(1)Healing the Hurt (2)Life After High School


Healing the Hurt
Finding new ways to treat pain
By Alice Park
Friday, Mar. 04, 2011

Pain is the human bodyguard, the cop on the beat racing to the scene, sirens wailing, shutting down traffic. You've been cut, burned, broken: pay attention, stop the bleeding, apply heat, apply cold, do something. It's one of life's most primitive mechanisms, by which even the simplest creature, if it has anything like a central nervous system, learns to avoid danger, stay out of bad neighborhoods, hunker down to give itself time to heal. Pain is protective. Don't do that, it commands — and the command is usually a wise one. So this sensation we seek most to avoid is in fact one of the most essential ones for our survival.

But what happens when pain goes rogue, when it sends off false alarms so that all the sirens keep sounding, all the cops keep coming, all the hurts keep hurting? If even benign stimuli get distilled down to a single, primal Ouch!, then pain ceases to be adaptive. Rather than saving lives, it wrecks them. Rather than helping you get well or stay safe, it becomes an illness in itself. The result: persistent, unceasing torment.

That's the situation that more than 76 million Americans face. Their pain can last for days or even weeks at a time, then dissipate, only to return. The problem may be caused by something as common as arthritis, an inflammation of the joints that makes them throb with discomfort. The issue could be fibromyalgia, in which a breakdown of pain signals leaves joints, muscles and tissues hypersensitive. It may be a nerve disorder known as neuropathy, triggered by diseases as diverse as cancer and diabetes. It may be that the cause is unidentifiable. Many cases of chronic pain remain unexplained, but they hurt all the same.

There's no telling who the victims of chronic pain will be, but there are ways of determining who is at highest risk. About 10% of people who have surgery, even relatively routine procedures such as knee or back operations, for example, will never be the same again, suffering a lifetime of generalized pain that may start from the incision site but is eventually diffused to other parts of the body. Around 20% of cancer patients will continue to feel pain two years after the surgery or chemotherapy that may have saved their lives. For all of them, pain is not merely a symptom but a disease in itself, one that doctors have only recently come to recognize.

But recognizing a disease is only a prelude to treating it, and doctors admit that while they're pretty good at relieving the acute pain that occurs immediately after surgery or an injury, they are usually stymied by the chronic kind. The most common complaint doctors hear from their patients is about pain that will not quit, and more than 80% of those people never receive treatment — or at least not an effective one. About a decade ago, physicians took the first step toward acknowledging the prevalence of pain and their inadequate ability to address it by including pain assessment as a vital sign along with blood pressure, respiratory rate, heart rate and temperature. "As a clinician, I'm frustrated, and I'm sure many patients are, because we do a very poor job in terms of providing relief for chronic pain," says David Borsook of the McLean Hospital and Harvard Medical School.

To address that frustration, this summer, an expert panel convened by the Institute of Medicine — the independent scientific advisory arm of the National Academies — will release a report on the latest advances in understanding chronic pain and highlight the need for an all-encompassing approach that treats it as a disease of both brain and body. A strategy that lays bare the multitude of body systems involved in maintaining a world of chronic hurt also presents a multitude of treatment opportunities for science to exploit.

Brain-imaging studies and research in genetic and molecular biology, for example, suggest that a brain in chronic pain looks and acts differently from a normal brain and that the phenomenon can even run both ways: haywire circuits cause the brain to register persistent pain, which in turn leads to changes — perhaps permanent — in the way the brain and body work. All this suggests entirely new routes toward eliminating pain or at least managing it better.

"There has been a shift in thinking away from pain as only a sensory experience," says Dr. Clifford Woolf, a neurologist at Children's Hospital Boston. "Rather than targeting the suppression of pain as a symptom, the best treatment now has to be targeted at preventing pain as a disease. That insight really changes the way we understand pain."

