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Season 9 | Episode 2

Lost & Found

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You Are Here You Are Here (Quasimondo/flickr)

In this episode, we steer our way through a series of stories about getting lost, and ask how our brains, and our hearts, help us find our way back home. 

After hearing about a little girl who gets lost in front of her own house, Jad and Robert wonder how we find our way in the world. We meet a woman who has spent her entire life getting lost, and find out how our brains make maps of the world around us. We go to a military base in New Jersey to learn about some amazing feats of navigational wizardry, and are introduced to a group of people in Australia with impeccable orientation. Finally, we turn to a very different kind of lost and found: a love story about running into a terrifying, and unexpected, fork in the road.

Guests:

Lera Boroditsky, Emilie Gossiaux, Dr. Giuseppe Iaria, Karen Jacobsen, Jonah Lehrer and Charles Walcott

You Are Here

When Sharon Roseman was five years old, something strange happened. She was playing a game with her friends, and when she took off her blindfold--she didn't know where she was. She was lost on her own block, in her own backyard. For most of her life, Sharon feared it was ...

Comments [89]

Bird's-Eye View

Tim Howard heads to Fort Monmouth, New Jersey for the story of a WWII hero whose feats of navigation saved hundreds of lives. The hero? A pigeon named G.I. Joe. Museum Curator Mindy Rosewitz fills in the details. Professor Charles Walcott  helps Tim delve into the mysteries of ...

Comments [27]

Finding Emilie

In this segment, we take an emotional left turn to a story of a very different kind of lost and found. We begin with a college student, Alan Lundgard, who fell in love with a fellow art student, Emilie Gossiaux. Emilie's mom, Susan Gossiaux, describes her daughter, and the terrible ...

Comments [369]

Comments [180]

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Nov. 26 2013 06:57 AM
yazmin from seattle washington

I wanted to have sharon's email, I know of a possible cure!

Sep. 20 2013 01:10 PM
Alex S. from Washington, DC

Hi,

I just wanted to say to Sharon - your spinning thing is pretty interesting because when the Compass on your car gets funky you are supposed to drive in a circle until it resets...

Sep. 05 2013 04:39 PM
Lauren

I am wondering why the mother said she didn't like the look in Emily's eyes when she was with Alan. That wasn't resolved, and I assume she adores him now, so why didn't she like what she saw...curious...

Aug. 16 2013 08:16 PM
nick from Murika

I teared up at the end.

Jun. 25 2013 11:49 PM
Conrad

Listens to final story of episode.
Turns off podcast.
Trys not to cry.
Trys not to cry a lot.
Fails.

Apr. 10 2013 11:00 AM
Pavitra from Dallas

Heard only part of the show about Emilie while driving, but had to come home and listen to it online. What a relief to hear Emilie survived in more than one way and hope the best for her recovery.

Like most Radio Lab shows, they are both gripping and fascinating --- leaves one in awe and amazement of how little we know about who we are and the mysterious of life and what is beyond. Such shows inspire one to ask those questions and hopefully find the answers (some day when both science and spirituality meet).

Thank you!

Apr. 08 2013 01:38 AM
Colleen Ahern from State College, PA

Listened to the Finding Emilie segment in the car, and had to pull over because my eyes were filled with tears, and I was afraid I was going to cause an accident. So glad they found each other again. Thanks, Radiolab, for sharing this fantastic story.

Apr. 07 2013 08:39 PM
R from Iowa

Listening to Emily and Alan's story brought back a lot of memories. I, too, am an artist who, at one point, found that I could not create. Technically it was tendinitis, but whenever I say that people think, "Oh, she just had hand cramps and the occasional twinge." No. By tendinitis I mean two years where I couldn't drive, could hold a pencil, couldn't use a computer except through voice recognition software. THAT kind of tendinitis. It was rough not just because of the uncertainty and the physical pain, but also because it kind of took my identity from me. What is an artist if they cannot create art? I still felt the urge to create...but I just couldn't. That is, until I found an alternative outlet.

I started using the voice recognition software on my computer to dictate a book. A fantasy novel. I got maybe half way through before my hands started to improve. I never did finish it (someday I might), but the very act of making it was almost like meditation- it was a creative outlet and a mantra at the same time.

Anyway, I know it's quite a change from what artist's usually do, but maybe something similar could help Emily achieve some peace of mind and a way to exercise her creative nature.

Apr. 07 2013 05:53 PM
LBell from Iowa

I was on my way home today when I caught about 3 minutes of Emilie and Alan's story. Apparently it was the right 3 minutes because as soon as I got inside I went to my computer to see if the episode was online so I could hear it from the beginning. I've just finished listening to it and it's still reverberating inside of me. What an amazing story of love and perseverance. All my best to Emilie and Alan and their families.

Apr. 07 2013 05:28 PM
Horology from New Jersey

The most powerful segement I have ever heard on the RAdio. Thank you

Apr. 07 2013 11:30 AM

I listen at 7AM on Sunday mornings. "Finding Emilie" was the most amazing story. And YES, I felt like crying with happiness for Emilie, Alan and Emilie's parents when Alan discovered the key to unlocking the door to Emilie's darkness. How powerful is his love in not give up. And for Emilie to survive and burst through the door Alan opened. Amazing.

Apr. 07 2013 09:10 AM
Susan, Em's mom from New Orleans

I talked to both Emilie and Alan tonight. For some reason I sent both Em and Al the recent comments from the "Finding Emilie" section. Believe me, it touched Em and Al very strongly. Thank you. Obviously, I've known Em all of her life, yet she is an amazement to me constantly. How she faces everything and everyone with gracefulness and love just seems sometimes beyond human. The blind community has talked to me several times about how she inspires them. Many have asked for her to write a book so that others like themselves will learn from her example. I wish I could share so much more to let you know what they have learned from Em, but that is not for me to do but Emilie herself. To Jad and Robert and their team, thank you. To You who have emailed and talked to us via Em's website, "Thank you. You have helped with your love." Thornton Wilder was correct, "Love is the the bridge."

Apr. 07 2013 02:14 AM
Susan T from Berkeley

We all cried, but what the lesson of this amazing story is that it takes three elements to win such a battle:
love, persistence, and knowledge. Without the link to the Helen Keller story, it wouldn't have happened.
And why didn't the medical personnel make that link? Perhaps losing both hearing and sight is too rare
for that to be part of their training. I have listened over and over, it is a miracle.

Apr. 06 2013 06:37 PM

Go to the following website for more on Emily and how you can help or donate.

http://www.emiliegossiaux.com/

Apr. 06 2013 05:57 PM
Anita from Argyle WI

Go to the following website for more about Emily and how you can help or donate.

http://www.emiliegossiaux.com/

Apr. 06 2013 05:38 PM
Judy

I am looking for update on Emilie. I haven't found anything past 2011. Does anyone have informatiom?

Apr. 06 2013 04:41 PM
Sharon from Seattle, WA

Another Sharon with the DTD experience!! I've had this occasionally and only for short periods of time throughout much of my life (I'm now 66). I've never talked to anyone about it; I just mentioned it to my husband and he's surprised. I usually have an excellent sense of orientation and navigation, so when this happens, I find it very unsettling. I usually just pause and consciously remind myself which direction is which, and it passes.

Apr. 06 2013 04:32 PM
Laura Shemick from Harrisburg PA

The "completely lost" phenom sounds a lot like the French term "jamais vu," where a familiar situation looks entirely unfamiliar. This I have experienced many times, but usually I snap out of it within a few seconds. I can only imagine how frightening it would be if the condition continued indefinitely.

Apr. 06 2013 02:28 PM
Debbie Dempsey from Hollywood, FL

Just heard the story of Emily and Alan for the third time. Crying my eyes out, AGAIN. Simply beautiful. I wish them all the happiness in the world. Give us an update on them!!

