Sharp Brains: Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

Neuroplasticity, Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

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Harnessing neurotech for actual Human Enhancement — i.e., how to prevent ‘Frankenstein’ Brains


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The Neu­rotech Rev­o­lu­tion Could Lead To ‘Franken­stein’ Brains. Here’s How We Avoid It (Forbes):

Year 2030, your col­lege-age daugh­ter, who has nor­mal hear­ing, has been pound­ing on you to get the lat­est hear­ing aid that allows one to can­cel out noise on demand, ampli­fy select­ed ambi­ent con­ver­sa­tions at will, and can eas­i­ly con­nect to the music store. Should you buy one for her? Maybe you should buy one not only for her, but also for you as you enter your 60s?

Would you still be inter­est­ed if this device had to be implant­ed in your cochlea via surgery? What if this device is now aug­ment­ed with some AI open­ing the pos­si­bil­i­ty to eave-drop on remote con­ver­sa­tions or get auto­mat­ic trans­la­tion in any lan­guage of the world in real time?…

What are the risks over the ben­e­fits? To what extent are enhance­ments desir­able on a per­son­al and soci­etal lev­els? What if peo­ple that under­go such enhance­ment lose their abil­i­ty to relate to oth­er who have not? If a device can enhance deci­sion-mak­ing, how will the user know that’s it’s tru­ly their deci­sion, in their best inter­est, rather than being manip­u­lat­ed by the device design­ers? Keep read­ing arti­cle over at Forbes

Could you repeat that?” Study links hearing loss to brain aging

hearing_brainIt’s Not Your Ears, It’s Your Brain (UMD release):

Could you repeat that?” The rea­son you may have to say some­thing twice when talk­ing to old­er fam­i­ly mem­bers at Thanks­giv­ing din­ner may not be because of their hear­ing. Read the rest of this entry »

Michael Merzenich: Brain Plasticity offers Hope for Everyone

What­ev­er you strug­gle with in a sense as it stems from your neu­rol­o­gy, the inher­ent plas­tic­i­ty of the brain gives you a basis for improve­ment. This is a way under­uti­lized and under-appre­ci­at­ed resource that well all have.” Dr. Michael Merzenich on the Brain Sci­ence Pod­cast #54, 2/13/09.

Recent­ly there has been grow­ing con­tro­ver­sy about the effec­tive­ness of com­put­er-based cog­ni­tive train­ing pro­grams. As a co-founder of Posit Sci­ence, Inc. Dr. Michael Merzenich is a staunch defend­er of the meth­ods his com­pa­ny uses to val­i­date the pro­grams that they have devel­oped. But for the pur­pos­es of this essay, I want to share some of the key ideas we dis­cussed dur­ing his recent inter­view on the Brain Sci­ence Pod­cast.

First of all, I asked him to dis­cuss some of the high­lights of his long career. Since he was one of the first neu­ro­sci­en­tists to embrace the con­cepts of neu­ro­plas­tic­i­ty I was curi­ous about how this came about. While he did have some expo­sure to the ani­mal evi­dence as a grad­u­ate stu­dent, it was actu­al­ly his expe­ri­ence with the inven­tion of the cochlear implant that con­vinced Dr. Merzenich of the real-world, prac­ti­cal impli­ca­tions of brain plas­tic­i­ty. The qual­i­ty of the Read the rest of this entry »

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