Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Trust me, I'm an engineer.

Two weeks ago I finished my master by presenting and defending the results of a full year of research in the field of deep brain stimulation (DBS). In a few words, DBS is a surgical treatment where needles are placed deep inside the brain through small holes in the skull. Comparable to a cardiac pacemaker, the needles will stay there forever and will electrically stimulate the neurons inside the brain. This treatment has been used for over 20 years for Parkinson's disease, but is currently also used for Alzheimer’s, depression and many more. You’re interested in how it works? Nobody knows.

I think it is fascinating to study the unexplored in a world where so many things appear to be known. While doing that I have not only learned about the things I was searching for. In contrary, I've learned most about the search itself. The first thing I have learned is that for many things no single correct answer exists, therefore I do not have to choose between different ideas. In contrast, I've noticed that it is more powerful to accept multiple ideas while simultaneously understanding its flaws. This brings me to the next thing. I have noticed that if somebody has a very strong opinion, chances are he/she might be wrong! I must admit, I used to have opinions about people based on limited information. Now I see, that it is natural to think fast, but I would make fewer mistakes if I would think slow. (Thinking, fast and slow - Daniel Kahneman)

Lastly, I try to be careful when echoing opinions or 'facts' I hear from others, since my ears are blind and yours probably too. You can trust me, I'm an engineer.

PS. Watch some videos to see the effects of deep brain stimulation for yourself.

Jonas Roothans
Eindhoven, the Netherlands

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