Brain plasticity and criminal behavior; part 1

On March 24th, I posted a blog entry in which I made an audacious promise. I promised to review why and how, from a brain plasticity perspective, we Americans are so good at creating criminals, in sharp contrast with most other modern world cultures. I cited the specific comparative example of Japan, where the rates…

Brain plasticity and the law

My wife Diane and I just returned from a working visit to Japan (I was an instructor in a “Spring Symposium” in Kyoto, attended by top Japanese neuroscience doctoral students and postdoctoral fellows). On this trip, we took an extra day to stay overnight in a Buddhist monastery on Mount Koyosan, a sacred site deep…

Moderate drinking and longevity

I have earlier described evidence from a large British study that identified a positive impact of the moderate consumption of alcohol on longevity — in their case, apparently adding about 1.5 years to a lifespan. Now, from my own university comes another large, careful study that supports this conclusion, while doing a little better job…

Brain Awareness Week

Remind yourself this week that you have a brain. It`s officially Brain Awareness Week, which is an acknowledgment that many of our citizens NEED reminding! And as you are pondering your brain’s mysteries, you might also reflect on its health (which equates with the health of YOU). You are, after all, its custodian–the party responsible…

Miscarriage of justice?

I was dismayed by the recent 9th Circuit Federal Court of Appeals rejection of a California law requiring that violent video games be labelled, with their purchase being limited to individuals over the age of 18. [You can read the court’s Opinion by going to the 9th Circuit website.] What I most strongly objected to…

A holiday present

The following comments were written by Meghan Lil, who I knew as a darling, sassy little lass, 8 or 9 years old at the time of our first meeting. In my mind’s eye, she’s still a kid. In reality, she’s a beautiful, intelligent young woman. In her words: “When I was in first grade, I…

Brain health and driving

In a January 30th article in the Journal of Gerontology, a very distinguished University of South Florida team led by Dr. Jerri Edwards reported rather astonishing findings on the value of retaining your driving license at an older age. Their approach was to match a large population of individuals using a variety of general health…

Helping the troops

It was distressing to read last week about a careful scientific meta-analysis of more than 1800 studies of the nature of, and the origins of “Gulf War Syndrome”.  That study showed, with statistical surety, that the cause of this affliction that has substantially, permanently degraded the lives of about 175,000 former men and women who…

Autism on the rise; additional factors?

We have earlier discussed factors that our research has indicated may have contributed to the increased incidence of Autistic Spectrum Disorders. Whatever factors are contributing to the growing incidence must have three qualities: 1) They must be increasing in human environments. 2) They must be widely distributed on the planet. 3) They must be (collectively)…