Apr. 06 2013 01:02 PM
DT from NYC

Why is Jonah Lehrer, a discredited plagiarist, featured as an authority on Radio Lab? Aren't there other, trustworthy experts to invite? In fact, Lehrer was a self-declared "expert" rather than a bona fide one.

Apr. 06 2013 12:17 PM
Laura Bien from ypsilanti, mi

I had a thousand things to do this afternoon but was riveted to the kitchen (where the radio is) during the story of Emily and Alan. I was chilled to think she was so close to being put in a nursing home, but saved at the eleventh hour by someone whom she didn't even recognize at that point spelling words on her skin. The story made me cry. "Pull me out of the wall." Simply chilling. So moving. If I could give Radiolab (which I NEVER miss--there's a schedule of Radiolab broadcasts on two local public radio stations on my fridge) 50 additional MacArthur Genius Grants I would.

Apr. 05 2013 03:41 PM
duan from boston

The title of "boyfriend" never sounded nobler! I know Alan will, if not already, be a great artist.

Apr. 04 2013 11:14 PM
Caleb from NYC

I just began listening to your shows and this was by far the best one. Keep up the great work!

Aug. 03 2012 04:30 PM
Ford Burles from Calgary

For those more curious about DTD, here are some links to Giuseppe Iaria's lab website: neurolab.ca and to the website for DTD / online tests: gettinglost.ca

Jun. 19 2012 02:29 PM
Danielle from Vancouver

I've listened to this show three times. Twice, I reached the same moment with Emily on the same bus on the same route, and burst into tears in the same way. Today, it was in my kitchen. Each time, I'm instantly moved.

Thanks for the amazing work you do

Apr. 01 2012 02:18 PM
john from florida baby

Hey I heard the bit about the Australians... I once spent a winter in Verbier, Switzerland. It took a week to get a nice apartment sorted and it was quite an anxious time spend between snowboarding on the beautiful Swiss alps, hitting all the local bars, meeting people, looking for lodging and work and learning french all the while. Then one night at the bar a nice girl passed me a note and said something in Swiss German... it was an address where i could sleep. then she said, sweet dreams. that night i dreamed i was flying about the vast expanse of Swiss alps over the town and clearly recognizing north, south east and west directions. the dream was very calming.

Dec. 02 2011 10:41 AM
aeyrwind

Excellent episode, very thought-provoking.

Nov. 18 2011 08:10 PM

I heard this episode for the first time while driving. I reached my home, but I couldn't get out of the car. As usual, every story was amazing and profound, but Emilie and Alan's story was beyond all description. It has to be one of the most life-affirming things I've ever had the pleasure of experiencing. Thank you Radiolab for all your wonderful stories.

Nov. 01 2011 05:12 PM
Emma from Minneapolis, MN

Cried so much listening Emilie's story. It was so beautifully done. My heart felt sympathies go out to her family and her sweet boyfriend Alan.

Thank you guys as always for your great work. You make Radio matter!

Oct. 31 2011 04:07 PM
Jackson from CT

Radio Lab,

You guys are the undeniable best! I love learning and listening and learning. There's nothing like NPR anywhere and on NPR there is nothing like RadioLab!

Sep. 27 2011 06:33 PM
Holly from Atlanta, Ga

First of all, I LOVE radiolab, and just recently found their podcasts. I can't stop listening to them. I am so happy that you guys do what you do.

Secondly, I just listened to Lost & Found the other day as I was driving. I cannot say how much I bawled my eyes out while driving. It was ridiculous. I loved them. Thank you guys so much for the amazing stories and creative medium.

Sep. 26 2011 12:43 PM
Sid from Sweden

@Todd
Check "After Life". It's at around 22min in the entire episode.

Sep. 08 2011 05:14 AM
Todd

I'm trying to find the episode where a tennis player was in a coma and the sounds of a tennis match was played while watching the brain waves react like the person was playing.

Sep. 06 2011 06:04 PM
Nomenclature from Ballina, Australia

I teared up 3 times during Alan and Emilie's story. Beautiful. I've only just started listen to your podcast but im hooked. Thanks.

Aug. 18 2011 02:45 AM
ivories088 from NYC

When I worked at 2 WTC, 35 yrs ago, I used to walk home up Church St. One winter I headed for a grocery to buy an apple, but the deli across the street was on my way and the light just changed, so I went there instead. When I came out and started to walk, within a minute I was completely disoriented. Nothing looked familiar or right. Clearly, something had happened to the universe! I was a loner and terrified and couldn't ask anyone for help. All I could do was walk; I had never paid much attention to the names of the cross streets and the more I walked, the less familiar things were. Suddenly on my right was a huge empty area with a large round globe in the center. I was frozen with fear. Yet there was something familiar about it and all at once I recognized it as the WTC Plaza. Leaving the deli, I had walked south instead of north. I took a cab home!

Aug. 13 2011 03:16 PM
Stacey Freed

I just listened to Sharon's story and learned about DTD. What a great story.
I don't have that, but what about those of us who have very little sense of direction? I get lost all the time -- even to places I've been to many times. I recently parked my car and when I went back for it, I couldn't find it. I reported it stolen. After three weeks, I got it back. Of course it hadn't been stolen, I just couldn't find it.
Is this problem located in my hippocampus, too?

Jul. 29 2011 04:46 PM

I was listening to the Emilie story and it gave me goose bumps. Love is all there really is when you peel away the rest. Amazing story and the pigeons, too.
first time listener. I enjoyed the "turn left here" voice. Should be a regular thing.
Rachel V. Seal Rock, OR

Jul. 22 2011 03:54 PM
Justin from Seattle, WA

Just listened to this and found it interesting that people don't orient to the four directs regularly. This is something I have done from childhood. But this weird thing happened to me a couple of years of go...I moved to Hawaii and realized I had no link to the four directions. I was so stressed out and at a loss of where I was in the world that I started to lose it. Finally on the second night I couldn't take it any more and I sat on the beach trying to find constellations that I knew. After about 1/2 an hour of search I finally found the big dipper and thus also Polaris, the north star. The sudden wave of peace and serenity that filled me was staggering, just simply by finding out where north was!

Jul. 20 2011 01:49 PM
Amy Hazle from Louisville, Ky

I can completely relate with the Australian community with the location "dead reckoning". I have Dyslexia (and therefore frequently can not determine left/right) but almost always know what direction I am facing; even indoors or in a strange place. I'm not sure how to describe how I know this but I just do.

Jul. 18 2011 04:11 PM
Adam from Atlanta

Am I the only one still wondering why her mom said they'd think she was a witch?

Did the mom understand something or have the same problem?

Nobody came back to that comment.

Jul. 16 2011 04:13 PM
Dave R

At least nowadays, it should be common practice to double-check brain states as well as other physiological indicators when deciding to pronounce someone brain dead. But maybe Emilie was on the cusp and spontaneously reached some threshold of recovery? Remarkable story though. Reminds me in a way of my wife's car accident years back. Like her mother, she's always been a pretty strong person, but family and friends were a big help in her recovery.

Jul. 13 2011 03:40 AM
carol from portland from portland or

For the love of God and sanity, please let us know how Emillie and Alan and her folks are doing. Very moving, love really is the bridge, I wish I could remember that more often. Thank you all.

Jul. 09 2011 05:11 PM

Emily's story was indeed amazing. She certainly had a very supportive family too. Such situations, and deciding when to let go (and there are the cases in which recovery never occurs and people still refuse to accept loss), can be extremely tough. Kudos to everyone.

Jul. 09 2011 04:17 PM
Allie from PNW

I freaking LOVE Radio Lab! I can't believe it took me so long to discover it but I'm definitely hooked now! I don't understand why it isn't some hit sensation that everyone talks about! I'm definitely recommending it to any/all friends and family. Fascinating, deeply moving, perplexing, jaw-dropping -- yet another extraordinary show, guys! Keep up the good work!

