“WAR’S NEW WOUNDS. A shock wave of brain injuries”

That was the headline in a Washington Post article written by Ronald Glasser, published on Sunday, April 8, 2007. It reported a rather astounding statistic that applies to veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars: About 30% of soldiers in those conflicts have been directly exposed to IED or other powerful explosions. That exposure has…

More, better, quicker. New middle/high school computer-based language training programs

I attended a scientific meeting a few years ago in which Bill Jenkins, the program development team leader at Scientific Learning, described a radically improved version of one of their middle- and high school-targeted language learning programs (which they call “Literacy Advanced”). They have completely re-worked the game-play aspects of these exercises. Changes resulted in…

Brain plasticity-based “cognitive training” elevates BDNF

Serum BDNF (brain-derived neurotrophin factor) has been repeatedly shown to be lower than normal in schizophrenic, bipolar and depressed patient populations. Moreover, the severity of manias or depression have been shown to be inversely correlated with serum BDNF. This key brain trophic factor plays a complicated panoply of roles in brain development, in maintaining the…

The price we pay

A study in an issue of the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine focussed on autism spectrum disorders. A paper in that issue authored by a public health economist, Dr. Michael Ganz, used a rich variety of sources to determine the societal costs of autism. In today’s dollars: $3.2 million/autistic individual/lifetime. $35 BILLION overall, in…

A recommended book about “neuro-plasticity”

The Brain That Changes Itself (2007) by Normal Doidge, M.D. This interesting book chronicles some of the stories of the men and women who have ushered in the new “brain plasticity” revolution in neuroscience. As we repeatedly emphasize in this blog, the brain is no longer viewed by neuroscientists as a machine that is hard-wired…

For “chemobrain” et alia: think “brain fitness training”

If you have this personal history of cancer and chemo- or radiation-therapy, or know someone or are treating someone who has lived it, you might seriously consider enrolling (them) in a serious “brain fitness program”. That is ESPECIALLY the case if memory or other cognitive losses have been noted after either chemotherapy and/or radiation therapy.…

Does exercise make kids smarter?

That’s the claim of a lead article in an issue of Newsweek many years ago. The authors cite interesting evidence from a study conducted at an outstanding brain plasticity-oriented neuroscience research institute at the University of Illinois, where investigators have found that the kids with the fittest bodies are the kids with the fittest brains.…