Lessons from the Hand and Mind Symposium

I had the great pleasure of attending a symposium held in the College of Education at my alma mater, the University of Portland, focused on this interesting subject, and the implications that it bears for effective learning and teaching. My co-participants were distinguished professors in linguistics and education science (Ellyn Arwood and Richard Christen), and…

Visual training to retain driving competence — and your independence!

Today, Posit Science announced the release of a new computer-based visual training tool, DriveSharp, specifically designed to improve the performance abilities of adult automobile drivers to a degree that can be expected to very substantially impact their driving safety. This training employs two very important brain plasticity-based strategies to improve your visual assets that support…

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…

Autism and early oxygen deprivation 2

I received a wonderful comment about the hypothesis that early umbilical cord clamping might contribute to the risk of origin of autism from a wonderful former colleague, Dr. David Blake, a researcher in the Department of Neurology at the Medical College of Georgia. His observations: Fraternal twins typically have different placentas, whereas identical twins share…

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 monitored and induced by magnetic stimulation

I had the pleasure of spending a day last week talking with a world authority on brain plasticity issues, Harvard professor Alvaro Pascual-Leone. Dr. Pascual-Leone has employed a special tool in many of his studies, both to document brain change, and to induce it for the benefit of patients. That tool is direct magnetic stimulation…

Nature vs Nurture, redux

I made the mistake of watching a NOVA program that celebrated the career and scientific achievements of an important biological scientist, Professor E.O. Wilson. Dr. Wilson has been a wonderful observer of the behaviors and lives of ants, termites and other ‘social insects’. He describes them as instinctive creatures whose behavior is strictly determined by…

Autism, mercury, video games, the Courts, and Arnold

The several-month-old report by the Masters of the U.S. Court of Federal Claims on the “Omnibus Autism Proceeding” is old news, but I thought I’d put an oar in, by saying that this is something that the courts got right. There is a large body of evidence that demonstrates, to a level of near-certainty, that…