Dan Rather's Reports on Neuroplasticity

Today HDNet™ is re-showing an episode of Dan Rather Reports called "Mind Science."  It is an excellent review of neuroplasticity. It includes interviews with several leading scientists in the field.  I especially enjoyed seeing Nobel Laureate, Eric Kandel, talk about his work with memory.  (I talked about Kandel's work on the Brain Science Podcastin Episode 3 and Episode 12.)

"Mind Science" also features the Dalai Llama and scientist, Richard Davidson, talking about the evidence that meditation can change the brain.  Rather interviews Sharon Begley about her book, Train Your Mind, Change Your Brain: How a New Science Reveals Our Extraordinary Potential to Transform Ourselves  (which I discussed in detail in Episode 10 of the Brain Science Podcast).  Other scientists featured in the episode include Michael Merzenich on improving brain function as we age, and Dr. Edward Taub on his revolutionary approach to stroke rehabilitation.  (My show notes for Episode 10 include links for all the scientists interviewed by Rather.)

It was particulary gratifying to see Dr. Kandel endorse Ed Taub's Constraint-Induced Movement Therapy.  Dr. Taub was interviewed in Episode 28 of the Brain Science Podcast.  If you don't get HDNet™, you can watch Dan Rather Reports on-line, via podcast or on Facebook.

Summary of relevant episodes of the Brain Science Podcast::

"Memory: From Mind to Molecules" (BSP 12)

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This episode of the Brain Science Podcast is a discussion of memory based on the book, Memory: From Mind to Molecules (2000), by Larry R. Squire, and Eric R. Kandel.

How to get this episode:

  • Premium Subscribers now have unlimited access to all old episodes and transcripts.
  • Buy mp3 for $1
  • Transcripts: BSP 1-14
  • New episodes of the Brain Science Podcast are always FREE.  All episodes posted after January 1, 2013, are free.  See the individual show notes for links the audio files.

Show Notes

I highly recommend that you get this book for yourself if you want to read the details of the experiments.  The book contains excellent illustrations.

Some of the experimental animals mentioned in this episode include Aplysia (giant sea snails), drosophila (fruit flies), and mice.

Mechanisms of memory formation and storage seem to be shared from the simplest non-vertebrates up through humans.

Types of Memory:    declarative and non-declarative. Non-declarative memory is generally NOT subject to conscious awareness or control.

There are many different types of non-declarative memory including:

Declarative memory, which seems to be unique to animals that have a hippocampus and cerebral cortex, includes short-term (immediate and working memory) and long-term memory.  Much research has been devoted to discovering how and where long-term memory occurs.  The answer may surprise you.

This episode includes a discussion of some of the unanswered questions in memory research.

Review of Eric Kandel's "In Search of Memory" (BSP 3)

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Show Notes for Episode 3:  In Search of Memory, by Eric R Kandel

Dr. Eric R. Kandel won the Nobel Prize for Medicine in 2000 for his work with the giant marine snail Aplysia.  His work helped uncovered the molecular mechanisms of short- and long-term memory.

In this episode, I talk about Dr. Kandel’s autobiography, In Search of Memory: The Emergence of a New Science of Mind.  The focus of the podcast is what has been learned about how memory works.  A key principle is that the molecular mechanisms of memory are the same in all animals, including people.

There is lots of good information on the web about Aplysia’s role in understanding learning and memory.  If you know of a particularly good website for non-specialists, please leave a comment on this page.  

How to get this episode:

  • Premium Subscribers now have unlimited access to all old episodes and transcripts.
  • Buy BSP 1-10 (zip file of mp3 files)
  • Transcripts: BSP 1-14
  • New episodes of the Brain Science Podcast are always FREE.  All episodes posted after January 1, 2013, are free.  See the individual show notes for links the audio files.

Send me feedback at brainsciencepodcast@gmail.com.