Jul. 08 2011 04:01 PM
MJoy from Bellevue, WA

I am almost 60. I just assumed I was a disoriented woman - men have a better sense of direction, right. Well, things have gotten worse. I've been late picking up my kids, get lost leaving stores, and yet when I finally find something to orient myself, then I'm back on track. As one of the comments said, I was beginning to think Alzheimers is coming, especially since my Mom, Aunt and Grandma had it. Now I think it is this DTD. I echo all the others who cried, laughed, said OMG, etc. What an amazing feeling to feel like maybe you aren't "losing it." So where do we go from here. Isn't there anything that can make it better? I hate living with it. I think when I'm in a hurry it gets worse. Suggestions anyone?

Jun. 05 2011 01:37 AM
Dani from Brooklyn

You know, when Sharon said that she would go into bathroom stalls to "fix" her problem, it made me remember something I haven't thought of since high school. Sometimes, I would enter the boys' room and see a person standing inside a stall spinning around and around. This could go on for like 10 min, though I wouldn't stay and watch every time. I would ask the kid if he was ok, and he said he was fine. I observed this more than once but never saw the kid's face. I always wondered why he would do this. Maybe he had the same condition as Sharon? I haven't thought about this in 10 years.

May. 17 2011 02:39 PM
Marilyn Milhous

Comment on Sharon and her "spinning "
I once had the experience while walking, of being asked, by a man in a car, directions to the Post Office, which was very close by.
I gave him directions confidently, and as he drove away, I realized I had directed him down a one-way street the wrong way, suddenly the world started spinning, and when it stopped the post office was in the right place. I do sometimes get turned around when navigating in unfamiliar places, but this was such a visual and visceral experience. The only other time
I felt that kind of spinning was in a planetarium during a program demonstrating all the effects - there were speakers all around the room, the lecturer
made the sound go from one speaker to another faster and faster - I felt like I was spinning faster and faster, and got ill.

May. 17 2011 12:58 PM
Julie from Minneapolis

You guys always do such phenomenal work but the story about Emilie was excellent even by your standards. One of those well-produced, great segments Radiolab can always be relied upon for. A story on your show hasn't made me cry for some time. Thank you for bringing it to us.

May. 15 2011 10:38 PM
Tina B from San Jose

I am addicted to NPR News. Listen to everything
Then one day I found Radiolab. Great find. I usually listen to audiobooks at night but now Radiolab has captured my attention. I'm not only interested in the stories but your voices. The voice of the person telling the story is very important to me. If the story is good I can't get past the story tellers voice it's not worth it . You had me at hello. Thanks

May. 15 2011 09:57 AM
James from Boston

I love the way that Radio Lab tells the stories. Because it's not visual, they use sound effects,and unique voice-overs to make the story-telling as full as possible. It's an innovation, the best radio "show" with episodes since War of the Worlds. Thank you for sharing these amazing stories with us in such an amazing way, that does the stories justice!

May. 05 2011 09:31 PM
Louise Anderson from Massachusetts

I also stumbled onto Radio Lab and was immediately pulled in to its captivating style of storytelling. I had yet another driveway moment with Emilie and Alan. Thank you for providing us with wonderful radio; NPR is the only radio I listen to and programs like this confirm why.
One note about Lost and Found - pilots often have some of this quirky situational awareness described in the Australia language example. I think it's a result of our training, though I think I may have grown up with a little of it. "Paying attention" is a wonderful description of exactly how the skill is honed.

Apr. 24 2011 10:42 AM

This was my first radiolab story and found it wonderful. Real quality, moving, inspiring, educational... I am now a dedicated fan!

Apr. 23 2011 04:03 PM
David Airey

Robert, Jad - you guys totally rock! You share amazing stories so creatively and with such sensistivity and humor. This was a classic episode - tremendously enjoyable and touching. Thank you so much! Radio Lab is the very best of radio anywhere!

Apr. 14 2011 12:08 AM
JOY

Who/where are the group of people in Australia with impeccable orientation. Cannot find anything about them.

Apr. 10 2011 04:39 PM
Tom from Columbus, OH

The story of Emilie & Alan is probably the best love story I have ever heard. It mesmerized me. I started listening to it while driving back from the grocery store and pulled into me driveway just when Alan told us that Emilie had been in the accident. I couldn't get out of my car because I couldn't stop listening, even for the two minutes it would take me to get into my house. I sat there listening, through the entire rest of the story.

The tenacity and strength displayed by both Emilie and Alan is incredible, and words can't begin to describe how much I admire them both. NPR thank you for a brilliantly inspirational story, and GOP, if you hear about this story, THIS is an example of why we need public funding for NPR!

Alan & Emilie, if you read this, know that 100's of thousands of people are supporting you vicariously and wishing you a long, long live of love and happiness together. You are two shining stars in my book. Keep getting stronger Emilie. I can't WAIT to see the works of art you produce! I'll be following your story.

Apr. 09 2011 08:10 PM

An incredible story! Thank you for sharing it; hopefully people will be generous and give her financial support.

I heard the Radiolab stories during my lunch break & it was so difficult to turn off the radio & go back to work!

I can't believe that WNYC goes to Norway!
wow.

Michele from Long Island, New York

Apr. 05 2011 04:37 PM
Ida from Norway

Amazing! The whole show, but the story of Emily and Alan brought me to tears.. Thank you for bringing hope and telling such a beautifull story.

Apr. 05 2011 05:00 AM
CHRISTIAN FROM COMPTON from Compton

This is so gangster. i love pigeons. i cant get over how gangster this is. it is crazy. i love this radio show!!!

Apr. 04 2011 12:27 PM
Lisa from Chicago

You can help Emilie by going to her website and donating there, or to her Etsy store where proceeds from artwork go to her recovery:

http://www.emiliegossiaux.com/

Apr. 03 2011 05:32 PM
Ryan Hilperts from Victoria, BC

I have 20 years of devoted listening to NPR shows. This show, this episode, tops them all. You are miraculous. THANK YOU.

Apr. 03 2011 05:08 PM
Christina

Love me some RadioLab but this was was one of my favorites ever!! Ever segment so strong. I just want to listen to it over and over!

Mar. 31 2011 08:21 AM
Fred from SC

Amazing. I am an anesthetist and I have to wonder how many patients whom are seemingly confused or combative are actually in situation similar to Emilie's. Pulling Emilie out of the wall hit me like a brick.

Mar. 25 2011 12:09 AM
Rachel from Brooklyn, NY

Emilie Gossiaux's story hit close to home. In Aug '07, three months after I met my boyfriend, I received a phone call from a complete stranger, informing me that K was in a hospital with broken ribs and a collapsed lung after a serious biking accident. Barely into our relationship, I found him in the ER with a gaggle of doctors and nurses tending him, tubes draining blood from his chest. Assuming I was his wife, one nurse said, "I thought he was a goner." K didn't suffer nearly the extensive trauma that Emilie sadly did, but her story reminded me of how transformative a crisis can be, and of what it feels like, and what becomes possible, when love kicks in - full speed ahead - powered almost by instinct alone. Like another commenter here, after listening to this episode, I pulled K close and told him how much I love him. That's a gift Emilie, Alan, and her family (and Radio Lab) gave us on an otherwise ordinary Sunday night in a little apartment in Brooklyn.

Mar. 21 2011 10:15 AM
Pammu from Manila, Philippines

Allen can be easily credited as the hero here, but then again Emilie was born to have enough tenacity as it is. Thank you for doing this story. It reminded me of my own love story and affirmed my own notions of hope, devotion, faithfulness and love.

