Monday, July 05, 2010
Research on the human brain is yielding information at a logarithmic pace. Artificial retinas are helping some blind people see and cochlear implants helping some deaf people hear. Deep brain stimulation is helping people with Parkinson's stop shaking, and intractably depressed people smile. Researchers find that the brain continues to produce new brain cells at every age—even in people with dementia and people dying from terminal cancer. The most important factor in whether those fledging neurons thrive or die is whether we challenge our brain enough with new, difficult learning. Other factors in brain health include socialization, exercise, and nutrition.
Researchers are working on brain chip implants to enhance memory, upload and download information, and communicate with people and things. Nanotechnology will make conventional brain surgery rare. Epigenetics is identifying what turns DNA on and off. Can MRIs tell whether someone is a sociopath or a liar? That's controversial. How about a morning after pill to erase PTSD memories? The advances bring marvelous resources for optimal use and care of our brains. At the same time, the advances are fraught with ethical and political perils.
To learn about the latest in human brain research, Dr. Michael Brickey interviewed Judith Horstman, author of The Scientific American Brave New Brain, on Ageless Lifestyles®. The 50-minute podcast of the interview is at www.webtalkradio.net and summarized and archived on www.AgelessLifestyles.com. Ms Horstman's website is www.JudithHorstman.com. Dr. Brickey's website is www.DrBrickey.com. He is President of the Ageless Lifestyles® Institute.
Michael Brickey, Ph.D.