More on CI Therapy with Ed Taub (BSP 120)

More on CI Therapy with Ed Taub (BSP 120)

BSP 120 is the second half of our interview with Dr. Edward Taub who leads the ongoing development of Constraint Induced (CI) Therapy. We continue to explore the role of learned non-use as well as the expansion of CI Therapy beyond stroke to include traumatic brain injury (TBI) and even spinal cord injuries.

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"Neuroplasticity and Healing" (BSP 113)

Click to play BSP 113

Click to play BSP 113

The Dalai Lama's first visit to Alabama included several large public gatherings but I was invited to attend "Neuroplasticity and Healing," which was the scientific symposium he hosted at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB). The featured neuroscientists were Dr. Edward Taub and Dr. Michael Merzenich. The moderator was Dr. Norman Doidge.

The Dalai Lama has a long-standing interest in science and he told the rapt audience that his four areas of interest are cosmology, physics, neurobiology, and psychology.

He is very interested in neuroplasticity and his visit to Alabama was actually prompted by a desire to see the work of Dr. Edward Taub who has pioneered a revolutionary approach to stroke rehabilitation. During this event Dr. Taub and Dr. Merzenich both shared how their work in brain plasticity is being used to help people with a variety of neurological challenges, but Dr. Merzenich also emphasized that these same principles can be applied by everyone. He explained that brain plasticity "is a two way process," which means that the choices we make are important. The Dalai Lama noted that Eastern practices like Meditation "work from the inside out," which is why he feels that Buddhist psychology and modern neuroscience can inform each other.

Episode 113 of the Brain Science Podcast includes audio excerpts from "Neuroplasticity and Healing" as well as my summary of the key ideas. Extras for the Mobile app include a free download of BSP 26 with Dr. Norman Doidge.

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How to get this episode:

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  • 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.

Links and References:

Related Episodes of the Brain Science Podcast:

  • BSP 10: Introduction to Brain Plasticity (Discussion of Train Your Mind, Change Your Brain)

  • BSP 26: Norman Doidge, MD, author of The Brain That Changes Itself

  • BSP 28: Edward Taub, PhD: applies brain plasticity to Stroke Rehab

  • BSP 54: Michael Merzenich, pioneer of Neuroplasticity

  • BSP 105: Michael Merzenich talks about Soft-Wired: How the New Science of Brain Plasticity Can Change Your Life


  • Next month's episode will be our 8th Annual Review Episode.

  • The most recent 25 episodes of the Brain Science Podcast are always FREE. Older episodes and episode transcripts are available for $1 each. Premium subscribers have unlimited access to all 100+ episodes and transcripts.

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The Dalai Lama explores Neuroplasticity (BSP 113)

The scientific highlight of the Dalai Lama's first visit to Alabama was an invitation-only event called "Neuroplasticity and Healing," which was held at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB). BSP 113 features exclusive coverage of that event.

Click here to play the audio. Right click to download the mp3 file.

The episode transcript and full show notes will be posted next week.