Mar. 19 2011 02:45 PM
Chris Baswell

I listened to the final episode by accident. I'm not a weeper, honest, but this story left me sobbing -- no, leaves me sobbing. Emilie must be a miraculous creature, to reach out from such isolation and terror with that initial expression of love. Gives one hope.

Mar. 18 2011 04:21 PM

Really enjoyed this episode. (Finally heard it!) I am sometimes put off by the sound editing you guys do - too many quick-cuts from one speaker to another for my old ear - but these stories were so compelling that they flowed beautifully. Thank you.

Mar. 13 2011 07:16 AM
Milly from Melbourne

I like it how the brain has an Australian accent.

Mar. 09 2011 06:36 PM
Lisa from Chicago

Buy or sell art at the Help Emilie storeon Etsy, started by Emilie's friend to raise money for her recovery. Spread the word and the good karma:

http://www.etsy.com/shop/helpemilie

Emilie's own art can be seen here:
http://www.emiliegossiaux.com/

Mar. 09 2011 11:07 AM
Shailesh Phansalkar from 94041

Excellent Episode. I agree with one of the comments above that there probably should be some warning about the last story. I usually download the podcasts and listen to them when I am driving long distance. I was so excited when I started to drive down to Santa Barbara from San Francisco Bay Area and listened to this episode while on Hwy 101 South. As soon as the last part ended I cried like a baby for 15 minutes. It was beautiful and draining!

Mar. 07 2011 06:48 PM

All segments excellent. Last one a keeper for a long, long time.

Mar. 05 2011 03:04 PM
harron68 from Illinois

The Emilie story, coming on the heels of cool scientific tales was a real shock. It was astounding and you should warn listeners ahead it'll be a heart render. Thanks for a beautifully told and edited story. You do superior work, thanks!

Mar. 05 2011 02:02 PM

The story about Emilie made me tear up- it was edited beautifully. I'd be happy to find half the love they have! Great work, Radiolab. Please come out with new episodes! I've listened to and loved every single one thus far and can't wait to hear/learn more.

Mar. 03 2011 05:49 PM
Amy

Great show! I recently spoke with a student of Dr. Iaria's, who described DTD to me. I wonder now how many degrees there are of this thing. Although not as severe (not even close) to what Sharon described in her story, I too always feel turned around when navigating, even in places I know, to the point where friends will think I'm making it up. For example, I "lose" where I've been, almost immediately after arriving at a destination. Hmm.

Feb. 24 2011 11:05 AM
Daniel Kowal from Copenhagen

Just heard it at the office... started crying in the middle of the emilie story, and had too call my girlfreind and tell her i love her.. strong stuff..

thanks for a great show guys..

Feb. 24 2011 08:13 AM
toxicsumo

i feel so lost in this website
cause i can't freaking sign in too my account and then i reset then i try again and over and over again then i was pissed

Feb. 24 2011 06:01 AM
Georgia from Sydney, Australia

That story about Emilie was incredible. Spent the last few minutes wiping away the tears. Keep it up guys!

Feb. 23 2011 08:23 AM
~Dan from Bay Area, Ca (bring a live show here)

Does anyone know the name of the clarinet and tuba song at the end of the first act of this episode? It's very catchy and I'd love to listen to the rest of it. Jad and Robert, is there anywhere on the website where you credit the music used in your episodes?? I frequently find myself desperately trying to find the songs you use in episodes. You use such beautiful music!

Feb. 23 2011 03:15 AM
Chris Greene from Williamstown, Australia

Why can writing something be so much harder than feeling it? You guys caught me out today, I was overcome with tears. Keep up the great work.

Feb. 21 2011 06:42 PM
Nick G from Kansas City

The story about Emily was the most riveting piece of radio I have heard in a long time. You guys better win some awards for that. Holy cow. Keep up the good work.

Feb. 21 2011 10:51 AM
Leila

I had the strangest moment while listening to this episode... It's a Sunday afternoon and I decide to lie in bed an listen to the Radio, I'm drifting in and out of sleep and then I hear the name of a high school classmate of mine - Emilie Gossiaux. I had known about her accident, but it was so startling to be in this half asleep state, listening to a show that I always listen to, and suddenly realize that the story is about someone you know.

Feb. 20 2011 05:08 PM
Aphrodite from Los Angeles

Radio Lab gives life substance. It gives everything meaning and refreshes my outlook on life

Feb. 19 2011 09:00 PM
Gayathri Kumaran from Bloomington ID

This is the second show I've ever listened to. It was so mentally draining, I need a few weeks to recover. I would like to learn more about bird navigation.

The first show I ever listened to was Words, Season 8, Episode 2; that had my brain in a creative tailspin - it took me about 10 pages of writing over 3 days to get it all out.

That show inspired me to think of creative ways to improve the literacy of adults who would otherwise be considered illiterate.

Now I'm so drained, I cannot write another word of congratulations.

Feb. 19 2011 10:17 AM
Chas from fingerlakes region NY

Wonderful show. It teared me up but gave me a hopeful feeling at the same time.
To answer Prof. Taints' question on swelling/weight gain: There were fluids added to the patient by hospital personnel.

Feb. 16 2011 06:46 PM
Azzri Fickri from Malaysia

One of the best shows! Keep up the good work!

Feb. 16 2011 12:40 PM
Brandie Butcher-Isley from Des Moines, IA

I am an artist and an avid listener. I am very inspired consistently by your episodes and they will often times influence my work. But never before have I created a piece where the sole inspiration came from one excerpt. "Finding Emily" was the focus of my latest piece. I hope I did it justice.

I so hope Allen can help Emily find away to create art again.

Thank you,
Keep creating,
Brandie

Feb. 16 2011 12:07 AM
adriana from northern california

as usual, a fantastic episode....thank you so much.

Feb. 15 2011 02:48 PM
Corey from San Diego

Wow the story of Emily is amazing. Floored me completely. Thank you.

Feb. 14 2011 07:14 PM
Jacob from Oregon

Does anyone happen to know the song between stories 1&2? It featured a hawaiian-style pedal steel sound, but much sparser. Would love to hear more if I can be pointed to the artist. Thanks!

Feb. 13 2011 08:02 PM
sebastiaan from Brooklyn

Did you ever hear about the methods used to navigate by the Polynesian ocean voyagers pre- Cook?
Water, waves, stars- no instruments, and being able to hit the island they aimed for pretty good, hundreds of miles away.

Feb. 12 2011 09:04 PM
Caroline from SC

I am a teacher of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing. I listen to Radiolab on my two hour commute and have often been amazed by the creativity and quality of your stories. This one moved me to tears. Thank you for what you do.

Feb. 12 2011 08:39 AM
Alexis from Davis CA

Fabulous show! I wish you were coming to SF for your live show. Keep up the good work.

Feb. 11 2011 09:48 PM
Meredith from Texas

Wonderful episode, as always. I have a loved one in ICU with head trauma right now, and it's good to hear stories that end well. When I heard where the story was headed, I was tempted to turn it off just to save myself the emotional energy. I'm glad I didn't.

Feb. 11 2011 09:36 PM
mark

Fantastic show. Emily and Alans' story was one of the best i've heard...
Thanks for bringing it to us. Prayers for Emily's recovery and strength for Alan to continue his support.

Feb. 11 2011 03:39 PM
sean from ca

Great Program!

Feb. 10 2011 03:32 PM
Janey from San Francisco, CA

I'm usually quite hard-hearted but I started crying in the grocery store last night while listening to Emilie & Alan's story. Thank you, Radiolab.

Feb. 10 2011 02:50 PM
jmh from boston

The voices are much softer than the sound effects, which is difficult to listen to. How do I fix that?

