Events

Effects of man-made materials on the brain

Bruce Lanphear, who is affiliated with Simon Fraser University and BC Children’s Hospital, discusses the effects of lead on the brain in a Globe & Mail article published today. In “Brain Imaging measures effects of lead on development“, Lanphear states that reducing levels of pollutants in the environment will decrease the rate of learning and behavioural problems in children. Heavy metals change the circuitry of the brain, and this is now proven via research using advances in imaging technology to show changes in the brain’s structure. Researchers in North America are currently studying the effects on the developing brain of various man-made materials: pesticides, air pollution, tobacco smoke, and bisphenol A.

~

Post by M. Love

Changing your brain

CBC released a new documentary on the brain, and how very changeable it is. Literally. Various activities, from “mindfulness” (another word for meditation), to video games aimed to reduce auditory hallucinations. Norman Doidge, authour of The Brain that Changes Itself, hosts this documentary. Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, and Schizophrenia, are some of the illnesses being significantly altered through new techniques. The effect of these techniques can be clearly seen on real-time brain imaging, specifically on functional MRI. The patients brains recover so that activity in their brains closely resemble the activity in a normal brain, no longer caught in pathological traps. See this fascinating documentary on the Nature of Things, CBC Documentaries: Changing Your Mind.

~

Post by M. Love

NIH awards $40 million in grants to map the human brain.

On September 15, 2010, the National Institutes of Health designated $40 million towards mapping connections in the human brain. The Human Connectome Project aims to transform our understanding of the human brain, leading to better treatment for medical illnesses. How the brain changes over the course of a life time will also be studied, revealing the dimensions of neuroplasticity that sculpt our interpretation of the world. State-of-the-art neuroimaging instruments, analysis tools and informatics technologies will be combined to support advances in brain health. For more information, see the news article on the National Institute of Health site.