Sunday, July 26, 2009

Kandel & Doidge: Neuroplasticity & Memory.

In a previous post Nobel: Kandel and Lohengrin:

"Different forms of learning result in memories by changing that strength in different ways. Short-term memory results from transient changes that last minutes and does not require any new synthesis of proteins, Kandel said. However, long-term memories are based in more lasting changes of days to weeks that do require new brain protein to be synthesized. And this synthesis requires the input of the neuron’s genes." Eric Kandel.

He was the winner of the Nobel Prize for 2000. In his book In Search Of Memory, he remembered his arrival in New York in 1939 after a year under the Nazi in Vienna:

Eric Kandel/Amazon

My grandfather and I liked each other a great deal, and he readily convinced me that he should tutor me in Hebrew during the summer of 1939 so that I might be eligible for a scholarship at the Yeshiva of Flatbush, an excellent Hebrew parochial school that offered both secular and religious studies at a very high level. With his tutelage I entered the Yeshiva in the fall of 1939. By the time I graduated in 1944 I spoke Hebrew almost as well as English, had read through the five books of Moses, the books of Kings, the Prophets and the Judges in Hebrew, and also learned a smattering of the Talmud.”

He went on:

“It gave me both pleasure and pride to learn later that Baruch S. Blumberg, who won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1976, had also benefited from the extraordinary educational experience provided by the Yeshivah of Flatbush.”

In Hebrew and English!!! That did not seem to have done him and Blumberg much harm. Right now some governments seem hell bent in doing away with rote learning and that includes some medical schools.

NORMAN DOIDGE when interviewed about his book The Brain That Changes Itself:

Norman Doidge Webpage

“Well, for the longest time, for 400 years, we thought of the brain as like a complex machine with parts. And our best and brightest neuroscientists really believed that. It was a mechanistic model of the brain and machines do many glorious things, but they don't rewire themselves and they don't grow new parts. And it turns out that that metaphor was actually just spectacularly wrong, and that the brain is not inanimate, it's animate and it's growing, it's more plant like than machine like and it actually works by changing its structure and function as it goes along.

“Sure. In the '60s, there were things that were part of a kind of classical education that people did away with 'cause they thought that they were irrelevant like an almost fanatical attention to elocution and handwriting, or memorising long poems. But, it now turns out that what these activities did is they exercised very important parts of the brain that allow you to think in long sentences, have deep internal monologues and a certain amount of grace in all kinds of expression. And probably a lot of damage was done by doing away with these exercises that were there for good reasons we didn't understand.

Links:Latin Latin revival? Brain Fitness Book,

Autobiography: Eric Kandel

Related posts:

Nobel: Kandel and Lohengrin

Lohengrin: Speech Disability, Design & Hypertension

Autism, the Brain and Tiger Woods

'The Knowledge' and the Brain

A Book Review: Knowledge, Ginkgo, Software & Brain Fitness


Anonymous said...

Met someone that wrote a book called Climbing Back, about her son's recovery.

website said...

I read this book because I really enjoyed the way my neurobiology textbook by Eric Kandel was written. I found his autobiography to be just as enjoyable, I very much liked how much topics like history and art were spoken about in depth.