The Brain Plasticity Revolution: Managing Your Brain Health

SAN FRANCISCO, March 06, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Globally-acclaimed scientist Dr. Michael Merzenich will deliver the seventh annual Raymond and Beverly Sackler Distinguished Lecture in Neuroscience at Cardiff University at 6:30pm on Thursday, March 16, 2017. Dr. Merzenich is Chief Scientific Officer at Posit Science and Professor Emeritus at the University of California, San Francisco.  Dr. Merzenich will speak about the revolution in scientific thinking caused by the discovery of lifelong brain plasticity, and how it now enables continuous monitoring and managing of brain health, with simple and affordable mobile apps.  Three decades ago, Dr. Merzenich forever changed the way scientists look at the brain with his seminal experiments showing that the adult brain remains plastic – capable of changing chemically, physically and functionally, throughout life, based on sensory and other inputs.  Previously, scientists believed that the brain was plastic only in childhood. Dr. Merzenich realized that plasticity could be harnessed to create tools to benefit humanity. He first applied plasticity in the co-invention of the cochlear implant, which has restored hearing to hundreds of thousand of people living with deafness. With the wide adoption of personal computers and, then, mobile devices, Dr. Merzenich focused on how to create online (and in app) assessments and exercises that continuously adapt and personalize to monitor and improve individual health and performance.  The exercises in the BrainHQ brain-training platform from Posit Science have been shown to improve performance across a wide range of populations in more than 140 peer-reviewed journal articles. Studies in healthy mature adults have shown gains in standard and real world measures of cognition (eg, brain speed, attention, memory and executive function); quality of life (mood, confidence, self-rated health, functional independence); and everyday activities (balance, movement, driving). In January, academic researchers, who completed the first systematic review of commercially-available brain training programs, found that BrainHQ is the only program shown to improve cognition in older adults in multiple high quality studies. The reviewers observed that studies of BrainHQ exercises and assessments “have fulfilled the gold standard for clinical trials.” They concluded that it was the leader among the small number of programs that have shown they “can assist in promoting healthy brain aging.” Last year, Dr. Merzenich was awarded the Kavli Prize, the highest honor in neuroscience. The prior year, he was awarded the Russ Prize, the highest honor in bio-engineering.  He has been elected by his peers to both the National Academy of Sciences and to the National Academy of Medicine in the USA. He also is a member of the Norwegian Academy of Sciences and Letters. Dr. Merzenich is the author of several books, including Soft-wired: How the New Science of Brain Plasticity Can Change Your Life. Dr. Merzenich frequently appears on television and in the press. In the past year, his work has been featured in The Daily Mail, The Sun, The Times, The Mirror, The Financial Times, Science Magazine and hundreds of other news outlets. For more information about Dr. Merzenich, contact