Alvaro asked a tough question: How do you define SMART?

Alvaro asked this question as a comment after a blog entry discussed recent evidence that physical exercise contributes to academic success. Alvaro, “smart”, like beauty, is in the eyes of the beholder. You do not necessarily want a computer jockey next to you in your foxhole. You do not necessarily want a great world scholar…

Are Crime and Incarceration Predictable and Preventable?

As an alumnus, I recently read an article published in the Johns Hopkins Magazine written about a part-time faculty member in their distinguished Bloomberg School or Public health, Gerald Eber.  Eber is also an ACLU lawyer whose primary concern has been the health care of Americans in prison.  The medical treatment of prisoners, in Eber’s…

Chris Borland Chooses Brain Health Over NFL Career

A few days ago, a young linebacker on the San Francisco 49ers, clearly destined to be a star player in the National Football League, hung up his cleats. Chris Borland, a highly honored University of Wisconsin player who had had a wonderful rookie NFL season, decided that the risks for his brain health were just…

Acetylcholine Release Amps Up Brain’s Plasticity

I met yesterday with a former doctoral student, now a professor at the University of Texas in Dallas, Michael Kilgard. As a research fellow in my UCSF laboratory, Dr. Kilgard studied the conditions under which acetycholine enables brain plasticity—showing among other findings that large scale and highly useful plasticity can be achieved by pairing sensory…

Podcast: Highlights from “Neuroplasticity and Healing” Summit…

Did you miss the “Neuroplasticity and Healing” Summit with the Dalai Lama, Dr. Michael Merzenich, Dr. Edward Taub, and Norman Doidge? Or did you find the video feed a bit lengthy and hard to understand? The wonderful Brain Science Podcast–long on the top of our “great neuroscience podcasts” lists–has created an excellent episode featuring highlights…