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Tha anti-jump muscles, con’t

On November 5th covering

Further reflection on the “anti-jump muscles” cartoon discussed below:

This is a very Freudian cartoon, in the idea that part of the person has an inhibitory function. This is also a core notion in neurology. Freud was not, as some people imagine, a psychiatrist. He was a neurologist, and a good one, according to Oliver Sacks. (Sacks wrote a good article about Freud the Neurologist in this volume). Freud invented psychoanalysis because the patients who came to him in his neurology practice were beyond the treatments of the day, and he stumbled on the radical notion of talking to them.

Neurological structures, down to the level of a single neuron or a single neurotransmitter, can have an excitatory function or an inhibitory function: they can turn the volume up or down on a given process. Many of our drugs work indirectly. For example, Prozac (fluoxitine) and drugs in its class are thought to increase the functional level of serotonin by inhibiting a process called re-uptake, which takes serotonin out of the game post-synaptically. So the notion of leaping into the air by relaxing the anti-jump muscles would be a natural, um, leap, for a neurologist. As would the notion one part of the mind inhibiting another part of the mind.

[ This Just In: Dr. Sacks will be honored with the Music Has Power Award in a ceremony in New York on November 6th. Mad props to the author of so many great essays. Press Release . The Music Has Power organization looks interesting. ]

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