2 Neuroscience luminary Eric Kandel explains the current scientific understanding of depression and bipolar disorder in a public lecture sponsored by the Mood Disorders Support Group of New York City. Kandel received the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 2000 [see box]. A recording of the lecture will also be available for purchase online.

New York City


7–10 Hundreds of clinical and research teams investigate nervous system diseases every year, but only eight studies merit inclusion among the special presentations at the American Neurological Association's 132nd Annual Meeting. Poster sessions and symposia will highlight many additional advances in the latest theories of neurological diagnosis and treatment.

Washington, D.C.


16 Imagine a therapy that could unlock hidden emotional states, treat brain damage and sensory disorders, serve as a memory aid and improve mental health on a daily basis. According to neurologist Oliver Sacks, such a therapy exists—and we call it music. Master storyteller Sacks tackles the biological basis of music's power and allure in his new book, Musicophilia: Tales of Music and the Brain.

Knopf ($26)


26 Human compassion has the power to overcome grief, as a widow and a drug addict learn in the drama Things We Lost in the Fire. Halle Berry plays a newly single mother who finds support in an unlikely friendship with a ruined lawyer (Benicio Del Toro) who was her husband's childhood best friend. Even as Del Toro's character struggles with heroin addiction, he helps the family find strength to cope with their loss.

DreamWorks Pictures



3–7 Neuroscientists from around the world gather for the 37th Annual Meeting of the Society for Neuroscience. Frequent Scientific American Mind contributor Michael Gazzaniga is a featured lecturer, along with many other leaders in the field. Symposia, workshops and poster sessions round out the opportunities for meeting attendees to exchange innovative ideas about the brain's structure and function.

San Diego


9 Experience your thoughts and feelings in surprising ways in a new exhibit at the Exploratorium museum of science, art and human perception. In the hands-on activities that make up Mind, explore judgment and decision making, perceptions of yourself and others, your senses and the meaning of consciousness as you learn about the latest brain science. Live demonstrations and appearances by scientists are scheduled throughout the exhibit's run.

San Francisco


16 Penelope Cruz and Ben Kingsley star in Elegy, a drama about sexual possessiveness based on Philip Roth's novel The Dying Animal. David Kepesh (Kingsley), a renowned 70-year-old cultural critic, recalls a devastating, obsessive affair he had with 24-year-old Consuela Castillo (Cruz). The end of the affair threw David into a long depression, which finally breaks when Consuela contacts him again eight years laterfgbk>—and the turmoil starts anew.




Since 1901 October has marked the announcement of the year's Nobel Prize winners. The prize in physiology or medicine has often honored researchers whose work represented a milestone in our understanding of the mind and brain. Some past highlights:

October 27, 1949

Walter R. Hess wins for elucidating the functions of the midbrain, which he found to regulate vision, hearing and body movement.

Hess's work opened a new avenue of research into the brain's subconscious control of our organs.

October 15, 1970

Julius Axelrod, Sir Bernard Katz and Ulf von Euler are awarded for their studies of the release and reuptake of neurotransmitters in the brainfgbk>—an important step toward the development of drugs for depression.

October 9, 1981

Roger Sperry is recognized for mapping the locations of many higher cognitive processes and showing that the right and left hemispheres each perform vital, noninterchangeable functions.

October 9, 2000

Arvid Carlsson, Paul Greengard and Eric Kandel split the prize for their separate studies of chemical signaling between nerve cells in the brain. Their findings led to better treatments for disorders that stem from signal disruption, such as Parkinson's disease.