"The universe is made of stories, not of atoms."
—Muriel Rukeyser

Gift for the Holidays: Una Vida: A Fable of Music and the Mind

Dr. Nick Bazan’s novel Una Vida: A Fable of Music and the Mind will be featured on the www.kittenlounge.com’s Holiday Gift Guide through January 15. Go to the site and scroll down.

"The battle to conquer diseases - such as Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, macular degeneration ,depression, epilepsy, and so many others - is not a story of continual everyday successes. It is a slow journey through a complicated maze that is often fraught with setbacks and unexpected twists and turns. Experiments do not always yield the results anticipated, and scientists like me and my colleagues often find that we do not have the means available to solve the riddles of the mind and sight we so desperately seek to unravel. But don't think for a moment that a neuroscientist's objectivity means he doesn't have personal thoughts and emotions about the lives that have been affected, and that have been lost by the diseases we study. After years of those thoughts and emotions building up inside of me, I searched for a way to express what our work is really like in a way anyone could relate to. I decided to write a novel that gave me the greater liberty of expressing my own worries, motivations, doubts, aspirations, joys and reflections about the work we do on the always-expanding frontiers of neuroscience. The novel "Una Vida," mirrors many facets of my own personal and professional life, including why I strive to understand and combat the ravaging diseases and disorders that afflict the eyes and the brain.

Using jazz and the fascinating chaos of the city I love most, pre-Katrina New Orleans, as metaphors for the workings of the brain and the human mind, the novel reveals the joys and frustrations that seem to go hand in hand with neuroscience research. Yet, despite the many trials we face, despite the many uncertainties we encounter, each day that passes brings us closer to understanding, preventing and curing these debilitating diseases.

I realize how extraordinarily important this research is, not only to scientists , but to each and every individual in the global community. Every new bit of information we uncover adds one more piece to the puzzle, bringing the bigger picture into focus a little more and providing us not only with new knowledge, but also with renewed hope.

It is this hope that I wish to share with others through "Una Vida." It has allowed me to express my thoughts and emotions surrounding brain research and the exploration of cellular elements and molecular switches that underlie the components of the mind and the eyes. To be able to impart these views to others and to provide them with the hope and optimism that the story of "Una Vida" ultimately presents, that task itself is equally as important and rewarding as the pursuit to understand, prevent and cure. Writing "Una Vida" created a channel, an outlet that, unlike technical journals, allows me to freely express my emotions and opinions to the people who have the greatest interest in our work." --Dr. Nick Bazan

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