Published Articles

Friday, April 5, 2013

Abstract — Psychosurgery was developed early in human prehistory (trephination) as a need perhaps to alter aberrant behavior and treat mental illness. The “American Crowbar Case" provided an impetus to study the brain and human behavior. The frontal lobe syndrome was avidly studied. Frontal lobotomy was developed in the 1930s for the treatment of mental illness and to solve the pressing problem of overcrowding in mental institutions in an era when no other forms of effective treatment were available. Lobotomy popularized by Dr. Walter Freeman reached a zenith in the 1940s, only to come into disrepute in the late 1950s. Other forms of therapy were needed and psychosurgery evolved into stereotactic functional neurosurgery. A history of these developments up to the 21st century will be related in this three-part historical review article, exclusively researched and written for the readers of Surgical Neurology International (SNI).


Trephination (or trepanation) of the human skull is the oldest documented surgical procedure performed by man. Trephined skulls have been found from the Old World of Europe and Asia to the New...

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

B. F. Skinner (1909-1990) was a prominent professor of psychology at Harvard (1958-1974) and a founder of Operant and Behavioral Psychology. I revisited his work while researching my paper,  “Violence, mental illness and the brain — A brief history of psychosurgery” for Surgical Neurology International (SNI).  Although more than 40 years have elapsed since publication of his book and my study of the subject in college, it deserves a reappraisal since history seems to repeat itself because man forgets, insisting on reinventing the wheel for his fellowman’s edification or his own vanity.

Besides, Skinner’s 1957 book, Verbal Behavior, was reprinted in 1992 and in the last decade has been resurgent in psychological research and applications. And even more revealing, in a 2002 survey Skinner was listed as the most influential psychologist of the 20th century.

In his book, Beyond Freedom and Dignity (1971), B.F. Skinner (photo, right) waged war against the cherished Western concept of individual freedom and the dignity of man. Again and again, he assailed and derided “the literature of freedom and dignity” and the concept of “autonomous man,” as enemies of...

Thursday, March 7, 2013

In his book, After Fidel — The Inside Story of Castro's Regime and Cuba's Next Leader, author Brian Latell, a National Intelligence Officer (1990-1994) and the top analyst for Cuba and Latin America for all the U.S intelligence agencies, describes in persuasive detail the personal relationship between Fidel and Raúl Castro. At the time this book was written, Raúl Castro was the anointed successor to the Maximum Leader. (He would assume power in 2006.) After Fidel contains dramatic revelations about the Castro brothers, even for those familiar with the history of the Cuban Revolution and the many biographies of Fidel Castro. I suspect that many authorities, who thought they knew the brothers intimately, will still find pearls of wisdom and psychological insights in this book explaining the various aspects in the lives and times of the brothers, even motives, which, heretofore, had been unexplainable. This insightful information comes from interviews with many former comrade-in-arms, who were personally close to the Castro brothers, also friends and family members, as well as previously published material, which the author has weaved together in a masterful interconnected...

Friday, March 1, 2013

Recently I read the book Tiger Trap (2012) by espionage writer David Wise. It is a scary but at the same time an astounding and critically needed book, as Americans know very little about the espionage activities of China in the United States. The book is 292 pages, contains a good index, and is fully annotated and illustrated with an insert of glossy photographs identifying most of the villains, a few innocent bystanders, and even a few heroes.

Espionage writer David Wise asserts the Chinese continue to follow the advise contained in the 6th century B.C. book, "The Art of War," by military sage Sun Tzu, who advises the commission of espionage by "a thousand grains of sand"; that means obtaining small but innumerable pieces of information by vast numbers of people acting as armies of spies sent against the enemy. Moreover, the communist Chinese in the 21st century, asserts Wise, unlike the Soviets, are not interested in recruiting agents with vulnerabilities or people motivated by revenge or misfits, but "good" people, who are naively convinced of the humanitarian nature of their actions. So spies recruited by the Chinese spymasters do genuinely want to assist China and...

Thursday, February 28, 2013

The Encyclopedia of Cold War Espionage, Spies, and Secret Operations by Richard C. S. Trahair was published by Greenwood Press, (Westport, Connecticut) in 2004. It is 473 pages. It consists of nearly 300 A to Z entries of both spies and secret operations as the main text in 350 pages. There are the usual introductions, as well as a useful Chronology (1917-2003), Glossary, and Index, contained in pages 351 to 473.

This tome is a useful addition to the literature. It is based on published material and secondary sources only, and as a conventional, encyclopedia format, it is a sensible decision by the author not to use unconfirmed primary sources. Nevertheless, it is a suspenseful narrative of the espionage contest between the American eagle and its allies, on the one hand, and the Russian bear and its satellites, on the other. Necessarily the tome extends beyond the limits of the cold war, well before World War II and after the collapse of the Soviet Empire in 1991.

