The brain plasticity revolution

I delivered a lecture at the University of Konstanz in Germany two weeks ago, as a part of the celebration of the 100th Anniversary of the Heidelberg Akademie. This is one of 7 scientific academies in Germany. Because Germany was created as an amalgamation of powerful states in the 19th Century, its scientific academies originate…

A Danish delight! Progress in treating cerebral palsy and related movement disorders?

I delivered a lecture sponsored by the Danish Neuroscience Society and the Helene Elsass Center (a wonderful new research institution in the suburbs of Copenhagen) that has developed a state-of-the-art research and treatment center focusing on cerebral palsy. I was delighted to sit down with the Center’s Director, Peder Esben Bilde, to review new training…

Tinnitus. A special example of a failure mode for your plastic brain

Millions of individuals (2% of humankind) are plagued by continuous sounds generated in their skulls, not coming from the real world. Because these ringing or roaring sounds are inescapable and because they strongly influence emotional-control processes in the brain, they can literally drive an individual who hears them incessantly just a little bit crazy. No…

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…

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 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…