NYT Article on GN (Jan 6, 2015)

Well, it’s finally out. The New York Times is running a story on the Green Neuro Lab today that covers some of our research and aims:


The response so far has been amazing. Within the first hour we started getting emails from students and neuroscientists from all over the world that want to see change. It’s very encouraging. Thanks for all the emails and calls. We’re working to get back to everyone. We’ll also try and answer some of the questions on the science and the Green Neuro principles that we’ve been getting — that will be the next blog post.


The story has been in preparation for over a year. John Markoff, senior science writer for the NYT, has been researching the lab since the fall of 2013. He started by visiting our San Diego lab and then, last spring, tracked us down at Menlo Park while we were doing an experimental run at Beamline 2-3 at the Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Lightsource. We weren’t sure how Markoff would get across that we’re integrating factors ranging from the basic science of the elemental and structural foundations of the brain, to environmental and social justice concerns. Would he be able to convey that we are using techniques as seemingly disparate as embodied neural network modeling, synchrotron imaging, EEG analysis and art? Would he appreciate that all of this research points to critical questions like autonomy and spurious definitions of normalcy? Well, in the end he understood it all and got it across. Thank you John Markoff for taking the time to so carefully look into and understand our research and aims.

Also thanks to NYT photographer Emily Berl who spent an afternoon at the lab taking pictures of our meeting and research.


A big thanks also to all our students, collaborators and supporters that make this lab possible!

If you’re interested in our lab and green neuroscience, please consider signing up to our newsletter for updates (send request to info@greenneuro.org with subject line “gn newsletter”).

If you agree with us that there must be better ways to do neuroscience and would like to help find that path please consider sharing the story and donating to the lab.

Elan and Ann

3 thoughts on “NYT Article on GN (Jan 6, 2015)

  1. Thank you for the work in expanding the boundaries of neuroscience and linking it to environmental and social justice concerns. Congrats!

  2. My daughter is being forcibly medicated and institutionalized because she is not ‘normal.’ There is a bill in Congress called the Murphy Bill that will make it easier and easier to commit people in the US (involuntarily hospitalize, restrain, and medicated individuals) because of a tiny fraction of people who are violent due a psychiatric diagnosis. Thousands of people like my daughter will continue to be the ‘scapegoats’ for our society’s lack of willpower when it comes to opposing the gun lobby. Meanwhile, a growing amount of evidence that medicating individuals with neuroleptics for life is doing far more harm than good. The Harrow Study, the Wunderlink Study, the W.H.O. study, and Courtney Harding’s longitudinal studies, some of which are cited in Robert Whitaker’s ‘anatomy of an Epidemic’ show this. My dismal outlook for my daughter was lifted today when I read the NYT article about your work. We are all unique; and when people experience emotional and mental distress or even extreme states known as psychosis, there are many different pathways to achieving neuroplasticity. I sometimes lose sight of that fact because of the violence and psychiatric abuse that my daughter has endured for the last five years. Your work can only do people like my daughter a world of good. When people recover from psychosis, is has less to do with their neuro circuitry or brain chemicals and more to do with their perception which is molded in their relationship to people and the community. I feel your research will benefit the field of mental health and addiction. I am of very modest means, otherwise I would make a large gift to support your work today. Please check out the Foundation for Excellence in Mental Health Care for. Perhaps they may want to partner with your lab in some ways.

    • Dear Sarah, thank you for the support and information. We’re so sorry your daughter and family have had to endure these experiences. We hope our work can help change this critical error in society’s perceptions and actions. Hopefully people and communities will come around soon.

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