Leader: Loren Amacher 

Description: This course will cover six topics related to the brain and its workings:

  1. Stroke: mechanisms, causes, symptoms and signs, potential outcomes, reducing risks and poor outcomes.
  2. Cerebral Hemorrhage: may be arterial, occasionally venous, or both. Often catastrophic and may be quickly fatal. Blisters on cerebral arties (aneurysms), usually congenital in origin, but enlarging in mid-adult age, occur in about two percent of people.
  3. Autism: Currently one of the most misunderstood of conditions that affect children. Popular and conspiracy theories for the cause of autism are universally wrong, and the accusation that vaccines are at fault is not only spectacularly wrong, but very dangerous. Asperger's Syndrome will be discussed at length, including examples of such individuals of spectacular intellectual prowess; for example, Paul Dirac.
  4. Alzheimer's Disease: This endemic monster is coming under some measure of understanding, and may yield some of its terror before too long.
  5. The baleful effects of cerebral concussion are much in the news, and not before time. Professional sports leagues are likely to be hammered financially for decades, in that they ignored until very recently incontrovertible evidence that young people were being crippled in their sports.
  6. Mind and Brain: Is there any reason to think that "mind" is somehow different from "brain" (the Descartean duality), or is the "mind" just what the brain does? We will discuss, as well, the notions of "determinism" and so-called "free will."


Biography: Dr. Loren Amacher recently retired from 40 years of clinical and academic practice of neurosurgery, where most days present some aspect of the dilemmas and enigmas of medical ethics. He was a neurosurgeon at Evangelical Community Hospital and member of the Bioethics Committee from 2003 to 2010.

Course materials: Each session will cover one topic. There will be an e-mail blog for ongoing comments and information. There will be visual aids used in class.

Number of participants: 

Minimum: 8
Maximum: 20

Location: Red Cross Building - Edna Sheary Room Meeting

Meeting time: Fridays, March 7 through April 11, 2014, 10 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.


(Note: Class begins 1 week later than other spring courses.)


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