BOSTON — Alzheimer’s disease currently afflicts 5 million Americans; one American is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s every 70 seconds. There is no known cure, and the suggestion that Alzheimer's can be prevented is deeply debated within the scientific community — can doing crossword puzzles, for example, really help stave off the degenerative effects of the disease? Dr. Gary Small, UCLA neuroscientist argues that there are in fact steps we can take to at least delay the symptoms of mental decline. Here, he offers tips for keeping the brain healthy through exercise, diet, and stress management that may at least result in better quality of life. View the full lecture on WGBH's Forum Network.
BOSTON — Neuroscience has long focused on the functionality of the different regions of the brain. But two neuroscientists, Sebastian Seung of MIT, and Jeff Lichtman of Harvard University, are arguing for a revolution, stating that this approach does not provide enough information to truly understand the complex functioning of the human brain. They believe that the key to the brain's activity lies in the connections between brain cells. Seung and a dedicated group of researchers are leading the effort to map these connections, neuron by neuron, synapse by synapse -- a development previously unobtainable due to the incredible computing power needed. The result would be a map of the brain's activity referred to as the "connectome", analogous to the genome.
If they succeed, they hope to reveal a more complete understanding of the brain's workings, uncovering the basis of personality, identity, intelligence, memory, and perhaps disorders such as autism and schizophrenia. Here, Seung and Lichtman give an overview of the importance of mapping the connections of the brain, and the new technologies they are employing in their endeavor. View the full lecture on WGBH's Forum Network.