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.

A Top Ten List: Misconceptions, by scientists and the public, about the neurological bases of memory/cognitive losses in aging

In early October, I attended a meeting sponsored by the National Institute on Aging and the McKnight Foundation considering the general subject of cognitive decline in aging populations. I found the meeting to be useful, and distressing. Useful, because this subject is now on the front burner for the NIA, just as it is for…

Why are Mexican-Americans more susceptible to PTSD?

Traveling in Mexico and observing the operation of Mexican families has brought a simple question to my mind: Why are Mexican-American soldiers from the Iraq War significantly more susceptible than other ethnicities for developing post-traumatic stress disorders (PTSDs)? Does their “weakness” reflect genetic contributions to their risk for PTSD, or, more likely perhaps, does it…

A traumatic-brain-injury success story

About two weeks ago, Posit Science was visited by a family who appeared to have greatly benefited from the use of our exercises in BrainHQ. This family’s story began with a late-night boating accident involving a beloved young son, circa 20 years of age. The boat that Ryan was riding in was struck by a…

Is bipolar disorder in childhood an emergent plague?

About a month ago, results from a NIMH-sponsored statistical study that determined the rate at which children were being labelled and treated for bipolar disorder were published, and reported widely in the popular press (I initially read about it on September 4th in the Sunday New York Times). Twenty years ago, bipolar disorder was a…

Eating crow

Some months ago, after my grand-daughter Leila’s school in Oakland, California burned down and its rebuilding seems to be drowning in a bureaucratic swamp, I predicted that it would NEVER be rebuilt in time to begin the 2007-8 school year on time. I was wrong. The Oakland Unified School District and the contractors that they…

A connected kid

I know a 16-year-old boy who is addicted to video games. By ‘addiction’, I mean that he is compelled to play them for several to many hours each day, even while he knows that it is in his own best interests to limit his play time, even while his parents continually (ineffectively) try to curtail…

Exercising action loops. A follow up on thoughts about ‘Baby Einstein’.

Dr. X (another commentor who is reluctant to use a name) made an important point in responding to my August 14 entry considering a recent study in which Baby Einstein was found not to improve, and to possibly modestly delay normal language development — a claim that I argued was simplistic. In Dr. X’s words:…

Is “being mentally active” sufficient, for sustaining brain health?

There was an interesting exchange of comments following a July 7th entry (“What’s it all about”) that begins with the argument (by CCb at anom@anom.com) that “brain fitness training” is unnecessary, for someone who is still engaged in reading and scholarship. [CCb, might I suggest that you and other commentors at least identify yourself with…