Feb. 10 2011 11:05 AM
Martha from St. Paul, MN

@Glenn Smith, thanks for your perspective, that's fascinating! A question: I'm not sure I really understand the mechanics of the 90-degree switch thing. So, if you're driving on a straight road and purposely switch your perception 90-degrees, does it look to you like you're driving off the road? Are you looking out the side window? Does the road stay in the same place but the trees and things change? Does everything switch? Or just the background/foreground? What happens when you look down at your body when your vision's switched 90 degrees?

Feb. 10 2011 02:28 AM
Jezra Thompson from Washington DC

Thank you for this story. I'm enamored by Allen and Emilie and will donate to help her get well as much as I can. A follow up story would be so excellent.

Feb. 09 2011 10:59 PM
Trey from Denton, TX

Thank you Radiolab - this was one of the most amazing shows yet. I love your in-depth studies of the things we just never quite think about but are so complex!

Feb. 09 2011 02:00 PM
Trevor from Minneapolis

I've been listening on and off to this program for a few months, and now realize this should for sure be in my subscription list. I work construction for a living and found the first 2 segments very interesting, and then was ready for the "lighter twist" I think Jad said. 20 minutes later I'm trying to avoid the guys I work with as I'm too busy wiping the tears from my eyes. It was an incredibly moving, and touching story, something that grabbed me. Thank you so much for what you do, great great program. I will soon be going to Emilie's site and donating.

Feb. 08 2011 04:57 PM
SK from Downingtown, PA

This is the best episode of Radiolab I have ever heard. I didn't want it to end. Amazing. Captivating. Astonishing.

Feb. 08 2011 11:57 AM
JT from SLC, Utah

Thank you for such a great podcast! I cried tears of joy and pain, learned a lot, and thoroughly enjoyed it overall. It has been a while since I have listened to something that has really moved me so much. I just connected so easily, it was so amazing...I am still astonished. I will be ranting about this to all my friends! :)

Feb. 08 2011 01:45 AM
Kevin from LA, CA

First time listener to radiolab here. That cast was amazing... inspiring, heartfelt, and intellectually stimulating.
BTW, does anyone happen to know the classical piano piece that begins at around 55:27, just as Emilie speaks her name?

Feb. 08 2011 01:34 AM
Martha

I read through the comments and have to agree that I would like to read an interview with the medical professionals involved.
I have worked in Surgical ICU's for 13+ yrs, taking care of many many patients with these exact injuries. Brain death IS NOT determined by pupil reactions alone. There are many many tests involved in the determination. A simple EEG would have shown that she was not brain dead.
I find the idea of a bedside RN approaching the family about organ donation pretty horrifying. In my area only specially trained staff that work for the organ donation network are allowed to approach.
I really hope there were just gaps in the story from time limitations and editing. A tracheotomy is not just "taken out". The first step is the placement of a fenestrated (has holes in it that allow air to reach the vocal cords) trach tube that allows for speech.
That said......the idea that if the family had given up she may have ended up an organ donor gives me chills. I wish I could say I have never seen the organ bank folks swirling like vultures. Or staff sitting in judgment when a family is not ready to let go.

And.....the swelling. As part of her resuscitation she would have received liters and liters of fluid and blood. For a severe trauma it is not uncommon to give 10+ liters of fluid and 10+ units (about 300ml) if blood. When you body goes into shock your capillaries get "leaky" and a lot of that fluid goes into the interstitial spaces (between cells). The swelling and edema can be unbelievable.

Martha

Feb. 05 2011 09:20 PM
tokyoterri from Tokyo, Japan

fantastic show - thank you again.

Feb. 05 2011 07:01 PM
Doug from Philadelphia (prev. NYC)

The last story in particular (well, mainly) but a little for the others as well, is why I'm so much more interested in studying neuropsychology specifically as it relates to traumatic brain injury rehab (what I did for 2+ years before going back to get my doctorate in psych) than other areas of psychology.

Studies have shown, and has pure non-scientific personal experience, that strong determined family involvement has a big impact on recovery outcomes for patients, no matter their age or injury. It is support at both the emotional and the physical ends (and, sadly, the economic) that helps lend a supportive "hand" to the will of the patient to gain back anything that was lost (to varying amounts).

As to Prof's T. question, the swelling comes from retention of liquid in the body (usu. water). Rather than coursing through the system and being expelled in sweat/urine/feces, the body holds onto the water. I am not knowledgeable at this point to be specific as to why, though.

Feb. 05 2011 11:30 AM
Bree from Seattle, WA

I loved this episode. I found the pigeon section fascinating. I guess I'd heard of homing pigeons before, but more than anything, I'd just heard of them as disease-ridden. Thanks for this amazing story.

Feb. 04 2011 11:13 PM
SharonB from Corrales, NM

Thanks, guys, for a fantastic episode. What a great combination of the best of the best: befuddling, amazing science; crazy mysterious orienteering; fabulousness of language - does language revise reality?; and of course the strength of love and will that if not conquering all, conquers walls.

Feb. 04 2011 02:01 AM
William from Kansas

This is a great episode if for the final segment alone, but I couldn't help being irritated by how the interstitial music sequences - a time I find welcome for decompression between acts - have been overdubbed with sponsorship announcements. I'm guessing this is how it's aired on the radio, and I don't object to laying a bit of advertising onto the listeners if it helps Radiolab in the funds department - but it seemed intrusive. I'm sure I'll adapt, but this seems like the time to say something.

Feb. 03 2011 07:36 PM
Malachi from Adirondack Mountains

Lost and Found? Are land Surveyors then natural mutants of direction and spacial reasoning or just very attentive? I was trained as a survey tech, I ran the instruments in the field and drafted in the office. To do our job really well we need a hyper-sensitivity to the landscape and the ability to see, weight, record and project three dimensional spacial data into the world. As well as identify monuments left from previous occupations and surveys and understand how natural events change the landscape too.

Feb. 03 2011 11:30 AM
Graham from Ireland

Hi there

Just recently discovered the show. What a
great mix of science fact and pure emotion.
Thanks

Feb. 03 2011 02:57 AM
Manny from Los Angeles

You guys are JERKS. I drive for a living, I cannot safely drive down the street with my eyes full of tears. The story of Emily & Alan tore my heart out.

THANKS

Feb. 02 2011 05:28 PM
Lily from Brooklyn, NY

I went to Cooper with Emily. She has always made really stunning and thoughtful paintings and objects. You can donate to her recovery on her website here: http://www.emiliegossiaux.com/

Feb. 02 2011 12:13 PM
Henry Hocking from Holland

Great episode as usual!

Like Sharon I can perceive the world with 90 deg flips and like Glenn I can 'control' my cardinal points. I became aware of this after I got a concussion and had lost sense of direction but retained a memory of the 'confused' orientation of my surroundings after awakening from the fall. I learnt to visualise the map of the world with four different orientations but my geography works best only in one of them.

Imagine placing the map of the world on the floor in front of you aligning the map's north with the real north. Now rotate the map clockwise 90 deg (so that north on the world map is now pointing east). With a little abstraction and 'new eyes' look at the world map and imagine seeing it for the first time. The 'new' north on the map has an old 'east' feel. The shape of countries and their positions with respect to each other should feel new and unfamiliar. Conversely if you keep your old reference frame of the map your perception of your surroundings can change. It is kind of like tricking your mind in imagining that the east you are facing is in fact a 'new' north as on the map. It takes a little getting used to at first. I find it works best indoors or at night as the sun's position and shadows are too much of a reference point that you subconsciously cling on to.

Feb. 01 2011 11:55 AM
fiona tetsworth from Brisbane, Australia

My brother put me onto this program and now I am an addict! This show is perfection. Thank you for inspiring and educating me and making me laugh.

