo to be fully fit and up and running asap!! (^_^)

  10. pauljaminet says:

    Blessings and best wishes, Greg and Henry.

  11. teageegeepea says:

    This sounds like the sort of thing the late Oliver Sacks might have written about.

  12. TWS says:

    Everybody get better this is a great place. Can’t read? Didn’t you live with hunter gatherers? Did you ever learn to track anything? Perhaps it is a function of following tracks or sign?

    • Yudi says:

      I think Henry should take a look at Reading in the Brain by Stanislas Dahaene. It talks about the parts of the brain that are seemingly specifically devoted to reading. It also discusses HGs’ incredible tracking skills–Dahaene thinks these might have been what made reading possible.

  13. Kudzu Bob says:

    Best wishes to you and to Dr. Cochran.

  14. Mike Johnson says:

    Best wishes and a swift recovery.

  15. Mt Isa Miner says:

    Wishing you both good recoveries and better health. Kerist, don’t we all know that getting old is not much fun.

  16. Jeeze. I hope you both feel better soon. Good luck.

  17. sabracakeboo says:

    Glad to hear he is on the mend. As to any Grammatical or spelling errors..I don’t recall seeing any 😉 I use talk to text on my phone, which occasionally looks like I’m speaking gibberish. My mom had a stroke about 8 mnths ago due to her afib and it takes awhile but you should continue making improvments. Ill look foward to reading your thoughts on improvements to our broken system, Sabra

  18. best wishes to both of you

  19. Rob King says:

    Get well soon. And to GC too

  20. austmann says:

    Wish you all the best and a successful recovery. I believe I’ve read somewhere that the brain area dedicated to reading evolved from face recognition. The neuronal recycling hypothesis:
    https://www.newscientist.com/blogs/culturelab/2009/11/how-our-brains-learned-to-read.html

  21. spare armadillo says:

    “… my prose is still full of bad spelling and typos.”

    Dyslexics of the world, untie!

    Very best wishes to both of you. May you both provoke mountains of additional opprobrium from the SPLC.

  22. Donnie says:

    Get well, sir.

  23. Sean says:

    “Why on earth we have a dedicated reading area is a mystery to me.”

    http://www.unz.com/pfrost/the-paradox-of-visual-word-form-area/

    It would be interesting to know if your abilty to recognise faces is affected.

    Someone, maybe Arthur Jensen, said that teachers were sceptical about his conclusions because they had seen black students stat at a new school and learn to put a name to all the faces incredibly quickly.

    The SPLC will be very very sad as they were bankning on you, literally..

  24. jeffhsu3 says:

    That is really scary, sorry to hear about your health issues. Best wishes to the both of you.

  25. Toddy Cat says:

    Thanks in advance for your post. I’m honored that you actually took me seriously, Dr. Harpending. Just goes to show that you can’t keep a good extremist down…

    God be with both you and Dr. Cochran

  26. MEH 0910 says:

    Get well. More science.

  27. MawBTS says:

    Hopefully they gave him some fun drugs.

  28. dearieme says:

    A woeful thought on the South African discovery: I do hope nobody is being Piltdowned over this.

  29. uh says:

    Going through my own health woes, I know what a disorienting chore it is. Best outcomes for both of you.

  30. athEIst says:

    I’m almost 70. I’ve always been able to spell well and I laughed at dyslexia. But lately I have to look up the spelling of words I thought I knew. To illustrate I just spelled dyslexia with an I instead of a Y). Also finding myself occasionally dyslexic. So far no problems reading. That would be catastrophic.

  31. I’ve been busy and haven’t been here for a while. Sorry to hear about the health issues. Best wishes to you both. Greg, I’m glad you’re recovering. Henry, your story is scary but also amazing. You were in Germany and so didn’t know you couldn’t read. The brain is its own freaky thing.

  32. Aidan Kehoe says:

    I’m sorry to see you had that happen, and glad things seem to be improving (though no posts since this one …). I will be picky and point out that the bleed may have happened during dinner. If you remain anticoagulated, and basing things on my own clinical experience, no cycling when drunk, please!

  33. I’ve been away for a few weeks; I’m sorry to hear about the health challenges you two have been facing. I’ll be checking here more often. I hope you both are well.

  34. ajrlv says:

    I’m wishing both of you, professors, the very best & speedy recoveries.

  35. JediWonk says:

    I went into idiopathic (doctor-speak for “we don’t know what caused it”) heart failure a year ago. My left ventricle ejection fraction declined rapidly from normal (65%) in June to 32% in October to 25% in December to about 20% by March. It was very inconvenient to learn from my doctors that the meds they had available help one’s body cope with a weakening heart–they do not directly address the underlying condition. Fortunately, on March 4, 2015, Temple University’s Center for Translational Medicine published a paper on how they used Paxil (an SSRI) to reverse heart failure in laboratory mice.

    I became the first human patient a week later. So far, so good. My ejection fraction is back up to 44% and I am kinda-sorta functioning again.. My cardiologist won’t prescribe it for me, so I have to have my bio-enhancement doctor do it–my heart doctor just keeps urging me to continue with the “evidence-based”, “double-blind-clinical-trialed”, “standard-of-care” meds on which by now I would have been dead.

    Alas, Paxil has gone generic so there is no private-sector actor available to fund a clinical trial, or even to spread the word. If there was, then you would just have to wait 25 years for the RCTs to be conducted and the information to get to your journeyman cardiologist.

    Dr. Walter Koch, the head of the study and also the head of the institute, says he does not have a clue what the minimum dose of paroxetine is to be therapeutically effective. I picked 30mg/day because it is halfway between the minimum and maximum doses used for psychotropic purposes.

  36. Best wishes to you both.

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