Cerebrum Fall 2021


Batter Up

BY BILL GLOVIN Editor-in-Chief


I t’s been a while, but I still clearly remember the stress and anxiety that came along with pitching for my high school team in Fair Lawn, New Jersey. Leading up to high school, I had always played third base when I wasn’t pitching—a position I much preferred. But because I had an effective curve ball and threw strikes, the coaches insisted I pitch. I came to hate the spotlight and the idea that so much of the game’s outcome depended on my performance. As time went on, baseball felt more like a chore and something I played because the world around me expected it, and I was glad to finally leave the pressure behind me. That’s the reason why basketball star Kevin Love’s admission about coping with stress and depression was so relatable to me and countless others. His admission on a mostly taboo subject seemed to finally open the floodgates to a frank discussion about the pressures performers face in a way that hadn’t been addressed before. Performers came forward from almost all walks of life to say the issue was much more than about stage fright, and to empathize and say “thank you” for the courage in speaking up. Love’s struggles especially resonated with high- profile performers, many of whom opened up about their need to justify multimillion-dollar contracts, the pressure to keep people around them employed, and the need to meet the expectations of fans, the media, and even entire countries—as was the case with Simone Biles and the recent Tokyo Summer Olympics. And so, many questions ensued: Why do some performers struggle and not others? Can their stress and anxiety be prevented or treated? What happens in the brain to cause such calamity? We hope our cover story provides some of the answers. Another story we are proud to present is one about the evolution of a new class of drugs for migraine, a problem for an estimated one billion people and one that’s categorized as second on the list of brain disorders affecting people worldwide. Our story traces the path that four individuals took in various labs around the world to win the most recent Brain Prize. Much like the many Covid-19 stories we’ve run, it is science working to humanity’s benefit. We also are also fortunate to have Daniel Roy tell his story of how his passion for magic coincided with him receiving a degree in neurobiology, and how brain science helps inform his work as a professional magician. Finally, we showcase the art of Dana Sutton, a neuroscientist who was inspired to create works of art after using microscopy to conduct her research on autism spectrum disorder. All in all, a power-packed issue, which we hope you enjoy. l

Bill Glovin Editor-in-Chief Seimi Rurup Assitant Editor

Brandon Barrera Editorial Assistant

Carl Sherman Copy Editor

Carolyn Asbury, Ph.D. Scientific Consultant

Bruce Hanson Art Director

Cerebrum is published by the Charles A. Dana Foundation, Incorpo- rated. DANA is a federally registered trademark owned by the Foundation. © 2020 by The Charles A. Dana Foundation, Incorporated. All rights reserved. No part of this publica- tion may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, record- ing, or otherwise, without the prior written permission of the publisher, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in articles. Letters to the Editor Cerebrum Magazine 10 Rockefeller Plaza, 16 Floor New York, NY 10020 or cerebrum@dana.org Letters may be edited for length and clarity. We regret that we cannot answer each one.


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