Evidence that Maritime Noon has the brainiest listeners / Phone-in: Experiences of being a widowerApril 13, 2010 2:06 PM
- Parker Donham's brain achieves total serenity while listening to Maritime Noon. Well, strictly speaking, you can't deduce that from this image. But at the very least, he's happy to be contributing to scientific research.
This Is Your Brain On Maritime Noon: From time to time, I mention that we can be followed on Twitter. It's a free internet site ( Twitter.com ) that allows you to interact - through very brief messages, or "Tweets" - with individuals, media outlets, businesses, sports teams, researchers - you name it. Those of you who've signed up to follow CBCMaritimenoon receive notification of stories we're working on, requests for help finding potential guests, and a note every afternoon to tell you when the podcast is available.
This week, one of the folks who follows us sent a Tweet that we had been mentioned on journalist Parker Donham's always interesting site, Contrarian.ca. We braced for the worst. Was he taking us to task for something we did on the show ?
Well, luckily, no - although we always appreciate and respect his astute criticism of the news media. No - as it turns out, Mr Donham - who's always argued for openness and transparency - proved that he's not one of those "do-as-I-say,not-as-I-do" pundits. Yesterday, he submitted his brain to an MRI scan and published the fascinating image on his website.
This wasn't a vanity project. Mr Donham was acting as a control subject in a study on memory loss among people with Alzheimer's disease. That is to say - his brain is captured as an example of someone's without Alzheimer's.
We were curious about the study itself, which we hope to follow on a future programme. But we admit we were intrigued to find out the specific conditions at the time the MRI was done : Mr Donham was listening to Maritime Noon during the MRI.
So there, to the left, is Parker Donham's Brain - or at least what it looks like when being stimulated by Maritime Noon. There have already been some interesting comments around the office about what the cross section resembles. We'd love to hear your impressions.
"When an older man's wife dies... he enters a foreign country, one which offers few images of what it means to be a widower...". That's the opening line in a new book called "By Himself: The Older Man's Experience of Widowhood" , by St Thomas University sociologist Dr Deborah Van den Hoonaard.
Our collective impression of widowhood has been formed by popular culture: it typically portrays young widowers whose wives have died (usually suddenly and violently) as being devoted to their children...and as romantic leads (think Tom Hanks in "Sleepless in Seattle").
By contrast, older men who suddenly find themselves widowed are often portrayed as lost and unable to cope. It's presumed they are desperate to remarry because they can't take care of themselves, and may find themselves vulnerable to that other stereotype - "the Casserole Queens" (women who descend on bereaved older men).
Dr Van den Hoonaard set out to explore what happens to older men who become widowers. Along the way, she discovered much complexity and diversity. She shared her research and then widowers, widows and their children shared their experiences.
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