Space-age treatment for "writer's block"!

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Rachel Ventura
Posts: 152
Joined: September 30th, 2011, 12:29 am

Space-age treatment for "writer's block"!

Post by Rachel Ventura » November 28th, 2011, 1:28 am

I found this extremely intriguing:

http://www.massgeneral.org/neurology/do ... x?id=17016

Alice Flaherty is a neurologist at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, who tailors a good "chunk" of her practice to helping patients overcome creative mental blockages -- and has even written a bestseller of her own on the subject. Titled "The Midnight Disease," Flaherty describes and examines her own phenomenon-like trait of "hypergraphia," an almost compulsive desire to write, which she said re-emerged full throttle after the traumatic miscarriage of twins she experienced, the catalyst for the writing of her book -- the exact opposite of the feared "block," as she describes it. Flaherty now uses a promising new treatment known as Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation, or TMS, to help patients reactivate the dormant sections of their brain responsible for creative production without "logical self-criticism." TMS is a non-invasive and medication-free treatment that has shown exceptional potential in the treatment of other neurological/mental impairments, such as Parkinson's disease, autism and Asperger disorder, depression, AD(H)D, PTSD, and Alzheimer's. But by using the knowledge scientists already have of the sections of the brain responsible for certain activities, theoretically, interventions such as TMS -- a concentrated application of magnetic sensors applied to certain areas of the outer head -- could be used to aid -- or even enhance -- just about anything.

Similar approaches have been documented through behavioral applications in books such as Julia Cameron's The Artist's Way, Betty Edwards' Drawing From The Right Side of the Brain, and Steven Pressfield's The War of Art. But sometimes it's a struggle to even bring yourself to start the "practice" methods -- and neuroscientists believe this is due to a physical change in brain activity. A comparison would be an exercise program instructing one to stretch the legs before working out, when one's lower limbs no longer move, or are in a seemingly permanent state of "pins and needles." This sort of numbness, Flaherty and others contend, is not permanent, and the creative part of the brain can be reactivated in new and innovative ways thanks to research on the subject. Magnetic therapy and other focused "activation" approaches such as acupuncture, Reiki, and Emotional Freedom Technique, have been used for thousands of years in the Far East and other non-Western cultures. TMS attempts to bring the philosophy of those approaches, as well as the pseudo-science of "phrenology," into the 21st century, and Alice Flaherty is one at the forefront of applying its use towards the elimination of creative limitations that create frustration and sadness in a struggling artist's daily life.

Flaherty's book, The Midnight Disease, at Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Midnight-Disease- ... 972&sr=8-1
Review at Google Books: http://books.google.com/books/about/The ... 9gegxAg8QC
Brief article at blog, "The Slow Muse" (not affiliated with the author): http://slowmuse.wordpress.com/tag/alice-flaherty/
Article at The Harvard Gazette: http://news.harvard.edu/gazette/2004/01 ... ivity.html
Harvard Magazine: http://harvardmagazine.com/2004/01/auth ... apses.html
Another article: http://h2g2.com/dna/h2g2/classic/A3851093
The Wall Street Journal: "Magnets for Mental Illness": http://online.wsj.com/article/SB1000142 ... 62744.html
Editorial review from New York's Village Voice: http://www.villagevoice.com/2004-01-06/ ... -a-muffin/

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