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Jamestown author in the NY Times

February 3, 2011

Maggie Kozel, former physician and now a teacher at the Lincoln School in Providence, offers a glimpse into her life as a medical student in a piece in the New York Times.

A supervising doctor had taught us a trick in assessing cortical function: pretend to hold up a string, and ask the patient what color it is. The patient should, of course, respond that there is no string there.

If he says it is pink or orange, he is confabulating, meaning his brain cortex isn’t working so well. So with thumbs and forefingers pinched together, Randy held up an invisible string and asked this man what color it was. We waited.

After some time, he gave us his considered answer: “It is the color of atmosphere.” A self-satisfied grin broke across his face.

This experience inspired the title of Kozel’s new book, The Color of Atmosphere, which follows her life as a doctor and her decision to leave the world of medicine.  It’s the next book on my “to read” list.  Stay tuned for a possible  WRNI interview with Kozel later in the year.

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