Unpacking the Hurt
What is pain? Defining something as varied and complex as pain continues to be a challenge for doctors, even as they try to improve their ability to treat it. While most experts agree it is a phenomenon of the nervous system, only in recent years have they accepted that pain isn't always traceable to a physical source. Patients with amputated limbs who still feel discomfort in the missing appendage are still hurting, for example, since their brain is registering signals, however distorted, of the sensation. The subjective experience of pain is also nearly unlimited in its variety. Pain can come and go, a bothersome reminder of a past injury; it can be dull and achy or sharp and shooting; it can be concentrated in one joint or muscle or seem to radiate throughout the body. With chronic pain, the problem is compounded, since in most cases there's no proximate cause or injury to treat. What do you do about a surgical site that healed long ago yet still causes agony? What do you do about whole-body pain that has never stopped since a round of chemo far in the past?

Part of the answer may lie in the chemicals that bathe the brain and promote communication among nerve cells. Most studies of chronic pain involve people with fibromyalgia, a condition involving abnormal pain responses that generally affects women. Chronic fatigue syndrome and back disorders can also cause constant pain, and studies of patients with all these conditions have found these individuals have more-active nerve responses, which amplify pain receptors throughout the body. This can set off the pain cascade with hair-trigger sensitivity.

Fibromyalgia patients are a case in point. They often report deep aches as well as shooting discomfort from their joints, even if they don't show signs of inflammation there. What they frequently do have, however, are lower levels of endorphins compared with those who don't suffer from the condition. This may make them more sensitive to pain. Endorphins are the body's natural morphine, and they dull pain by binding to nerve-cell receptors reserved for opiates. Also linked to mood, endorphins can contribute to feelings of euphoria and satisfaction, another mechanism by which they may divert the brain from pain.

And it's not just chemical compounds but neural circuits that may be altered in chronic-pain sufferers. For example, an adaptive mechanism in which severe pain in one area of the body inhibits pain in another is impaired among women with fibromyalgia. Normally, this system works as a check on the amount of pain the brain can handle; if your arm is sore and someone steps hard on your toe, your arm will temporarily feel better as all of your brain's pain attention is focused on the new insult. In chronic-pain patients, this mechanism is faulty or nonexistent.

Genes, too, almost certainly play a role in the response to pain. Inherited differences in the number, density and type of receptors that detect pain, as well as in the body's ability to control it, could help explain why some people feel pain more acutely than others do, as well as why one patient recovers from a knee operation without lasting effects while another never does.

But unraveling the DNA-based component of pain takes more than simply comparing the genomes of chronic-pain sufferers with those of other people and isolating the differences in their genes. That would yield an overwhelming number of potential leads mixed with a good dose of genetic red herrings. So Woolf, for one, has started small, isolating some intriguing possibilities in a species that's easier to study: the fruit fly. He has already found some painregulating genes in that simple model, and if they work the same way in humans, those genes could be manipulated with new drugs to tackle pain in a personalized, targeted way.

Such strategies may be novel and in many cases purely theoretical, but they build on a very basic understanding of human anatomy and function. The body's natural painkilling system — the opioids and analgesics we all produce — are the basis for our most powerful painkillers, including nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen and naproxen. All of them, natural and synthetic, work by stopping pain signals from speeding along neural highways into the spinal cord and brain. But there may be a more direct way to exploit this pain-dampening system than with drugs that diffuse throughout the entire body.

That's what Dr. David Fink, director of neurology at the University of Michigan, is hoping to show with a gene-therapy study, in which he will inject chronic-pain sufferers with genes coding for natural painkillers, hoping to boost their bodies' levels of those analgesic chemicals. Enkephalins are a type of opiate that the body produces to dull pain sensations, but in cases of chronic pain, these agents appear not to flow in sufficient quantities. So in the first study of its kind, Fink's team is testing whether using a viral vector to inject cancer patients with the gene associated with enkephalins can boost levels of the opiate and address the subjects' pain. "If we could deliver the gene that makes enkephalins," he says, "they could be released from cells directly into the nervous system and potentially reduce pain in a more targeted fashion." As appealing and potent as that strategy is, tapping into the opiate system is also fraught with danger. The analgesic circuits are intricately intertwined with the body's reward-andreinforcement network, meaning that activating it could lead to addictive behaviors. That's what makes prescription opioids and other painkillers so habit-forming.

