Jan 17, 2007
By: Caroline Latham
CBS News and TIME magazine are teaming up for a five-part series on the “The Complicated, Mesmerizing World of the Brain”. The first report by CBS Evening News contributor Dr. Sanjay Gupta focused on neuroplasticity – “the brain’s ability to reorganize itself by creating new brain cells through mental and physical exercises.”
Dr. Gupta interviewed Arthur Kramer, Ph.D., a professor of psychology at the University of Illinois who studied the effects of exercise, diet, and social and mental stimulation on older adults. According to Kramer, the break through anti-aging treatment is exercise.
We found in our study that walking will increase the volume of the brain, increase the efficiency of the brain and increase improvements in the number of cognitive functions such as memory and attention.
Kramer and McAuley’s research showed that aerobic exercise led to increased brain volume in the prefrontal and temporal cortices – areas that show considerable age-related deterioration.
To go beyond physical exercise and look at mental exercise, Dr. Gupta also interviewed Michael Merzenich, Ph.D. of UCSF and Posit Science. Merzenich said, “The brain is actually revising itself. It is actually plastically changing itself as you develop new skills and abilities, as you learn new things.” Merzenich has been studying neuroplasticity and how the brain changes with experience since the 1980s.
To Catch the Series, Here’s the Schedule:
- Wednesday, Jan. 17, CBS Evening News (6:30–7 p.m. ET): Contributor Dr. Sanjay Gupta examines the revolutionary new field of neuroplasticity – the brain’s ability to reorganize itself by creating new brain cells through mental and physical exercises.
- Thursday, Jan. 18, The Early Show (7–9 a.m. ET/PT): National Correspondent Tracy Smith follows up on the story of Sarah Scantlin, a woman who was in a vegetative state for 20 years and then miraculously began to speak in 2005. While she was unable to speak or voluntarily move her limbs during those two decades, doctors now believe she may have actually heard what was going on around her.
- Thursday, Jan. 18, CBS Evening News (6:30–7 p.m. ET): Technology Correspondent Daniel Sieberg explains how new cutting-edge technology is allowing blind people to “see” using their tongues.
- Friday, Jan. 19, The Early Show (7–9 a.m. ET/PT): Correspondent Richard Roth reveals the latest details from an ongoing study on how babies make sense of the world around them.
- Friday, Jan. 19, CBS Evening News (6:30–7 p.m. ET): An in-depth report on how chronic stress affects the brain, including research that says prolonged psychological stress can actually wear down the ends of a person’s DNA.
- Friday, Jan. 19, CBS Radio News: CBS Radio News will feature an interview with Steven Pinker, a distinguished Harvard professor and author of the Time magazine essay on the mysteries of consciousness, which will be available as an audio podcast on CBSNews.com. The CBS News Web site will also feature on-demand video clips of all segments, as well as extended interviews not seen on television. The series will run in conjunction with Time magazine (on newsstands Friday, Jan. 19) and Time.com.