Friday, April 20, 2007

Brain Science Podcast #10: Neuroplasticity

trainyourmind.jpgIn this episode of the Brain Science Podcast we explore the recent research that has established, contrary to long-standing dogma, that our brains our able to change throughout our lives, based on our experience.

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Show Notes

The reference for this episode is Train Your Mind, Change Your Brain: How a New Science Reveals Our Extraordinary Potential to Transform Ourselves, by Sharon Begley. This book describes the 2004 meeting between the Dalai Llama and several leading neuroscientists. To learn more about these meetings go to the Mind and Life Institute website. All the studies that I mention in the podcast are referenced in the back of the book.

Here is a list of the some of the scientists and there work.

  • Michael Meany- McGill University. He has shown that the way that a mother rat treats her babies determine which genes in the baby's brain are turned on and which are turned off.
  • Fred Gage- the Salk Institute His work with lab animals to showed that adult brains do change. (more from Google)
  • Helen Neville-University of Oregon. She has shown that the auditory and visual cortexes are rewired in people who are born blind or deaf.
  • Phillip Shaver-UC-Davis. He is a pioneer in attachment theory: how people's sense of emotional security, acquired in childhood, effects their adult behavior including their response to other ethnic groups and their willingness to help others
  • Richard Davidson-Wisconsin. He has done studies showing how the brain is changed by meditation
  • Edward Taub- University of Alabama in Birmingham. He helped develop a revolutionary treatment for stroke victims
  • Jeffery Schwartz-UCLA. He has used mindfulness meditation to treat obsessive compulsive disorder, showing that meditation can change the brain in beneficial ways.
  • Jon Kabat-Zinn- University of Massachusetts. He has done many years of work using mindfulness meditation to treat stress related diseases.

More Links of Interest:

I am sure this list is incomplete. If you have a question or comment about a topic mentioned on the show, leave a comment below or send me email at docartemis at

Thursday, April 19, 2007

THE FINAL TAXI ..and so it goes........

Direct download: Various
deaths...... and so it goes..

In the book Slaughter House 5, "So it goes" is a phrase used every time a passage deals with death, dying or mortality.
I felt it appropriate to use it this week as we have had so many to take that Final Taxi....
Kurt Vonnegut famed author,
Johnny Hart, creator of the comic strip "BC" and "Wizard of Id"
Marshall Rogers, comic book artist who help bring Batman from his 'camp' era,
Roscoe Lee Brown, famous character actor and voice talent,
Barry Nelson, actor who played many roles including the Hotel manager in "The Shining",
and Stan Daniels writer and producer of TV's Mary Tyler Moore and Taxi.

This is just a handful as there was so many this week.... and so it goes........

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Books and Ideas Podcast #10 An American Living in France

guillestre202.jpgGuillestre in the French Alps

Show Notes

This episode of Books and Ideas is a conversation with writer Kirk Mcelhearn , a native New Yorker, who has lived in France for over 20 years. We talk about the challenges of learning a second language, and what it is like to live in France after 9/11. McElhearn is able to bring some interesting historical perspective to current events. Unfortunately there is some echo in the second half of this interview, which was recorded using Skype™ and Audio Hijack Pro™.

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Additional Links:

Kirkville is Kirk McElhearn's excellent blog where you can find Mac™ and iTunes™ hints, as well as commentary on books and digital music.

Here is a list of his books from

The Killer Angels: A Novel of the Civil War by Michael Shaara This is an excellent novel that I talked about briefly on an earlier podcast. It is also available in audio download format from Kirk said he has this book coming from BookMooch.

BookMooch started by the founder of Magnatune, this is a great place to exchange books

Monday, April 9, 2007

Final Taxi - #69 : I Triple Dog Dare Ya- Bob Clark

: A Christmas
s Bob Clark

"You'll Shoot Your Eye Out," "I Triple Dog Dare Ya!" "Fra- Jee- Lee; Must be Italian." All these are phases we know and love because of Bob Clark.
Bob Clark, the director of film classics 'Porky's and 'A Christmas Story', has taken his Final Taxi, alongside his 22-year old son Ariel.

Clark, who was 67, specialised in horror films and thrillers. His other titles include the likes of 'Children Shouldn't Play With Dead Things', 'Murder by Decree', 'Breaking Point' and 'Black Christmas'.

But he was most famous for 'Porky's', which is often cited as one of the first "gross-out" teen sex comedies, while 'A Christmas Story' has become something of a seasonal tradition in the US with 24 hour marathons.

Friday, April 6, 2007

Brain Science #9: The Future of the Brain


Show Notes for Episode 9

This episode is a discussion of The Future of the Brain: The Promise and Perils of Tomorrow's Neuroscience by British neuroscientist, Steven Rose. Unlike most episodes of the Brain Science Podcast, the emphasis of this episode is on asking what kind of ethical dilemmas might be posed by our increased knowledge of how the brain works.

Topics discussed:

  • why the Mind is more than the Brain
  • why the Mind is more than genetics and biochemistry
  • how we still have a long way to go before we can fully understand how the brain-body generates the mind
  • problems and dangers of reductionism
  • implications for freedom and personal responsibility
  • examples from the history of science that demonstrate why these concerns are valid
  • the "Paradox of Memory"
  • some email from listeners

One issue I only mention briefly on the podcast is Rose's attack on evolutionary psychology. If you are interested in learning more about this you might want to read the transcript of a debate between Steven Rose and Stephen Pinker, which was held in 1998. It is on the Edge website, which is an interesting website even though it lacks an RSS feed.

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