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15 November 2006 @ 09:33 am
"Pity the poor neurologists of yesteryear, saddled as they were with their conviction that our brains are hardwired after childhood. Then celebrate today’s scientists, who are exploiting brain-imaging technologies to show that our brains are capable of profound and permanent alterations throughout our lives. Neurologist Richard Restak does just that in The New Brain: How the Modern Age Is Rewiring Your Mind, even as he argues that we are being negatively altered by the sound-bite, techno environment in which we live. Technology such as functional magnetic resonance imaging, Restak begins, can now demonstrate that as a musician practices for many hours, certain neural pathways are strengthened. He then moves to a profound implication, namely that all kinds of technological stimuli are forging brain circuits that may hurt us instead of helping us. For instance, he cites correlations between positron emission tomography scans of violent people and normal experimental subjects who are simply thinking about fighting, then asserts that repeated viewing of violence on television and in video games can set up brain circuits that make us more likely to initiate real-world fisticuffs. Unfortunately, such brain imaging may leave more questions than answers. As Restak himself points out, the technology does not provide "neurological explanations," just "important correlations." Yet he is whipped up enough to diagnose all of modern society with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, the probable result of brain changes we are initiating in our media-saturated world. He reminds us of the antidote, though: we are still in control of what we allow ourselves to see and hear. In the end, Restak fails to create a sense that scientists have revealed a new way of understanding the brain. And the images that inspire speculation in the book still await research that may finally reveal the mechanisms of such phenomena as memory and aggression,"
- quoting Scientific American about Richards Restak's book The New Brain: How the Modern Age Is Rewiring Your Mind.


Freak Needle Accident: George Bernard Shawfreakneedle on November 15th, 2006 05:50 pm (UTC)
Very interesting stuff... thanks for sharing.

Medea d'Colchismedea_dcolchis on November 15th, 2006 10:33 pm (UTC)
Glad you liked it.