Friday, April 25, 2014

"Black Box": a somewhat tame account of mental illness and neuroscience

ABC started a new series, “Black Box”, April 24, 2014, in the place held by “Scandal”.  The series is created by Amy Holden Jones.
The Pilot episode Thursday night was called “Kiss the Sky”.

Kelly Reilly plays Dr. Catherine Black, a neuroscientist who works at the Center for Neurological Research and Treatment in New York City.  Apparently she has to deal with her own demons, her own middle illness, or at least bipolar disorder.

But in the Pilot she has an 18-year-old patient (Josh Green) whose behavior has changed recently, leading to problems in college.  It’s apparent that he is seeing things, leading to the idea that he has schizophrenia.  He has developed a desire to become a writer and artist (and has the talent to produce bizarre drawnings), which he is afraid will be flushed out of him.  But doctors find a tumor which must be removed by difficult surgery, explaining the symptoms.  If he has the surgery, will he lose his creative edge? He gets desperate in a couple scenes, but when cleaned up he looks good.

There were issues like this (not with organic brain tumors, but with conflicts over my own goals) when I was “expelled” from William and Mary in the fall of 1961 and wound up as an impatient at NIH for six months in 1962.

The link is here

Somehow the whole episode seemed a bit tame.  The topic is going to be controversial given cases like Lanza and particularly Holmes.   

Photo: Mine, NIH Ckinical Center, where I was a patient in 1962. 

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