So identifying other genes — those that regulate the addiction circuits — and finding ways to bypass them could be another avenue to treating chronic pain more effectively with existing opiates. At Stanford University Medical Center, researchers led by Martin Angst, a professor of anesthesia, are studying sets of twins in which one displays a stronger liking for painkilling drugs than the other but both experience the analgesic benefits. The idea is to try to isolate the protein markers, perhaps in the blood, produced by the genes that help one twin resist the habit-forming nature of the drugs. Spotting the protein could help doctors identify those more vulnerable to addiction. "As much as we agree that we need to look for novel pain treatments, we understand narcotics pretty well," Angst says. "And if we had a genetic thumbprint for how likely you are to suffer from drug abuse, how convenient that would be."

Training the Brain

That's where brain imaging — the powerful technology that allows researchers to view the brain at work, nearly in real time — becomes indispensable. What if, for example, pictures of the brain could be used to help people "think" themselves out of pain?

The idea borrows heavily from biofeedback, in which patients use computer screens or other instruments to monitor bodily functions like heart rate or respiration, then dial those functions up or down with just the power of their mind. For pain patients, Dr. Sean Mackey, a professor of anesthesia and pain management at Stanford, has been studying ways to do the same thing with the aid of functional magnetic resonance images (fMRI), which document active regions of the brain at work. "We want to turn the tool that we use to open windows into people's brains and instead use it as a tool to allow people to control their brains," he says.

In Mackey's study, healthy subjects in an fMRI machine were given live access to an image of their brain's activity in a region known as the anterior cingulate cortex — a key regulator of pain signals. Using a heat probe on the arm to cause pain, Mackey and his team asked the volunteers to dial down their level of discomfort when the temperature reached unbearable levels and to dial up their pain sensations when the probe wasn't generating enough heat. They did this not by actually changing the temperature of the probe — that was under the control of the researchers. Rather, they actively refocused their brains either away from or to painful thoughts, depending on the effect they were trying to achieve. To decrease their painful feelings, for example, the subjects were told to distract themselves with thoughts of more-pleasant experiences or events.

Surprisingly, it worked. After the training, the subjects improved their ability to control pain intensity by 23%. And in the ultimate test, when Mackey next trained patients with chronic pain, they reported a 64% reduction in their sensation of pain.

If the results hold, ultimately, Mackey says, retraining the brain to control the activation of pain pathways may become a powerful way of controlling pain without the dangers of addiction. "The idea is that we can specifically target particular brain regions and processes," he says. "The problem with pain pills is that they go through the entire body and manipulate regions of the brain that we don't want to manipulate."

Retraining the brain has the added advantage of exploiting a part of the pain pathway that so far hasn't been targeted much by drugmakers: its inhibitory arm. While painkilling drugs attempt to dampen already activated pain signals, says Mackey, retraining the brain involves "trying to beef up the muscles that turn down the overall pain experience."

That idea speaks to the brain's plasticity — the way it changes and adapts to new situations. A boxer doesn't come into the world unable to feel the pain of a punch in the nose; indeed, he feels it as acutely as anyone else. Over time, however, his pain threshold adjusts so that a punch simply hurts less. Such changes may become self-perpetuating, both for better and for worse.

This kind of resculpting of the brain is leading scientists to explore other ways to rewire the connections that lead to chronic misfiring. David Yeomans, director of pain research at Stanford, was inspired by a psychiatric treatment for bipolar disorder in which magnetic stimulation shuffles nerve networks back to a near normal state. He wondered if the same technique could be applied to pain. And indeed, in early studies, he found that concentrating magnetic fields to target deep-seated pain centers can also relieve symptoms in patients who do not respond to any other therapy.

