MINNEAPOLIS, MN – Neuroplasticity-based brain training should change the medical treatment of psychiatric disorders, according to a keynote lecture to be delivered tomorrow by Dr. Michael Merzenich at the University of Minnesota Medical School, in a joint presentation to the Cognitive Training Institute and Psychiatry Grand Rounds. Dr. Merzenich is Professor Emeritus at University of California San Francisco and is Co-Founder of Posit Science, the developer of BrainHQ online brain training.
Dr. Merzenich is widely credited with the discovery that the brain remains plastic – capable of chemical, physical, and functional change from sensory and other inputs – throughout life. He was the first to harness plasticity to improve the human condition – through his co-invention of the cochlear implant, which converts sound waves into electrical neural inputs, restoring hearing to 100,000s of people living with deafness.
In recent years, Dr. Merzenich pioneered the development of a novel type of computerized brain training, which harnesses the brain’s inherent plasticity to improve cognitive performance, and which has been assessed in more than 100 peer-reviewed studies.
Researchers have found that training results in better performance in standard measures of cognition (e.g., speed, attention, memory); in standard measures of quality of life (e.g., mood, confidence, health-related quality of life); and in real world activities (e.g., balance, driving, instrumental activities of daily living).
That brain training has been commercialized by Posit Science, available online at www.BrainHQ.com and as Apple and Android apps, to improve cognitive and real world performance in healthy adults.
Dr. Merzenich’s keynote will focus on the further evolution of brain training in addressing seemingly intractable brain disorders. The talk will include a review of research study results in addressing mental illnesses (e.g., depression, schizophrenia, bipolar); brain injuries (e.g., stroke, TBI, chemobrain); and neurodegenerative diseases (e.g., dementia, Parkinsons, MS). Dr. Merzenich will also discuss how apps will be used to monitor and manage brain health across the lifespan.
Dr. Merzenich has been elected to both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Medicine. He also is a recipient of the Russ Prize (the highest honor in bio-engineering) from the National Academy of Engineering. In addition, he is a Kavli Laureate in Neuroscience (the highest honor in that field).