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Panelist: Alice Flaherty, MD, PhD
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Alice Flaherty, MD, PhD

Episodes in which Alice Flaherty, MD, PhD appears

Director, Neurology Brain Stimulator Unit
Massachusetts General Hospital
Assistant Professor of Neurology
Harvard Medical School

Dr. Alice Flaherty, neurologist at the Massachusetts General Hospital and assistant professor of neurology at Harvard Medical School, also has an independent career as a writer.

She heads MGH Neurology’s Brain Stimulator Unit, where she uses deep brain stimulators to treat psychiatric as well as neurological disease. Her research focuses on how our brains represent our bodies, a factor that helps drive suffering in depression, Parkinson’s, and somatoform disorders. While still a resident she wrote The Massachusetts General Hospital Handbook of Neurology. It received a national award for its innovative approach, has been multiply translated, and remains by far the most widely used neurology text in its class.

During her research fellowship, she wrote The Midnight Disease, an award-winning nonfiction book about the neural basis of creativity. The Washington Post and The San Francisco Chronicle named it one of the best books of 2004. Her work on this subject has been featured in publications ranging from The New Yorker to Brazilian business magazines to a photo-essay in National Geographic.

She spent 2005-06 at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, an interdisciplinary fellowship that included two writers with Pulitzers and three with MacArthurs. Her current book project is on the uses of illness: the biology underlying gain from symptoms, stoicism, and empathy the way illness behavior works to communicate a patient’s distress.

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