That's important, since chronic pain may be self-perpetuating, and the sooner pain can be addressed, the less likely it will be to cause persistent and relentless discomfort. "There is intriguing evidence suggesting that chronic pain in osteoarthritis, for example, itself may be causing enhanced damage to joints," says Mackey. "The altered brain is causing changes in the spinal cord that are having an effect on the joints and accelerating damage." The more pain the brain feels, the more damage that does to the body, giving it a physical reason to feel still more.

The Talking Cure
A final, wonderfully low-tech piece of the pain puzzle involves the psychological, social and behavioral factors at play. Whether or not postsurgical pain becomes chronic certainly has a lot to do with a person's genetic sensitivity to activating pain pathways, but it may also depend in part on temperament and mental state. Because brain chemicals that regulate mood and emotion, such as serotonin and norepinephrine, are closely linked to those that govern crisis response — including pain — it makes intuitive sense that their functions would be intertwined, and doctors see evidence of that all the time.

"Chronic pain really is a disease of the central nervous system," says Borsook. "As such, it is a disease that affects the sensory, emotional, motivational, cognitive and modulatory pathways. And the more we understand in particular the emotional pathways, the more we begin to understand that the traditional way we approach patients in pain may need to be revised."

Borsook is convinced that psychiatrists, who have a good understanding of the brain changes caused by mental illness, can provide insights into how best to exploit them. Patients with depression or anxiety, for example, often report a higher incidence of chronic pain, and their discomfort rises as their depression worsens. In addition, the opioid-based response to pain loops in the same reward and motivational systems that reinforce behaviors like addiction. Treat the depression and you may break the entire pathological cycle.

New research into mental illness, genetics and molecular biology is giving researchers and patients new hope that pain may not have to remain so intractable and untreatable. And rethinking chronic pain as a disease, as a normally adaptive process gone awry instead of as a symptom, may be the key to finding safer and more effective ways of interrupting the hurt.

< 疼痛治療に光明が >









< 痛みの謎を解明 >





しかし、DNAにある痛みの要素の解明には、単に慢性痛を感じる患者のゲノムと他の人のゲノムを比較したり、遺伝子における違いを特定するだけではない、それ以上の研究を要する。かなりの遺伝子的おとりが混入した多数の手がかりとなり得るものを生み出すだろう。そこでウルフは手始めに小さな生物から始め、研究が比較的容易な種における幾つかの興味深い可能性を取り出した。実蠅(ミバエ:fruit fly)だ。彼は既にその単純モデルの中に、幾つかの痛み調整遺伝子を見つけているので、もし人体でもその調整遺伝子が同様の方法で働くならば、独自に標的にした方法で痛みを治療する新薬を使って、それらの遺伝子を操作できるだろう。




< 脳を鍛える >










< 対話療法 >




Life After High School
By Annie Murphy Paul
Monday, Jun. 20, 2011

We're obsessed with those four years. But new research shows we're not defined by them.

Kurt Vonnegut Jr. wrote about many scary things: the firebombing of Dresden, the aftermath of the Vietnam War, the specter of individuals controlled by the state or by technology. But the most unnerving image he ever put on paper may have been this, written when he was 47 years old, recounting the words of a fellow Indianapolis high school grad: "When you get to be our age, you all of a sudden realize that you are being ruled by people you went to high school with ... You all of a sudden catch on that life is nothing but high school."

It's a chilling vision. The cutthroat competition, ruthless power plays and rigid status hierarchy all extended into eternity? Even those of us who liked high school wouldn't want to spend a lifetime there.

