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…

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…

Genetics explanations for neurological & psychiatric illness

There is an interesting set of commentaries in the current issue of The New England Journal of Medicine in which scientists reflect on why genetic screening strategies have had such limited value, for explaining the risks of onset of the great human diseases and disorders. There has been a longstanding presumption (most strongly held by…

Seeing fast-moving things at an older age

Dr. John Andersen recently visited our research group from his laboratory at the University of California at Riverside, to help us understand important studies conducted in his laboratory documenting some aspects of change in the visual perceptual abilities of older individuals. He and his colleagues have conducted a number of important and provocative studies that…

Brain Plasticity and Culture

In a recent book “Brain and Culture” (MIT Press), Dr. Bruce Wexler, a Yale psychiatrist, considers some of the many implications of brain plasticity research for cultural progressions. One special point of his book is the way that our brains specialize, through our plasticity mechanisms, to create a model of the culture (our world) into…

Moderate drinking and longevity

I have earlier described evidence from a large British study that identified a positive impact of the moderate consumption of alcohol on longevity — in their case, apparently adding about 1.5 years to a lifespan. Now, from my own university comes another large, careful study that supports this conclusion, while doing a little better job…

Brain Awareness Week

Remind yourself this week that you have a brain. It`s officially Brain Awareness Week, which is an acknowledgment that many of our citizens NEED reminding! And as you are pondering your brain’s mysteries, you might also reflect on its health (which equates with the health of YOU). You are, after all, its custodian–the party responsible…