Feb. 01 2011 01:57 AM
glenn smith from santa cruz, CA

wow, so maybe that's what i have - DTD? like sharon, my perception of the world can spin 90 degrees, however, it is much more "controllable" in my case. sometimes (especially on winding roads with lots of turns) i can arrive at a place i've been, but it's 90 (or 180) degrees off. however, i always am able to flip it back with a little concentration. and i can consciously decide to do the 90 degree flip anywhere at any time. however, if it's a place i know well, it will almost instantly flip back to the way i am familiar with. i sometimes have used it while driving long, boring stretches of road - i try a few different 90 degree flips to see which direction i like better. or arriving in a new place to see what direction feels best. even though nothing changes (except my perception) different directions just have a different "feel" - some can feel foreboding, some hopeful, some gloomy, some exciting. so it appears i have a related, but different, form of DTD.

Jan. 31 2011 06:12 PM

Hi Daniel,
That song at the end of the pigeons story is “Zarambeque Criollo,” by Chatham Baroque, from an album called The Eternal Harp.
Thanks,
Tim

Jan. 31 2011 10:59 AM
miraculo from minneapolis

my brother just woke up from a terrible accident as well.
if nothing else to look forward to in future moments, cognition.

Jan. 31 2011 01:26 AM
Renee M Rico from San Rafael, CA

Great episode as usual. As a pastor, the description of how staff respond to someone with a stroke or brain injury sounded all too common.

One quibble: How can you talk about the aboriginal sense of direction from above and not mention the 19th century book Flatland: A Romance of Many Directions by Edwin Abbott Abbott - I heartily recommend it to anyone intrigued by the notions of dimensions and direction. Wikipedia has a great entry here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flatland

Jan. 30 2011 08:46 PM
Renee M Rico from San Rafael, CA

Great episode as usual. As a pastor, the description of how staff respond to someone with a stroke or brain injury sounded all too common.

One quibble: How can you talk about the aboriginal sense of direction from above and not mention the 19th century book Flatland: A Romance of Many Directions by Edwin Abbott Abbott - I heartily recommend it to anyone intrigued by the notions of dimensions and direction. Wikipedia has a great entry here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flatland

Jan. 30 2011 08:45 PM
CW Cage from Texas

Awesome program. Sharon's story was simply incredible. Emilie's story was heart-wrenching. Keep up the great work.

Jan. 30 2011 06:54 PM
Sadie Struss

They do sell "big ass sit and spins"! They make them for children/adults with Autism that need spinning for sensory reasons. There are lots of types. But here is one example:
http://www.nlconcepts.com/products/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=134&products_id=371&zenid=eb132a398e1e73e335b4e8ad4ce83a4e

Jan. 30 2011 02:50 PM
Daniel

Another music question: the ambient track at the end of the bird segment?

Jan. 30 2011 02:47 PM
Jon from Seattle

Wow. What an amazing program, this week. The story of Emilie brought me to tears.

If you guys can afford to, please donate to help this poor girl get even some of her life back.

Thanks for the amazing stories Radiolab.

Jan. 30 2011 05:28 AM
Trista from Olympia, WA

I just applied to join the Etsy team Emilie's mother Susan started. I also wrote about it in my blog.
http://wigglinwasabi.blogspot.com/2011/01/emilie-gossiaux.html

Take the time to go to Susan's website, and the etsy team site.

This was such an inspiring and touching story!

Cheers!

Jan. 30 2011 01:13 AM
HeartStone

you B******s,
I am still crying. Whatever this is, it trancends love as it has been defined up until now.
Amazing.

Jan. 29 2011 11:04 PM

Damn it, Abumrad.

You've got to give more warning then a cryptic "Now for an emotional left turn." or whatever you said like that before the Emily story.

I've been a big fan of your primarily left-brain offerings (offered up with a right brain sensibility, I admit) and of the whole show, actually, since the beginning of the podcast. It's one of the few I don't listen to at double speed on my iPhone in order to appreciate the production as well as the content.

I usually listen during my commute, but fortunately, I heard this one still in bed on a lazy Saturday morning. And it's a good thing I did, because the Emily story turned me into a blubbering mass of tears soaking my pillow. I hesitate to think what would have happened at 70mph on the interstate.

Great show.

Jan. 29 2011 10:30 PM
Prof. Taint from NYC

RadioLab is the ish, another engrossing episode, but will someone please clarify for me one thing I cannot wrap my brain around - how is it possible to gain weight from swelling? Emilie's mom said she gained 28 lbs from swelling. I cant wrap my brain around it, I know blood rushes to the sight of an injury and tissue becomes inflamed, so I understand the change in density...but how would that effect a 28 lb weight increase...?????????

also, why didn't the mom like the way Emilie looked at her boyfriend, that part never had a follow up question, seems like a total stand-up, truly in love kinda guy.

Anyway - swelling causing weight increase...help me make sense of that.

cool.

thanks.

Jan. 29 2011 08:58 PM
gberke from kingston, ny

Gee, nice work. It's a great place to find out stuff I don't know I don't know and that after I do know, I'm happier.
The pigeons: when you brought up the notion of the strongly monogamous, it occurred to me to ask why does the pigeon want to get back... sex related.
Monogamy was related to some chemicals, identified in voles and other animals.
From there there are questions: are some birds better than others? How are they different from pigeons that are not monogamous? What is the nature of the route by which they return?
I suggest that there is a recognizable trait that allows pigeons to include location sensing as part of their pair selection.
First, why. After than, how it is done will follow.

Jan. 29 2011 12:17 PM
Helena from Melbourne, Australia

Fantastic show... and not just for the Aussie connections! GPS girl is an Aussie - I thought she was just on GPS machines in Australia!

But there's more. The bird's eye view of the world of 'country' is not restricted to the Pormpuraaw. It's quite common within Aboriginal Australia, particularly in forms of traditional art. There are a few styles of Aboriginal Art which are essentially bird's eye landscapes of 'country' and 'dreaming', which is a traditional story narrative.

This form of art passes down knowledge and law from one generation to the next and can help people navigate between camps, hunting and gathering grounds and, very importantly in desert regions, waterholes and soaks. It's really quite amazing.

For a US connection, there is a tribe of indigenous Americans that navigates in relation to a mountain range i.e. closer to or further away from the mountain.

The links between language and how we think about the world are truly amazing.

Love your work!

Jan. 29 2011 02:00 AM
Mighty from Los Angeles

I, like everyone else, LOVED this episode and was very moved by Emilie's story, although I think a point that may be going unnoticed is the fact that in both stories, Sharon's and Emilie's, the doctors f-up or are very close to doing so, and if it wasn't for the drive to keep looking and love in people, well, who knows what would have happened.

Sharon was told "it was psychological" and that was the end of the story.
Emilie was not given the attention she deserved by the medical team.

If it wasn't for her mother and boyfriend talking to her and making an effort to communicate the doctors would have done nothing.
I mean, how can it be that with all the years in medical school and the amount of money they are getting paid - not to mention the authority the hold - the doctors did not attempt to communicate with her through 'helen keller's method' or even suggest it to the family? Something!

It's like they just follow steps. Take a look at patient - Give pills - Hope it gets better - Move to next patient - Give more pills.

And this is not the first radiolab show in which contemporary medicine's approach seems to be going in the wrong direction.

I think maybe this could be a topic for an episode in the future?

Jan. 28 2011 10:02 PM
Kelley Coloradical from North Dakota

That last story made me totally cry, that is the saddest, most romantic story I think that I've ever heard. Maybe they should sell it to Ron Howard

Jan. 28 2011 09:36 PM
Laura from Washington DC

why isn't there a Radiolab episode like this one (and all the other ones) for every single day? That would me me so happy. Please, Jad and Robert and everyone else, get on that!

Jan. 28 2011 08:38 PM
dannyb

If there was a time capsule to prove our humanity, I would include this show.