Or maybe we do. Popular culture is dominated by depictions of high school: Glee and Gossip Girl, High School Musical and Prom. Earlier generations mined the same terrain, from Grease and The Breakfast Club to Beverly Hills, 90210 and My So-Called Life. Our educational system is fixated on the performance of high school students, the key to their all-important college admissions. Social-networking sites mean you never have to lose touch with your friends from high school. And every spring we enter the prom-commencement-reunion cycle, a trifecta of tearjerkers that suggest that high school is still very much with us. The latest trend is "adult proms": formal dances for grownups, complete with sequined dresses and rented tuxedos, which are being held this spring in Fort Wayne, Ind.; Beverly, Mass.; Decatur, Ga.; and Cedar Rapids, Iowa. "Prom the way you always wanted it," read the ad for an adult prom in Green Bay, Wis.

Are those four fraught years the crucible in which our adult identities are forged, or are they a passing phase, faded as an orchid corsage? I found myself confronted by this question when the phone rang at my house this spring. "Hello, Annie," said the startlingly familiar voice on the other end. "This is Mr. Frank." In an instant, the 20 years since I graduated from high school evaporated, and I was back in his 11th-grade history class--back in the world of pop quizzes, of homeroom and gym class, of cafeteria cliques and student-body elections. But Mr. Frank was calling to invite me to be the commencement speaker at this year's graduation.

I couldn't have been more flabbergasted if he had called to award me a Nobel Prize. I had been a quiet and studious teenager, a bespectacled wallflower among the chatty debutantes and lacrosse players at my all-girls private school. I bloomed later, in college, where I wrote a column for the school newspaper and co-edited a campus magazine; as an adult, I became a journalist and an author--which, presumably, is why my school asked me to speak. But what would I say? My idiosyncratic path toward career and family would seem to offer little guidance to young people on the matters they find most pressing: What does the future hold for them? How will their teenage experiences affect their adult lives? Will the identities they formed in high school carry over into the real world, or will they be able, if they choose, to leave them behind?

Popularity Contests
"We've all wondered at times if high school determines who we become as adults, and now we have the empirical data to test that notion," says Pamela Herd, an associate professor of public affairs and sociology at the University of Wisconsin at Madison. Herd is the co-director of the Wisconsin Longitudinal Study, one of the largest and longest-running investigations of how lives unfold in high school and beyond. The study, funded by the National Institute on Aging, has followed more than 10,000 members of Wisconsin's 1957 graduating class for more than 50 years, beginning when they were seniors and continuing through decades of establishing careers and raising families to their lives as retirees and grandparents.

The Wisconsin program is the granddaddy of a generation of studies that are just coming to fruition. They're being joined by a slew of shorter-term studies conducted by psychologists, sociologists, economists and epidemiologists, researchers from varied fields who have all taken an interest in the high school years. "Social scientists are realizing that many of our adult outcomes can be traced back, at least in part, to our experiences in high school," says Robert Crosnoe, a sociologist at the University of Texas at Austin and the author of Fitting In, Standing Out, a new book that draws on his seven-year study of the adolescent social scene.

It's not just the turbulent life stage of adolescence that has consequences for our later lives, Crosnoe stresses, but also the interactions of this developmental transition with the structures and hierarchies of high school. The institution has its origins in the secondary schools of the early 19th century, but it was only in the past 50 years or so--when high schools swelled as the children of the baby boom entered adolescence and youth culture took center stage--that our popular notion of high school took shape. Namely: high school as a formative life experience, as social as it is academic, in which students encounter a jostling bazaar of potential identities--from jock to prep to geek--and choose (or are assigned) one that will stay with them for years to come.

And yes, there's some truth to the yearbook predictions, social scientists find. Broadly speaking, the brainy grinds and the glad-handing class officers achieve success as adults. The jocks are fitter and in better health. The outcasts and dropouts are more likely to be depressed and unemployed. The kids who drank and smoked pot under the bleachers are mostly still drinking and doping, sometimes to excess.

But it may be time for a re-evaluation of many of our notions about what matters in high school, say researchers who study adolescence and its aftermath, including popularity and friendship, intelligence and hard work. For example, "popularity is not all it's cracked up to be," says Kathleen Boykin McElhaney, a psychologist at the University of Virginia. Her study of 164 adolescents, published in the journal Child Development in 2008, found that teenagers who don't belong to their schools' in groups can still function well socially--if they find a comfortable niche among their classmates. As long as they feel happy with themselves and their friends, it doesn't matter how popular they are. "Our work shows that popularity isn't all that important," says McElhaney. "The key is finding a group of people with whom you can feel at ease being yourself."

