Citizen Blogger

March 19, 2005

Lesson found at Congressional Hearing for MLB

Hidden behind the "bouncing policy" two-step shuffle and the "see, hear and speak no evil" song and dance of those in Major League Baseball, Dr. Nora Volkow offered a forthright waltz on the floor of Congress during steroid hearing:

Beyond her direct and knowledgeable testimony, Dr. Nora Volkow, Director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, offered a good life lesson when asked about cognative skills and aggressive behavior being enhanced by steroids, and it seemed to me to be a comment that extends far beyond baseball, congress, and steroids. Here is a link to the recorded version of her testimony (go to 1:19:00 on counter).

In understanding that our cognitive ability pertains to the function of the brain's frontal cortex, Dr Volkow said:

"Aggression, is in fact related to the activation of an area we call the amygdala (uh mig' dull uh), and when the amygdala gets activated the frontal cortex gets deactivated and that's why I always say to my staff, please do not comment if you're angry because your cognitive abilities are not going to be as sharp, so yes in deed if you're very very angry your ability to do the right thing and make proper decisions is going to be markedly markedly impaired."

In a way, it reminds me of the general wisdom dispensed by Moms everywhere, but because it's forgotten by so many, this is a good opportunity to remind us all again. And the scientific context seems to make it all the more obvious--something to ponder in private and public.

Likewise, I hope the Congress will recognize that MLB and its Players are not what needs to be saved; the truckloads of money are still rolling in, and that is obviously their priority. The first and only social (Congressional) concern is that of the young lives destroyed. Rep. Jose Serrano, New York, a baseball fanatic, couldn't resist a nostalgic plea to save his memorable "days of summer." If these hearings are about saving MLB, Congress has taken their collective eye off the ball.