Sunday, January 15, 2006

CBS News | Retraining The Brain

"It is hard to tell by watching her, but 4-year old Harper Thomas is participating in what may be a medical revolution. So are Betty and Ernie Radez, aged 87 and 85, respectively.

All three are using cutting edge therapies to rewire their brains. Treating serious medical conditions with neither drugs nor surgery.

'Everybody thinks that the answers to the ills of humankind lie with pharmacology, gene therapy or stem cells, right?' asks neuroscientist Dr. Michael Merzenich.

'That's where the answers are, but another set of answers is coming from a surprising source; right? It's the use, it's the understanding of the process of the brain,' Merzenich tells CBS News correspondent John Blackstone.

Merzenich is a leading developer of therapies based on what's called brain plasticity, which he defines as, 'the capacity of the brain to change itself. It actually changes physically, functionally, in ways that you can measure.' "

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