Given the passage of time and the publication of espionage material since the crumbling of the USSR, there are two welcomed threads of information stemming from this tome. This information goes beyond...

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

January 18, 2013

Research Europe Reporter: Hi Dr. Faria, I am a reporter for Research Europe, and I cover US research and science policy news. I am hoping to speak with you today because I am writing an article about the fact that President Obama has issued a memorandum directing the CDC and other scientific agencies to research the causes and prevention of gun violence, loosening the current restrictions on federal funding in that field.

I have a few questions that I would like your input on as I cover this news story. They are as follows: 3) Can you tell me more about those restrictions.... My deadline is tight, so I would really appreciate if you could give me a call or reply by email ASAP. I can be reached at.... Thanks in advance, Rebecca Trager 

January 19, 2013

Dr. Miguel Faria (Answers): Hi Rebecca! I received your questions, but I don't know what happened to your questions #1 and #2!  Here are my answers to the other questions received. I hope you read also the two articles to which I posted links. It summarizes the history of the problem. They also evinced the passions that were elicited at the time (including my own), but as you...

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Abstract — Gun violence and, most recently, senseless shooting rampages continue to be sensitive and emotional points of debate in the American media and the political establishment. The United Nations is already set to commence discussing and approving its Small Arms Treaty in March 2013. And following the Newtown, Connecticut tragedy in the United States this past December, American legislators are working frantically to pass more stringent gun control laws in the U.S. Congress.

The American media and proponents of gun control assert that the problem lies in the “easy availability of guns“ and “too many guns” in the hand of the public. Second Amendment and gun rights advocates, on the other hand, believe the problem lies elsewhere, including a permissive criminal justice system that panders to criminals; the failure of public education; the fostering of a culture of dependence, violence, and alienation engendered by the welfare state; and the increased secularization of society with children and adolescents growing up devoid of moral guidance. I cannot disagree with the latter view, but I believe there are additional, contributing, and more proximate causes — e.g.,...

Monday, January 28, 2013

Pediatrician asks 13-year-old girl whether her parents smoke or own a gun, how much alcohol they drink, whether they use drugs, and how her parents “get along.” Neither parent was present during the questioning, as would be required if the girl were accused of a crime.
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Five-year-old asked whether her parents own guns, and if so, how many and where they are stored. When child replied “Yes,” the pediatrician filed a police report about the gun, though it was legally owned.
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American Academy of Pediatrics guidelines tell doctors to ask children about alcohol, tobacco, sexual activity, drugs, helmet and seatbelt use, access to guns, and other issues — regarding themselves and other family members. Doctors who fail to follow guidelines may be subject to sanctions for not meeting the “standard of practice.” There is no requirement to notify parents that these questions are being asked, much less to secure their permission.
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Does your doctor work for you? No, I don’t mean who actually pays him, though that is important. But whether your doctor is in solo practice, or group practice, or is employed by...

Monday, January 21, 2013

Georg Hegel (1770-1831), the father of dialectical idealism, which Karl Marx transmogrified as Marxist dialectical materialism, lamented that what we do learn from history is that man does not learn its lessons! Despite what we have learned about the deleterious effects of draconian gun control, as always preceding tyranny and even mass killing of the people by their own government (democide) in the last bloody century, President Barack Obama and the usual suspects in the Democratic Party have resumed the beating of the drums calling for the resumption of authoritarian gun control measures. These freedom-curtailing measures punish the vast majority of lawful gun owners because of the crimes and shooting rampages committed by mentally ill persons who fell through the cracks of the mental health programs, or criminals and copycat killers who flouted our lenient criminal justice system and were enticed by the sirens of the popular culture of violence to achieve morbid celebrity status even in death!(1-2)

Hallmarks of Tyranny

As any student of history knows, loss of individual freedom and repression feature prominently in the development of totalitarian states. These...

Sunday, January 20, 2013

AJC Reporter (Questions): Hello — This is Craig Schneider with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution [AJC]. I am writing a story on the controversy surrounding gun-related research, and I would greatly appreciate if you would give me a call.

Dr. Miguel Faria (Answers): Hi Craig, I received your questions and have arranged them in a question and answer format for convenience.

Reporter’s Question #1: People such as Mark Rosenberg say that the NRA has intimidated the CDC and other groups to the point where they do virtually no research on gun-related violence. What would you like to say about that characterization?

Dr. Faria's Answer: I think that characterization is absolutely wrong. I was one of several critics, among them Drs Timothy Wheeler and William Waters IV, and criminologist Don B. Kates, who testified before a Congressional Committee in Washington, DC, in 1996. We testified that much of the gun violence research was based on politicized, result-oriented research with preordained conclusions. In other words, it was mostly political junk science. Congress then passed legislation prohibiting taxpayer money from being used for "gun control" research and...