SAN FRANCISCO, CA – Dr. Michael Merzenich will unveil a revolutionary approach to monitoring, maintaining and improving brain health at the world’s most prestigious gathering of experts in functional medicine and integrative care in Los Angeles this week. Dr. Merzenich is the Chief Scientific Officer of Posit Science, maker of BrainHQ brain exercises and assessments.
Dr. Merzenich will address the plenary session of the Annual International Conference of the Institute for Functional Medicine during the opening of the conference at 11:30 am on Thursday, June 1st. He will also join Alzheimer’s experts Dr. Dale Bredesen (of UCLA and the Buck institute) and Dr. Rudolph Tanzi (of Harvard and Massachusetts General Hospital) for a discussion of the application of neuroplasticity to dementia at the plenary session at 3:00 pm the same day.
The theme of this year’s conference is: “The Dynamic Brain: Revealing the Potential of Neuroplasticity to reverse Neurodegeneration.”
Dr. Merzenich plans to discuss research that strongly supports the idea that we can systematically harness brain plasticity and drive positive changes in brain systems through plasticity-based training. He will describe recent results in trials across a wide range of neurological diseases and disorders.
“When it comes to brain health, the future is now,” Dr. Merzenich observes. “Breakthroughs in technology and science will permit people to monitor their brain health on a daily basis and take appropriate action to maintain their brain health using a device they already carry in their pockets – a phone with apps to assess current condition, to suggest holistic interventions, and to deliver the right brain exercises. This technology already exists, and all the pieces are coming together.”
Dr. Merzenich believes we are in the midst of a paradigm shift regarding how we view and treat most aspects of brain health.
“We don’t have a magic pill to prevent or cure heart disease, and, instead look to behavioral changes to reduce risk and early interventions to address symptoms,” according to Dr. Merzenich. “There is a rapidly growing consensus among thought leaders that we need a similar approach to cognitive disorders and improvement. This approach will include nutrition, physical exercise and environmental factors – but the single most important elements will be lifelong monitoring of brain health and appropriate plasticity-based brain exercises.”
In his lecture, Dr. Merzenich will discuss recent studies on the impact of BrainHQ plasticity-based brain training. Such studies have shown that such training can lead to better performance by older adults on standard measures of cognition (e.g., speed, attention, memory) with benefits that transfer to many real world activities (e.g., balance, driving, everyday tasks) and quality of life (e.g., mood, confidence, self-rated health). He will also discuss studies showing the impact of such training on the brain’s chemistry and structure.
Dr. Merzenich is professor emeritus at University of California San Francisco, where he maintained a research lab for three decades. He ran the seminal experiments that led to the discovery of lifelong plasticity – the ability of the brain to change chemically, structurally and functionally based on sensory and other inputs. He pioneered harnessing the power of plasticity in the co-invention of the cochlear implant, which has restored hearing to 100,000s of people living with deafness.
Dr. Merzenich also pioneered the application of plasticity in the development of plasticity-based computerized brain exercises, which have helped millions of people.
His body of work has led to many honors. For example, he has been elected to both the US National Academy of Sciences and the US National Academy of Medicine. In the past two years, he has been awarded the Russ Prize, the highest honor in bioengineering, by the US National Academy of Engineering, and the Kavli Laureate, the highest honor in neuroscience, by the King of Norway.
Dr. Merzenich frequently appears in print and broadcast media, including television specials on public television in the US and Australia. He is author of many scientific articles, chapters and books, including Soft-Wired: How the New Science of Brain Plasticity Can Change Your Life.
Dr. Merzenich directs research and development at Posit Science, where he is Co-founder, Chairman and Chief Scientific Officer. There are more than 140 peer-reviewed medical and science journal articles on the benefits of BrainHQ exercises and assessments. Scores of additional studies are in progress.
BrainHQ exercises are offered all over the world (in ten languages) to healthy people interested in improving their cognitive performance. Posit Science also maintains a research program aimed at finding new ways to address specific diseases and disorders. As such research advances, Posit Science plans to approach appropriate regulatory agencies to explore the shortest path to getting a form of relevant exercises into the hands of patients who may be helped.