We are big fans of Ginger Campbell, MD’s Brain Science Podcast series – she features fascinating neuroscience luminaries in her in-depth, hour-long interviews, including Norman Doidge, Jeff Hawkins, Sharon Begley, Edward Taub, and many more.
Posit Science co-founder Dr. Michael Merzenich has been on the Brain Science Podcast once before, but recently revisited the show to discuss brain plasticity and his new book Soft-Wired. If you are interested in brain plasticity, don’t miss this terrific podcast – and be sure to check out Dr. Campbell’s series for more great brain science podcasts.
I am incredibly excited to announce that the scientists who ran the ACTIVE trial have reported that certain types of brain training—including one of the exercises in BrainHQ from Posit Science—can drive cognitive benefits that last 10 years. The study, published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, is the first to show such long-lasting results from brain training, and confirms that the right kind of brain training can cause significant everyday improvements in daily activities. The story has received major coverage by dozens of news outlets, including The Boston Globe and CBS News.
I’m excited to announce that my brand new book Soft-Wiredis now out and available in paperback or Kindle format. This book was a labor of love, and it took me many years and many iterations to say exactly what I wanted, how I wanted to say it. The result is a book that covers much of my life’s work in neuroscience and brain plasticity research.
In the book, I explain how the brain develops and grows throughout youth and early adulthood, and how positive and negative brain plasticity remodel the brain across the lifespan. Then I offer my best advice for how to evaluate your own brain–and how your lifestyle may be changing it for better or worse–and offer clear, specific, scientifically proven advice for how you can rejuvenate, remodel, and reshape your brain at any age. I even share all the things that I do on a daily basis so I can stay sharp in my own life.
The following article recently appeared on Forbes.com.
If you’re old enough, you may remember a time, maybe back in your childhood, when someone measured your intelligence and assigned a number to it. I suspect that you have been either proud of that “IQ,” or perhaps a little bit chagrined about it, from that day to this. The general belief back then was that intelligence was a genetic endowment, along with eye color or a propensity for baldness.
We now know this is simply not true. Your brain — every brain — is a work in progress. It is “plastic.” From the day we’re born to the day we die, it continuously revises and remodels, improving or slowly declining, as a function of how we use it. If a brain is exercised properly, anyone can grow intelligence, at any age, and potentially by a lot. Or you can just let your brain idle — and watch it slowly, inexorably, go to seed like a sedentary body.
I am so excited to share the official trailer for “Smarter Brains” – a new special about the brain that’s coming soon on PBS. The focus of the show is all about intelligence: how we get it, how we can increase it, and how it affects our lives. The show will feature top world brain scientists, including yours truly, and will premiere on PBS stations in August 2013. Check out this preview and let me know what you think!
We are excited to share this video news report about a schizophrenia study we have been working on for the past few years. The e-CAeSAR Study is being conducted in partnership with the Schizophrenia Trials Network at ten top-tier research centers nationwide. The trial tests a unique online cognitive training program (called “PACR”) designed for people with schizophrenia who wish to improve their brain speed, memory, thinking and people skills. A total of 150 people will be included in this study.
I woke up in a cheerful mood this morning because yesterday the results of a scientific study were published and they once again demonstrated that very strong benefits can be achieved through only 10 hours of Posit Science brain training. The cognitive benefits were not just seen in the tasks themselves, but in measures of everyday activities. What’s more, the benefits lasted for at least a year after training. The study found that the more people trained, the better their level of cognitive protection.
I had the great pleasure of visiting a wonderful research team studying the neurological origins and treatment of tinnitus at Washington University Medical School in St. Louis last week. About 30 million U.S. citizens have tinnitus. For about 4 million of them, the tinnitus is identified as “severe” – which means that it is continuously disturbing and intrusive, makes normal sleep very difficult or impossible, has extended cognitive impacts, and grossly degrades the sufferer’s quality of life.
I had the great pleasure of attending a symposium held in the College of Education at my alma mater, the University of Portland, focused on this interesting subject, and the implications that it bears for effective learning and teaching. My co-participants were distinguished professors in linguistics and education science (Ellyn Arwood and Richard Christen), and two wonderful educators working on the front lines, as a classroom teacher (Bonnie Robb) and an art educator (Daniel Duford). This meeting was on the path, for the University of Portland, toward the further development of a strong emphasis on brain science-guided educational theory and practice. To which we at this blog say, “Terrific!!”
Today, Posit Science announced the release of a new computer-based visual training tool, DriveSharp, specifically designed to improve the performance abilities of adult automobile drivers to a degree that can be expected to very substantially impact their driving safety.
This training employs two very important brain plasticity-based strategies to improve your visual assets that support safe driving. The first is the “Useful Field of View Training” developed and patented by Drs. Karlene Ball (University of Alabama at Birmingham) and Daniel Roenker (University of Western Kentucky). Their training tool addresses a key problem that arises in older individuals: the progressive contraction of their “useful field of view” (UFOV). As you get older, you progressively lose the ability to accurately detect and respond to visual events in your far visual periphery. Even if you DO detect what’s happening at the far left or far right side of your vision, your response to it is very slow. By age 65, this contraction of your UFOV approaches 25%; by age 80, it is roughly 50%! In our fast-moving world, losing control of one’s peripheral vision is a main cause of driving accidents. You simply don’t see what’s going to hit you — and even if you do, you can’t respond fast enough to avoid a collision.