Neuroplasticity: A Review of its Discovery (BSP 10)


In this episode of the Brain Science Podcast we explore the recent research that has established, contrary to long-standing dogma, that our brains our able to change throughout our lives, based on our experience.

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.

Show Notes

The reference for this episode is Train Your Mind, Change Your Brain: How a New Science Reveals Our Extraordinary Potential to Transform Ourselves, by Sharon Begley.  This book describes the 2004 meeting between the Dalai Llama and several leading neuroscientists.  To learn more about these meetings, go to the Mind and Life Institute website.  All the studies that I mention in the podcast are referenced in the back of the book.

Here is a list of the some of the scientists and their work:

  • Michael Meany- McGill University: He has shown that the way that a mother rat treats her babies determine which genes in the baby's brain are turned on and which are turned off.
  • Fred Gage- the Salk Institute:  His work with lab animals showed that adult brains do change.  (more from Google)
  • Helen Neville-University of Oregon: She has shown that the auditory and visual cortices are rewired in people who are born blind or deaf.
  • Phillip Shaver-UC-Davis: He is a pioneer in attachment theory: how people's sense of emotional security, acquired in childhood, affects their adult behavior, including their response to other ethnic groups and their willingness to help others.
  • Richard Davidson-Wisconsin:  He has done studies showing how the brain is changed by meditation.
  • Edward Taub- University of Alabama in Birmingham:  He helped develop a revolutionary treatment for stroke victims.
  • Jeffery Schwartz-UCLA:  He has used mindfulness meditation to treat obsessive compulsive disorder, showing that meditation can change the brain in beneficial ways.
  • Jon Kabat-Zinn- University of Massachusetts:  He has done many years of work using mindfulness meditation to treat stress related diseases.
  • Michael Merzenich:  Pioneer researcher who also founded FastForward™ and Posit Science™.

More Links of Interest:

I am sure this list is incomplete.  If you have a question or comment about a topic mentioned on the show, leave a comment below, or send me email at