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…

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…

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.…

Kids in car seats. Unintended consequences.

I’m in Queretaro, Mexico this week, visiting a world-class Neuroscience Insitute that is a part of the great Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM). I am struck by the beautiful, happy children in the 17th-and 18th-Century old city center where my wife and I are staying. We’ve seen many children out in this beautiful, old city…

Are “Helicopter Parents” Creating a …

One of the negative consequences of our high tech- and fear-dominated modern culture is the systematic withdrawal of children from independent and exploratory play, in natural social and physical environments. Our fear culture frustrates outside, unfettered exploration for the developing child. Parents can be arrested for leaving their children to play on their own, in…

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…

Soft-Wired: How the New Science of Brain Plasticity Can Change your Life

I’m excited to announce that my brand new book Soft-Wired is now out and available in paperback or Kindle format. This book was a labor of love, and it took me many years and many iterations to say exactly what I wanted, how I wanted to say it. The result is a book that covers…