I love Neuroscience because the brain "is the greatest mystery of all -- that's why doctors call it the black box," as Dr. Catherine Black explains on the new ABC show, Black Box.
The 21st century is neurology's new frontier. With a myriad of neurological disorders lacking cures, neuroscience has become more important than ever before. Especially in a population living longer lives than ever before, neurodegenerative disorders common in the elderly population are highly prevalent.
That is why I want to be a neurologist. The brain fascinates me, and my perfect career is to explore the mysteries of the brain while curing patients. Dr. Catherine Black, on Black Box, is exactly the type of neurologist I aspire to be.
To the world renowned neurologist, patients are treated like people instead of just as medical cases. As Catherine says, "if you cure their brain but break their heart you are a lousy doctor." The level of empathy Catherine expresses toward her patients is refreshing, and a trait which more doctors today should embody. Whether it involves creating contraptions to help a man with phantom limb pain or not curing a woman's hallucinations because they provide the woman companionship, the solutions that Catherine uses as cures are individualized and take the patient's interests into account.
A show like Black Box is important because it puts neurology at center stage. This is not only important for syndromes that patients have on the show, but also for a general awareness of neurology and the brain.
Awareness is essential in curing neurological disorders. May was Huntington's disease Awareness Month, and our society certainly lacks awareness about this devastating disorder. Huntington's disease is a neurodegenerative disorder caused by a polyglutamine gene expansion of over 40 repeats. The devastating disorder causes a decline in motor, cognitive and psychiatric functions. Huntington's disease also has no cure.
Over the past two years, I have been studying Huntington's disease in animal models. I have run motor tests in these mice to analyze the progression of the disorder. What I have noticed is how the symptoms are very severe, with robust motor decline in particular. While animal model research has begun to target possible treatment ideas, no cure currently exists. Continued research and awareness will bring hope for the many people who are diagnosed with Huntington's disease every year.
The brain remains the greatest mystery, the complex network of neurons that controls our entire body, but it should not remain one. As Neuroscience research continues to evolve and progress, the black box will begin to fade until it is transparent.
For now, I will continue to be mesmerized by Catherine Black's work at the Cube hospital on Black Box. Her empathy will inspire me as a budding neurologist. The diseases on the show will continue to fascinate my inner Neuroscience nerd.
And as the brain becomes less and less mysterious, doctors will no longer have to call it the "black box."