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…

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.…

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…

We’re All to Blame When the Punishment is Worse Than the Crime

I would guess that a lot of citizens were pretty angry when they read the tragic story of Kalief Browder in The New Yorker this month. I certainly was. If you haven’t read it, allow me to summarize: a young man near the end of his sophomore year in high school is accused of robbery and assault under…