Thank you radio lab

Jan. 28 2011 08:11 PM
Linda from Finland

To answer Jake's question concerning the lap steel music before the bird's eye view segment:
it's the intro for k.d. lang's cover of Albert Hammond's 'The Air That I Breathe' .

Jan. 28 2011 05:46 PM
Kevin Mastman from Los Angeles

I was just listening to this episode at work and now I'm sitting at my desk crying because of Emily's story.

Incredible.

Jan. 28 2011 03:57 PM
ellen from dc

Whoa Radiolab... someone just sent me this:

http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2011/01/quantum-birds/

Seems like there are exciting new theories about bird navigation!

Jan. 28 2011 11:29 AM
The Dude

Sorry... I Was wrong about this one. My fault. :(

Jan. 28 2011 04:26 AM
The Dude

I LOVE Radiolab.... But the extremes are getting old. Just a sincere fleeting thought... But JEEZE... I would rather learn, than hearing the extreme examples of random peoples' experiences. Once again... I do/used to love Radiolab.... But, c'mon... be please, try to relate to the rest of us.....
Again.. I do like Radiolab.. :)

Jan. 28 2011 03:32 AM
jessica geez from olympia!

this episode made me cry. what it is.

Jan. 28 2011 02:30 AM
Brandon from Los Angeles, CA

Love the show, love the podcast.

This episode really went above and beyond. It touched me so deeply. Thank you, Radio Lab, for the work you do.

Keep it up!

Jan. 28 2011 02:08 AM

Of all my subscriptions, RadioLab is my favourite, but this episode about Emilie, Alan and Emilie's mum has torn my heart. I know it is a story of triumph over adversity, but it's only the beginning of their difficulties. I hope everyone possible can find ways to help finance her recovery.

Jan. 28 2011 01:43 AM
GREG JACKSON from Knee-Brask-Uhh

Love is great. Crying is good.
Reading the comments while listening to the first two segments, I was well prepared for last segment. Yes, I cried too. A good cry that arises from the happy side of seems to refresh the soul. I would say it was carthartic, butI don't know to spell it. Possibly because I've been called "pigeoned-braind" for so many years (ADHD) perhaps I've begun to believe it's true. However, I can always find my way home.

Jan. 27 2011 10:09 PM
Jeffry Crews from Unalaska, AK

Jad, Robert and the Radiolab crew...
Thank you so much for the work you do. This episode, Lost and Found was one of the most amazing set of stories I have ever heard. Each one was poignent but it was hard to fight back tears during Emilie's story. Though I have to say Sharon and Gi Joe were also fascinating.

Id also like to thank you for making the show downloadable via podcast. Im in the US Coast Guard stationed in Unalaska and without the podcast I'd never get to hear your show. Please dont stop any time soon.

Sincerely Jeff Crews

Jan. 27 2011 09:25 PM
Camille

Big Ass Sit and Spin:
http://www.affordabletherapysolutions.com/vestibularboard.aspx

Jan. 27 2011 09:14 PM
Howard from London

Great episode - last story was inspiring

Jan. 27 2011 06:18 PM
Lisa

I followed your link to Emily's site and found her Etsy store where she is selling other artist's work by donation to raise money for rehab.

I am an artist and I'm working right now to create something to donate, and I'm asking all the artists I work with and am friends with to join.

I'm happy to find a way that I can help Emily after hearing her story. I hope others will help, too.

Emily's site:

http://www.emiliegossiaux.com/

Jan. 27 2011 05:26 PM
Greg Rucka from Portland, OR

RadioLab is always a delight for me, and always something I look forward to listening to. But in a long line of superb and truly moving broadcasts, "Lost & Found" was breathtaking. I'm still fighting back tears. Thank you to everyone involved. I am in your debt for what you bring into my life.

Jan. 27 2011 05:15 PM
Derek Gildea from Washington, DC

This episode was wonderful. I suppose by now I should come to expect this level of quality from radiolab, but I was absolutely floored by the conclusion of the final story. At the reveal I went from calmly playing a game of angry birds to choking back tears. Thanks to the show's creators for this remarkable program.

Jan. 27 2011 04:56 PM
Althea from Dallas, Texas

I've loved and been amazed by Radiolab forever, but today with Emilie's story I'm stunned. It's not often you just listen with your mouth hanging open and having to remember to breathe. You have outdone yourselves. Thank you so much for your brilliant show.

Jan. 27 2011 03:15 PM
Courtney V. from St. Louis, MO

I'm currently sitting at my desk at work, auditing spreadsheets and trying to keep from completely breaking down! Emilie and Alan's story is amazing. I think one of the most heartwrenching things I've ever heard is when Emilie's mom was describing how she asked Alan to pull her out of the wall. If that story would have ended any differently, I would have lost it. Truely amazing episode! Keep up the fantastic work!

Jan. 27 2011 02:19 PM
Tom from Berlin

While I heartily concur with the high praise for this episode (Dan Harlow from Colorado's comments were especially delightful) -- I seriously hope you will comment or find medical professionals to comment, in some sort of follow-up, on how Ms. Gossiaux's story could have unfolded as it did in 2010. How is it with all of our brain-imaging capacities and other medical knowledge and technologies that we could be recommending organ donation to a family and then long-term non-rehabilitative care, in a case like this?

On the one hand, it's one of the most beautiful stories I've heard in a long time -- and beautifully told (cheers all around, for that - it was so perfectly edited, in addition to the brutal loving honesty from all those involved in such an extreme circumstance), but there is a part of me that remains shocked and confused at the need for an untrained loved-one to sit with the patient 'round the clock and desperately try last minute measures gleaned from the Web.

Maybe that's just the way life works sometimes, but I hope someone who works in a hospital setting with experience in such cases can comment here.

Regardless it is truly and awesome and humbling story, exquisitely told.

Here's wishing the absolute best for Emilie and Alan and Susan. Thank you for sharing your story.

Jan. 27 2011 02:12 PM
david from Maine

This was one of the best shows you have done! Other shows have been very interesting but this one was superb.

Emilie and Alan are awe inspiring. Their story combined a tragic accident, true love, and dedication in a way that melted my heart and touched me in a way I can’t put into words. Thank you for sharing that amazing story! I wish the best for both of them.

David

Jan. 27 2011 02:10 PM
AlexL from Oakland, CA

Every segment of this episode was great. There's no doubt that Emilie's story is amazing and emotionally captivating (not to mention incredibly recent), but let's not forget that every story this week was fascinating and stood on its own two feet. I especially like how you had Jonah Lehrer interrupt Sharon's story midway to provide some hypothetical insight. I think it's a great illustration of the scientific method when you realized the "This is what we already know..." moment before progressing forward into the investigation. I should finally read one of Lehrer's books.

Jan. 27 2011 02:08 PM
Sam from Cambridge, MA

Just a quick note from a neuroscientist studying the hippocampus: grid cells and border cells are not in the hippocampus. Otherwise interesting episode.

Jan. 27 2011 01:14 PM
Tobin Rangdrol from Arcata, CA

I have had the same experience as Sharon Roseman my whole life. When I was a child, I remember arguing with my dad that it was impossible to determine which side of the road to drive on without getting in a collision, because the "sides are always changing." In high school, one of my nicknames as "Oblivious Boy." In my 30's, I began to recognize that there was a distinct pattern to my being lost, and I developed a way to separate out the false information that one part of my brain gives me, and go with the accurate, rational part. When I do this, it always feels like I'm going in the wrong direction, and despite my best efforts, often I still am. I call it a "flip-flop." It feels as if the earth spins on many axis, and I stay still. I cannot drive in cities without getting lost, and even when I use GPS, I argue with it and ignore it. My mom has the same condition, so when we get together on a drive in an unfamiliar place, it always leads to disaster. Luckily, at this point, we think it is hilarious. Now, I live in the very small town I lived in as a child, and I do fine. But put me ten miles south in the next town, and I am instantly lost. I especially have trouble getting back from a new place. I cannot understand maps, and can only follow written instructions. Thanks for the story!