Indeed, recent research suggests that popularity isn't entirely positive. Belonging to the cool crowd is associated with higher rates of drinking, drug use, sexual activity and minor delinquency during adolescence. And the connection between social status and risky behavior may be a lasting one: a study co-authored last year by Marlene J. Sandstrom, a professor of psychology at Williams College, reported that popularity in high school was associated with higher rates of substance abuse and sexual promiscuity in the three years after graduation.

What's more, popular kids may not even be well liked. Researchers distinguish between two types of popularity: "perceived popularity," or how socially prominent individuals are, and "sociometric popularity," or how well liked they are. Membership in the two groups often doesn't overlap. Sociometrically popular teens have a wide group of friends and are described by classmates as "trustworthy" and "kind"; perceived-popular students are admired and envied by their peers but are also regarded as "arrogant" and "stuck-up." And no wonder: many studies have linked perceived popularity to high levels of what researchers call "relational aggression": spreading gossip, engaging in taunting and bullying and practicing exclusion and the silent treatment in order to maintain one's social position.

If the populars don't have a lock on friendship, neither do the brains have an exclusive claim on post--high school success. In a study conducted last year, Stephen D.H. Hsu and James Schombert, physics professors at the University of Oregon, analyzed undergraduates' high school test scores and college grades. "Low SAT scores do not preclude high performance in most majors," they reported. High-achieving students often get that way through dogged effort, they pointed out, rather than innate brilliance. "Our results suggest that almost any student admitted to university can achieve academic success, if they work hard enough," the authors concluded.

Another study, by economists Jeffrey S. Zax and Daniel I. Rees of the University of Colorado, examined the connection between individuals' IQ and academic performance, measured in the last year of high school, and how much money they were making in their mid-30s and then in their early 50s. Using data from the Wisconsin Longitudinal Study, they concluded that "previous analyses have overstated the role of intelligence in economic success." Hard work and the development of capacities like conscientiousness and cooperation also matter for success--not to mention personal satisfaction and fulfillment. Coveted as they are in high school, brains and popularity get you only so far in the real world.

The Quirk Factor
That's a message many of today's high school students need to hear. An increasing number of American teenagers feel excluded by a relentlessly conformist school environment, says Alexandra Robbins, author of the new book The Geeks Shall Inherit the Earth. They're the casualties of a Lord of the Flies social scene defined by the pressures of standardized tests and college admissions, the hypersexual and hypermaterialistic advertising of retailers like Abercrombie & Fitch and the mean-girl dramas of shows like Gossip Girl. Robbins calls them the "cafeteria fringe": the kids who can't find a seat at the table at lunchtime, who are rejected for infractions as minor as wearing the wrong jeans.

An author of several best-selling books on young people, Robbins began thinking about these students' plight when she was visiting schools across the country to speak about her 2006 book, The Overachievers. "Kids would come up to talk to me after my readings, and the ones I found most interesting and appealing were often those who described themselves as outsiders," she says. "I wanted to know what their experience of high school was like and what happened to them after graduation."

The result was The Geeks, which contends that young people will be well served in adult life by the same characteristics that made them unpopular in high school. She calls this premise "quirk theory" and describes it this way: "Many of the differences that cause a student to be excluded in school are the identical traits or real-world skills that others will value, love, respect or find compelling about that person in adulthood and outside the school setting." If Robbins is any guide, high school outcasts have a lot to look forward to. Attractive, confident and successful, Robbins cheerfully admits that she was a dork in high school. "I was a floater," she says, "someone who could sit at the edge of a lot of different groups in the cafeteria but who never felt fully part of any of them." Finding herself at home on many weekend nights, Robbins threw herself into her studies. She was admitted to Yale and flourished in college and in life.

