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.

Autism and early oxygen deprivation

In a July 9th, 2008 post, I added oxygen deprivation incurred at childbirth as another factor potentially contributing to an increased incidence in autism. As I noted in that blog: “We have published compelling evidence that peri-natal anoxia meets all of the other criteria for adding to “noisy” brain processing. It can have strong, selective…

Autism, mercury, video games, the Courts, and Arnold

The several-month-old report by the Masters of the U.S. Court of Federal Claims on the “Omnibus Autism Proceeding” is old news, but I thought I’d put an oar in, by saying that this is something that the courts got right. There is a large body of evidence that demonstrates, to a level of near-certainty, that…

Brain plasticity and criminal behavior; part 5

Before I begin to talk about commonly applied strategies of prevention and rehabilitation designed to reduce the numbers of criminal offenders and recidivists amongst us, let’s begin with a note about statistics. In all of my earlier blogs, I talk about the “average” offender and their neurological and personal history. In reality, there are many…

Brain plasticity principles, in the words of a leading therapist

I strongly encourage our readers to check out the newly published book “Move Into Life”, authored by a highly distinguished therapist (and personal friend) Anat Baniel. Anat was originally trained by Moshe Feldenkrais, who developed a novel empirical perspective about physical/cognitive/perceptual rehabilitation that is broadly consistent with the principles of brain plasticity neuroscience. She has…

Aging paragons

We all know a few older-aged paragons, individuals who are still storming through life in their 9th or 10th or 11th decade. I was delighted to read two articles in the New York Times last week that featured two such individuals who have crossed my own path in life. David Perlman is a 90-year-old science…

Brain plasticity and criminal behavior; part 4

A young adult American – usually male – has committed a crime. He stands in the dock. As we sit as courtroom observers, what, in the overwhelming majority of the cases, do we see before us? As we’ve discussed in earlier blogs: 1. We see a young man who has failed at school. There is…

A little more neuroplasticity help is on the way!

I’ve spent the past 2 days participating in a workshop at the National Institutes of Health titled “Harnessing Neuroplasticity for Human Applications”. You would probably have enjoyed – and learned from — listening in on these discussions. The participants at this meeting (including many top American gurus and practitioners in neuroplasticity) outlined the state or…

Perception, illusion, prediction, magic, autism

There is an enjoyable article in the current issue of Wired in which the magician Teller (the silent, smaller and more sneaky chap on the Penn and Teller team) engages in a conversation with the science writer Jonah Lehrer about the neurological bases of magic. Reading this article led me to a review on this…

Brain plasticity origins of PTSD

John Woo, a fellow University of California professor and self-identified neurological expert on methods of interrogating prisoners argued that recommended methods of interviewing prisoners (like ‘water-boarding’, sustaining a detainee in an agonizing posture for extended periods of time, or long bouts of sleep deprivation) were acceptable, because experience with former prisoners of war have shown…