Sharp Brains: Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

Neuroplasticity, Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News


What a brain, what a life: Marian Diamond, neuroplasticity pioneer, dies at 90


Mar­i­an Dia­mond, neu­ro­sci­en­tist who gave new mean­ing to ‘use it or lose it,’ dies at 90 (The Wash­ing­ton Post):

Mar­i­an Dia­mond, a path­break­ing neu­ro­sci­en­tist whose research — includ­ing a study of Albert Einstein’s pre­served brain — showed that the body’s three-pound seat of con­scious­ness was a dynam­ic struc­ture of beau­ti­ful com­plex­i­ty, capa­ble of devel­op­ment even in old age, died July 25 at an assist­ed-liv­ing com­mu­ni­ty in Oak­land, Calif. She was 90

Dr. Dia­mond, a pro­fes­sor emeri­ta of inte­gra­tive biol­o­gy at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Cal­i­for­nia at Berke­ley, was for decades known on cam­pus as the woman with the hat box. Inside the con­tain­er, dec­o­rat­ed on the out­side with a flo­ral print and car­ried by a bright blue string, was a pre­served human brain.

It was the cru­cial prop for a les­son she spent a half cen­tu­ry teach­ing: that the brain was, as she once wrote, “the most com­plex mass of pro­to­plasm on this earth and, per­haps, in our galaxy.”

Dr. Dia­mond was con­sid­ered a foun­da­tion­al fig­ure in mod­ern neu­ro­science. Cru­cial­ly, she pro­vid­ed the first hard evi­dence demon­strat­ing the brain’s plas­tic­i­ty — its abil­i­ty to devel­op, to grow, even in adult­hood. “In doing so,” her col­league George Brooks said in a state­ment, “she shat­tered the old par­a­digm of under­stand­ing the brain as a sta­t­ic and unchange­able enti­ty that sim­ply degen­er­at­ed as we age.”…

Dr. Dia­mond went on to devel­op a rich the­o­ry of brain plas­tic­i­ty, one that she some­times sum­ma­rized with a phrase more com­mon­ly heard at a gym than a neu­ro­science class­room: “Use it or lose it.” In papers and lec­tures often direct­ed at a wide audi­ence, she out­lined five fac­tors cru­cial to brain devel­op­ment at any age: diet, exer­cise, chal­lenge, new­ness and — per­haps sur­pris­ing for a lab­o­ra­to­ry researcher — love.”

Leave a Reply...

Loading Facebook Comments ...

One Response

Leave a Reply to Ester × Cancel reply

Categories: Cognitive Neuroscience, Education & Lifelong Learning

Tags: , , , ,

Search in our archives

About SharpBrains

As seen in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, BBC News, CNN, Reuters,  SharpBrains is an independent market research firm tracking how brain science can improve our health and our lives.

Follow us and Engage via…

RSS Feed

Watch All Recordings Now (40+ Speakers, 12+ Hours)