Alice Weaver Flaherty

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Dr. Alice Weaver Flaherty is a neurologist known for her award-winning book about the neural basis of creativity titled the Midnight Disease.

She completed her A.B., M.D., internship, residency, and fellowship at Harvard. She also completed a Ph.D. at MIT.[1] She currently works at the Massachusetts General Hospital and in addition assumes the position as assistant professor of neurology at Harvard Medical School.

She writes in various genres, including “scientific papers, humorous essays, and picture books”.[2] She is head of the MGH Neurology’s Brain Stimulator Unit, where “she uses deep brain stimulators to treat psychiatric as well as neurological disease. Her research focuses on how our brains represent our bodies, a factor that helps drive suffering in depression, Parkinson’s, and somatoform disorders.”[1] Her book, The Massachusetts General Hospital Handbook of Neurology is the most "widely used neurology text in its class".[1]

Experience with hypergraphia (the overwhelming urge to write)[edit]

After her premature twin boys died soon after their birth, Flaherty was full of grief. Several days later, however, she “awoke one morning with an overwhelming desire to put everything on her mind on paper”.[3] She claims she could not stop for a period of four months. A similar experience occurred after the birth of her premature twin girls, who fortunately survived. Following the two births, her abilities to produce creative works have been heightened. Her most famous book “The Midnight Disease” tries to make sense of this phenomenon.


Journal articles[edit]

she has published 26 peer-reviewed journal articles listed in Scopus. The six most highly cited are:

(1991) Journal of Neurophysiology, 66 (4), pp. 1249–1263. Cited 112 times

Books and non-technical articles[edit]