Dr. Merzenich has published more than 150 articles in leading peer-reviewed journals (such as Science and Nature), received numerous awards and prizes (including the Russ Prize, Ipsen Prize, Zülch Prize, Thomas Alva Edison Patent Award and Purkinje Medal), and been granted nearly 100 patents for his work. He and his work have been highlighted in hundreds of books about the brain, learning, rehabilitation, and plasticity.

When brain injury hits home

Because my research has focused on the neuroscience of rehabilitation for several decades, I have received hundreds of email messages, letters and telephone calls from parents and grand-parents desperately seeking help for their brain-damaged or developmentally-impaired child or grand-child. Because the losses suffered from brain injury and developmental disabilities expressed in this correspondence is usually…

Important update on risk factors contributing to PTSD onset!

In our last entry on this subject, we summarized risk factors for PTSD onset as follows: “You just DON’T want to be a) an ambidextrous b) Latino c) who has a history of cognitive or learning impairment and d) who suffers additional diffuse or localized brain trauma e) in parallel with an exposure to f)…

Therapeutically reliving and elaborating your traumatic experiences CAN be harmful

In the June 18th, 2007 issue of Newsweek, Sharon Begley wrote an opinion column that must have raised a few hackles in the psychotherapy community. In her words, “…(for) patients seeking psychotherapy….talking can be dangerous … and therapists have not exactly rushed to tell them so.” One well-documented class of examples has come from “stress…

The “computer game syndrome”!

You may have heard that the AMA recently decided that a child’s “addiction” to computer games should, in the extreme, be recognized as a medical disorder. You probably understand that the AMA has two reasons for elaborating the lists of maladies that are recognized as deserving treatment by its members. 1) They really do have…

Brain fitness training: measuring psycho-social dimensions of brain health

Dr. William Bailey’s comments about a study that he and his colleague Jean Turner are conducting on the impacts of BrainHQ training on symptoms of depression, self-efficacy and related psycho-social dimensions in older individuals is worth special mention. We welcome these two University of Arkansas scientists into our community, and look forward to their study…

Building a tree-house

I spent much of the last two weekends working with my two sons-in-law constructing a tree-house for their children (Diane and my grandchildren). It’s a beauty. You enter tree-house paradise via a ladder (still under construction) that wraps around a large oak tree to deliver the kid to a notch that opens out onto a…

Two additional risk factors for PTSD (one surprising; one mundane)

Being ambidextrous is pretty useful as a member of your Little League team, but it turns out to be not quite so positive if your brain is later faced with traumatic experiences. Rather surprisingly, a study of 2,490 individuals exposed to combat in Vietnam revealed that an ambidextrous individual is about twice as likely to…