Guests Who Have Been on the Brain Science Podcast

The Brain Science Podcast provides a unique opportunity for scientists and writers to discuss their work and ideas in depth. Here is a list of the guests who have been interviewed. This list is complete through June 13, 2008.
  • Michael Arbib, PhD: The role of mirror neurons in imitation and language; Episode 39.
  • Sandra Blakeslee: co-author of The Body Has a Mind of Its Own: How Body Maps in Your Brain Help You Do (Almost) Everything Better; Episode 23.
  • Louanne Brizendine MD: author of The Female Brain; Episode 20.
  • György Buzsáki, PhD: author of Rhythms of the Brain; Episode 31. (Interview Transcript)
  • Norman Doidge, MD: author of The Brain That Changes Itself: Stories of Personal Triumph from the Frontiers of Brain Science; Episode 26.
  • Arthur Glenberg, PhD: Embodied cognition; Episode 36.
  • Elkhonon Goldberg, PhD: author of The Executive Brain: Frontal Lobes and the Civilized Mind and The Wisdom Paradox; Episode 18.
  • Jeff Hawkins: author of On Intelligence; Episode 38.
  • Rachel Herz, PhD: author of The Scent of Desire: Discovering our Enigmatic Sense of Smell; Episode 34.
  • Christof Koch, PhD: author of The Quest for Consciousness: A Neurobiological Approach; Episode 22. Interview transcript:
  • John Medina, PhD: author of Brain Rules: 12 Principles for Surviving and Thriving at Work, Home, and School; Episode 37.
  • Read Montague, PhD: author of Why Choose This Book?: How We Make Decisions; Episode 15.
  • Rolf Pfiefer, PhD: author of How the Body Shapes the Way We Think: A New View of Intelligence ; Episode 25.
  • John J Ratey, MD: author of Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain; Episode 33.
  • Stuart Shanker, PhD: How the study of communication among bonobos provides clues about the role of emotional signaling in the evolution of language; Episode 7.
  • Edward Taub, PhD: revolutionary approach to stroke rehabilitation; Episode 28.
  • Maryanne Wolf, PhD: author of Proust and the Squid: The Story and Science of the Reading Brain; Episode 29.


You can find all the books discussed on the Brain Science Podcast at the Brain Science Store.

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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::

Treating Vets with Mirrors

Jamie Davis of MedicCast sent me a link to an interesting article from the CNN website.  It describes how mirror box therapy is being used to help veterans who have suffered amputations in Iraq and Afghanistan.  Those of you who heard Sandra Blakeslee's interview about body maps back in Episode 23 will remember that she described how her son built the first mirror box for VS Ramachandran several years ago, while working as a graduate student.

It is good to see that military physicians are beginning to apply some of the recent findings of neuroscience to helping injured vets, but you may also recall that when we talked with Dr. Edward Taub about stroke rehab, he reported the difficulty of getting new methods of head injury treatment into the VA clinics.

link to article about mirrors:

Easter Seals Announces Program to Help Vets with Head Injuries

In a recent interview with Dr. Edward Taub (Brain Science Podcast #28), we learned that Constraint-Induced Movement Therapy has been shown to help people with traumatic brain injuries, but that the Veteran's Administration has been slow to acknowledge the needs of veterans returning from Iraq and  Afghanistan.  Fortunately, the problem seems to be receiving increasing attention.

The January 25th episode of the Science Magazine podcast discusses an article exploring the possible mechanisms of brain injury ocurring in near-blast conditions, where often the effects may be delayed and subtle.

Also, Easter Seals has just announced that it is funding a program that will provide access to Michael Merzenich's highly regarded Posit Science Program, an on-line program originally developed to help older patients regain and maintain their mental agility.  I don't know if they have done any work with traumatic brain injury, but the program certainly shows promise.


Edward Taub's Revolutionary Approach to Stroke Rehabilitation (BSP 28)


Edward Taub, PhD, pioneer of Constraint-Induced Movement Therapy

Episode 28 of the Brain Science Podcast is an interview with Dr. Edward Taub, who for the last 20+ years has been pioneering the use of Constraint-Induced Movement Therapy in the rehabilitation of stroke and other neurological disabilities.  I have talked about his work in previous episodes (including Episode 10 and Episode 26) as an important example of the practical implications of brain plasticity. 

In this interview,  Dr. Taub shares his personal experiences in the front lines of clinical research, including both its rewards and frustrations.  He also explains the basics of how constraint-induced therapy (CI Therapy) works and how his work is being expanded to help patients with a wide variety of problems including cerebral palsy, head trauma, multiple sclerosis, and focal hand dystonia.

How to get this episode:

  • Premium Subscribers now have unlimited access to all old episodes and transcripts.
  • Buy mp3 for $1.
  • Buy Transcript for $1.
  • 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.

Links and References:

Dr. Taub recommends that interested listeners do their own Google search under "constraint-induced movement therapy" or CI Therapy, but I have included a few links below:

About Dr. Taub:

Other Links: