Brain Science Podcast discussion

Soft-Wired: How the New Science of Brain Plasticity Can Change Your Life
This topic is about Soft-Wired
2014 > BSP 105 Michael Merzenich

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message 1: by Virginia (last edited Feb 07, 2014 09:31AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Virginia MD (gingercampbell) | 321 comments Mod
Jan 9: The next episode of the Brain Science Podcast will be an interview with Dr. Michael Merzenich author of Soft-Wired: How the New Science of Brain Plasticity Can Change Your Life. This is Dr. Merzenich's first book, but he is considered one of the pioneers of brain plasticity and I first interviewed him back in BSP 54.

Jan 24: Roger managed to post a comment before I was able to add the links for this month's episode.

Show notes for BSP 105

listen to BSP 105

Note: as of 2/1/14 the audio link goes to new audio file where the unequal sound levels have been corrected.

message 2: by Roger (last edited Jan 22, 2014 03:14PM) (new)

Roger Morris (roger_morris) | 34 comments Are their DBRCTs to support the author's claims about the neuropsychological effectiveness of his Brain Gym, or is it just another Luminosity?

Great interview as usual Ginger, but your volume modulation was a bit variable - unusual in your podcasts.

message 3: by Virginia (last edited Jan 24, 2014 10:13AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Virginia MD (gingercampbell) | 321 comments Mod

Here is a link to a study that came out a few days before I released BSP 105:

Ten Year Study of Advanced Cognitive Training from Journal of the American Geriatrics Society

Extensive References for Soft-Wired appear at

I have heard some criticism that Merzenich is not entirely objective in his presentation of BrainHQ compared to other cognitive training products, but I feel that the real value of Soft-Wired and this interview is that it encourages people to take a proactive approach to their cognitive health.

I hope to fix the sound issues soon.

message 4: by Kate (new)

Kate Thomas | 4 comments I hope that this Lumosity course I'm doing now, as well as engagement in Photography learning, doing my family tree research, and learning to use my new 5 inch reflector telescope to explore astronomy, will help to keep my brain active! Chemotherapy isn't good for your brain either.I am only now starting to feel fairly sharp again since I finished it, end of last November. I'm also trying to keep physically active by walking and working with my husband on our land. Mens sana in corpora sano!

Virginia MD (gingercampbell) | 321 comments Mod
Kate wrote: "I hope that this Lumosity course I'm doing now, as well as engagement in Photography learning, doing my family tree research, and learning to use my new 5 inch reflector telescope to explore astron..."

Thanks for sharing Kate.

I try to do both BrainHQ and Luminosity, but I with in that learning new things is much more compelling. It sounds like you are following Dr. Merzenich's advice to embrace life.

That was the real message of this episode!

message 6: by Kate (new)

Kate Thomas | 4 comments Yes, doing my best 8))

message 7: by Dalton (new)

Dalton Seymour | 20 comments The only thing I have ever found that seemed to work for cognitive prowess was jogging. The experience occurred long ago when I was younger. Looking back on it now, it was quite striking and the effect on my rate of learning appeared to have lasted for about 10 years. Now, that was the rate of learning. In terms of comprehension and insight, it's far better today then it was back then, but that probably has more to do with the fermentation or assimilation over time (associative linking). If I were younger, I'd take up jogging again. It would be nice to see if it improved insight and discovery. but at my age, jogging is out of the question. I prefer longevity.

message 8: by David (new)

David Mcdivitt | 65 comments I remembered reading your comment today, Dalton, while doing the stairs at work. There's a lot of snow preventing my normal lunch walk. I don't jog but walk fast, and listen to podcasts. I'm always stimulated intellectually. I never experience the same intellectual effect sitting and listening to a podcast.

I often have many things to write down upon returning to my desk and have gotten better at remembering what to write. Thoughts occur to me while doing the activity and listening to the podcast, but the connection with activity was never apparent. When sitting and listening, the thoughts do not return, and I've often been frustrated trying to recollect some of those thoughts.

I guess it is the activity that does this. When doing activity and I hear an insightful podcast on a subject I have interest, the thoughts may come rapidly. Then I realize I'm having so many thoughts and would like some way to retain them. Maybe just having them and letting them go is enough. But I've noticed more and more end up being reflected at other times, too.

message 9: by Kate (new)

Kate Thomas | 4 comments I walk but I couldn't run yet (still recovering from 6 months chemotherapy and accumulation of weight), but I absolutely agree with Dalton, I always feel sharper after exercise! 8))

Virginia MD (gingercampbell) | 321 comments Mod
I have fixed the sound problems for this episode, so I recommend re-downloading it if you keep old episodes or want to listen to it again.

Here is a direct link to the new audio:

message 11: by Dalton (new)

Dalton Seymour | 20 comments David, thanks for the suggestion on walking and listening, but even those days are pretty much over for me. According to a radiologist's exam, I have a spinal stenosis in the coxis region which limits my upright standing position to about 15 minutes at a time - legs just loose coordination. Despite this, I'm still quite active, but intermittently. I have compensated by working with the material I intuitive consider meaningful or profound and have time to do it now that I'm retired. The one great thing about neuroscience is that there's no end to it and it can fill you life with purpose and meaning every day. That kind thing can be important when you get to my age.

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