Jan. 27 2011 12:38 PM
Jeff from Edmonton Canada

Great show guys, I liked every segment. I have a question for a possible follow up.
How does the gyroscopic inner ear stuff apply to the mapping our heads do.
I have inner ear problems, epilepsy, and partial unexplained deafness (like Emilie), sometimes I get flu like symptoms suddenly, as in within minutes. When I was younger it happened more frequently. Most people have experienced dizzyness, but sometimes I literally cannot look in one direction. My world seems to spin and my eyes follow.

Jan. 27 2011 12:35 PM
jake

Great episode! What is that lap steel music before the bird's eye view segment?

Jan. 27 2011 10:40 AM
jake

Great episode! What is that lap steel music before the bird's eye view segment?

Jan. 27 2011 10:39 AM
buzzgirl from San Francisco

I downloaded a few podcasts to listen to on a flight this morning.

As I listened to this episode, tears were rolling down my face. I don't imagine I looked attractive in my seat with my oversized headphones, but I honestly couldn't help it. Alan and Emily's love for one another is amazing. And at their young ages? Wow.

Well done.

Best wishes for recovery.

Jan. 27 2011 01:15 AM
Jeremy from Texas

Am I the only one who ever wakes up in the middle of the night in my own house not knowing where I am? I don't have DTD.

Can people in that Austrailian town walk in a straight line blindfolded? Hmmmmm, Mr. Krulwich?

Is there any truth to women having less sense of direction to men? I always give cardinal directions to men and relational directions to women.

Isolateral triangles? Does this have anything to do with fractal geometry?!?

Ahhhh! So many questions!!! Thanks guys! :o|

Jan. 26 2011 11:48 PM
Some other Andy from Tokyo

Beautiful gentlemen. Thank you. The piece on Emily - the girlfriend - still has me weeping. Bless you, boyfriend, and much empathy for the mama. Well done. Well done.

Jan. 26 2011 10:05 PM
Meridien from Asheville, NC

This is the most amazing radio show ever. I can't wait for new episodes to download. Best show on radio! The segment about the recovery of Emilie was absolutely incredible. Listening to her ghostly, quavering voice gave me the chills, as though she was calling from a long way away. Which she was...and when she asked to be "pulled from the wall" it nearly made me cry. So desperate to be taken to where she could live again. She described herself as being in a dream, and she was. So fortunate we are in those who love us can bring us back when we are lost.

Jan. 26 2011 08:48 PM
Meridien from Asheville, NC

This is the most amazing radio show ever. I can't wait for new episodes to download. Best show on radio! The segment about the recovery of Emilie was absolutely incredible. Listening to her ghostly, quavering voice gave me the chills, as though she was calling from a long way away. Which she was...and when she asked to be "pulled from the wall" it nearly made me cry. So desperate to be taken to where she could live again. She described herself as being in a dream, and she was. So fortunate we are in those who love us can bring us back when we are lost.

Jan. 26 2011 08:47 PM
Alan from Miami

Just the idea that Emilie could have been trapped down the rabbit hole if no one gave her a chance or tried everything to help her just has me shaken to my core.

Amazing stories as always.

Best of luck to Emilie, Alan, and her family..

Jan. 26 2011 05:26 PM
Jason from Huntsville, AL

RadioLab has often made me think & laugh. The segment about Emilie was the first to make me cry.

After the part of the story where they talked about putting her hearing-aids in, when she addressed us for the first time, I believe I literally gasped. Hearing about somebody practically coming back from the dead due to the patience and effort of some one who loved them was incredibly touching.

You guys are doing good work. Keep doing it.

Jan. 26 2011 05:12 PM
Dan Harlow from Colorado

Hey Robert and Jad, do I just send you my bank account information, social security number, cash on hand, car title and tax returns to your office or is there a PO Box I should mail it to? Answer quick while you still have me in an extremely vulnerable emotional state after listening to this latest episode.

I can't decide which kind of geniuses you two (and your production staff) are - the good kind or the evil kind. I mean, my goodness guys, seriously? I'm a grown man who throws freight off a truck at 4am every morning and you made me cry in front of other grown men, each burlier, hairier and manlier than the next. I can only drop freight on my foot as a crying excuse so many times before it causes serious injury.

Anyway, another great episode, though I will have to start listening to these at home - with my teddy bear - from now on.

Damn you both :)

Jan. 26 2011 05:07 PM
Michelle Arellano from Miami

for the love of...you guys have ripped my heart from my chest. i don't think i've ever cried this much during one of your shows.

f*cking phenomenal job.

Jan. 26 2011 04:23 PM
Mat from Florida

I had a similar experience on traveling to New Zealand for the first time, having lived in North America my whole life before then. To this day, when I imagine Wellington, New Zealand--a city I visited several times and lived in briefly--the "grid" of that place is rotated 180 degrees in my mind compared to every other place I have known in my life. "South" in Wellington felt like "north" every other place I've been. Comforting to hear that failures of directional sense aren't so uncommon!

Jan. 26 2011 02:45 PM
Flora Bernard from Salt Lake City, Utah

Oh my good God, what an episode. This is one of the finest radio pieces I have ever heard--and I have heard a LOT of them.

You guys! You keep topping yourselves. Keep it up!

Jan. 26 2011 02:36 PM
mel from meadville pa

the portion of this podcast that focuses on direction was very intriguing to me... despite a college education and vigorous training- and many long journeys (like driving to Philadelphia, Nashville, and NYC by myself) i cannot decipher left and right without the finger trick (the thumb and index finger make an "L" on the left hand) i have to think about right and left, as well as cardinal directions. i don't know them "by nature" so to speak. this has always been blamed on dyslexia. when driving, people or gps navigation helps, but typically i just drive by instinct... and usually have a good outcome...

Jan. 26 2011 01:52 PM
Heather from England

The part about people who are aware of cardinal directions was interesting to me. I grew up in a place with mountains and a big lake where you could always tell the direction. In Kindergarten when we learned right and left there were big signs on the wall at the front of the room for right and left. Facing this wall you were facing East. Until I moved to a place where I couldn't tell the directions I was only able to tell right and left if I turned around and faced East. The cardinal directions have always been easier for me than right or left.

Jan. 26 2011 12:10 PM
Mike from Baltimore

I cried like a baby during the third segment of this show.

Jan. 26 2011 09:11 AM
Justin Van Kleeck from Harrisonburg, VA

Great show. The segment on Emilie Gossiaux gave me chills.

Jan. 26 2011 08:50 AM
James from Taiwan

Another brilliant episode. The first part was interesting, the second intriguing and the third section made me cry. Your episodes always have a way of slowing down time and making me look at the world a bit differently afterwards. Thanks.

Jan. 26 2011 03:36 AM
Juile

The bit about the languages that use cardinal directions had me wondering.

Can people, whose brains have this different way of mapping than the left right languages, walk a straight line? I know that there have been studies that show that without visual cues a person wanders in circles believing that s/he is walking straight.

Studies have shown that people who speak tonal languages are more likely to have perfect pitch than those who don't speak a tonal language. Do these people perhaps have something like the directional perfect pitch?

Has anyone had them walk the line??

Jan. 25 2011 11:58 PM
Ben from Austin

Thank you for this episode as well as all the previous ones. The feeling of wonder often follows and the sense that life is much larger than I imagined.

Jan. 25 2011 11:47 PM
Laurie from Boise, ID

Amazing episode! These three stories have all left me astonished....

Jan. 25 2011 10:30 PM
linda from oregon

HI did you have a show last week that was abut someone loosing the ability to talk?
thanks
linda

Jan. 25 2011 09:44 PM

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