But she remains in touch with her inner outsider. "I'm still a dork," she claims. "I'm sure my dorkiness has helped me in my work--helped me to connect with teenagers and convey their sense of the world in my writing." Robbins wants kids who are suffering through high school now to know what she's come to realize in retrospect. "There is nothing wrong with you just because you haven't yet met people who share your interests or outlook on life," she tells readers of The Geeks. "Unless you are doing something unhealthy or destructive, take pride in your beliefs, passions and values. Know that you will eventually meet people who will appreciate you for being you."

For some unhappy teens, though, life is bad in high school and threatens to stay that way if they don't get help. For these students--the ones with drug and alcohol problems, the ones who are bullied and harassed, the ones who drop out of school altogether--intervention by adults is more important than ever, says Crosnoe. "Education is critical to making our way in today's society, especially today's economy, and kids who miss out on the full academic and social experience of high school will feel the effects of that lack reverberate through their lives for many years to come."

For the rest of us, high school is one important experience among many--a lasting influence but hardly determinative. In the study by Zax and Rees, the authors ended on an unexpected note. "The most striking result," they said, was how little they were able to predict about people's adult lives from characteristics measured in adolescence. At least 75% of the variation seen among people in middle age couldn't be foretold from what they were like in high school--meaning, they wrote, that "there is plenty of opportunity for individuals to rise above or fall below the level to which their endowments and environment might direct them."

This, I've decided, is what I'll tell the class of 2011 at my high school: Don't put any limits on what you think you can do. I was a shy, bookish teenager who hid behind long hair. Now I go on television to talk about my books and articles and give speeches without feeling a single butterfly. What you'll become may be beyond your imagining now. Who, after all, would have predicted that a long-haired loner like Bruce Springsteen from Freehold High School in New Jersey would become the Boss? That Barry Obama, the scholarship kid at Punahou School in Hawaii, would become President of the United States?

Or consider the student who was the Tuesday editor of his high school's daily newspaper, the kid who worked at the family hardware store in the summer, the one affectionately called Snarf by his classmates for absentmindedly sniffing his armpits. Who would have predicted he'd go on to write Slaughterhouse-Five and Cat's Cradle? To his classmates, he was just "Kurt Snarfield Vonnegut Jr.," as the gibe in his high school yearbook went.

But that was before: before Vonnegut fought in a world war, before he fell in love with his wife and raised his children, before he trained his keen eye and acid tongue on the foibles of American society. The same society that just loves to reminisce about high school.








< 人気投票 >

このウィスコンシン計画は、被験者が祖父母になってやっと結実する研究だ。心理学者、社会学者、経済学者、疫病学者など、高校時代に興味を持つ様々な分野の研究者の多くが、この研究に加わっている。「我々が成人した時の業績の多くが、少なくとも一部分は、高校時代に遡及できると、社会学者は考えています」と、テキサス大学オースティン校の社会学者であり、若者の世界を7年間研究して書かれた新刊「適応すること、頭角を表わすこと(Fitting In, Standing Out)」の著者であるロバート・クロスノーは言っている。








< 逆転可能度 >
それこそ現在の高校生が耳を傾けるべきメッセージだ。容赦なく学校の体制に順応することを強いられて、米国では疎外感を抱くティーンエージャーの数がますます増えている、と新刊書「変わり者が地球を制す(Geeks Shall Inherit the Earth)」の著者アレキサンドラ・ロビンスは言う。彼らは、画一的な試験や大学入試のプレッシャー、アバクロンビー&フィッチや「ゴシップガール」のような陳腐なドラマに見られる過激なセックスや物質欲をそそる広告、これらが支配する「蠅の王」的社会の犠牲者だ。ロビンスは彼らを、「カフェテリアの縁飾り」と呼ぶ。昼休みに自分の居場所がなく、ダサいジーンズをはいている程度の些細な理由で排斥される子供たちだ。








inserted by FC2 system