Ramon y Cajal is the founder of neuroanatomy and left us with an invaluable understanding of microscopic nature of nervous system. His contributions include neuron theory, investigation of transmission of nervous signals, neuronal degeneration and regeneration. But his biggest discovery was that you can read out connection patterns between neurons by just looking at their shape. He compared himself to an entomologist, described permidal cells as the butterflies of the soul. He is one of the greatest examples of artist and scientist coming together, left brain, right brain. He contributed hugely to our idea of consciousness and neuroscience.
Sigmund Freud and cocaine addiction. In the 1880s pharmaceutical companies promoted it as the cure to everything. It was widely available as tonic, powders, and even wines. The mass availability made a large segment of the population addicts. Freud's most haunting encounter occurred in 1885, when he and a colleague almost killed a patient with a botched operation and too much cocaine. “Erma” the pseudonym of this patient is in his book the interpretation of dreams. Freud glossed over his obvious malpractice, instead he explained his dream meant he was a caring doctor who was overly protective of his patient Erma.
LSD was first synthesized by swiss chemist Albert Hofmann in 1938, although hallucinogenic effects were unknown for the next 5 years. While re-synthesizing the compound for further study he became dizzy and couldn't continue his work. On April 19, 1943, Hoffman ingested 250 micrograms, an amount he predicted to be a threshold dose. The events of the first LSD trip after the bicycle ride home, proved to Hofmann that he indeed made a significant discovery. While on LSD he believed, his next door neighbor was a witch, convinced he was possessed by a demon, and he was convinced he had gone insane. Not soon after it began to be marketed as a cure for everything.
LSD was part of CIA experiments, the top secret MKULTRA project, for mind control. 100’s of participants including government employees, CIA agents, prostitutes, etc. many without their knowledge or consent. Procedures included severe psychological torture, which led many to kill themselves or go insane. Decades would pass before the U.S admitted project and apologized for the deaths of those who died for their experimentation.
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