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…

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…

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.…

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…