Category Archives: Cognitive Impairment in Children

The unity of the mind and the physical world…

August 11th, 2007 by Michael Merzenich

Stephen was inspired by an earlier exchange of blog entries and comments to raise another question about the origins of “the observer and what the observer sees”. He writes:

“I read a fascinating description at the end of a book on Special Relativity by the late physicist David Bohm which implied that all the perception of external objects is really done by the mind in a very deep sense. That is, there is a very direct connection between the observer and what the observer sees. This implies …read more

When you see autism emerging…

August 10th, 2007 by Michael Merzenich

I have a wonderful niece (Lea Ann Thompson) who owns and manages a residence facility for autistic and other impaired young people in Salem, Oregon. Lea Ann and her husband Matt are full of good spirits and do-goodness, with two young sons of her own. Here, she asks a question that commonly arises out there in our modern world:

“I have a friend — and no it is not my boys — her son is about 18 months old and is exhibiting signs of autism. I don’t want to bring it up to her unless I have …read more

Old, but good

August 9th, 2007 by Michael Merzenich

My wife Diane and I spent a weekend several weeks ago at the National Academy of Sciences center at Woods Hole, in a beautiful coastal location near the southern base of Cape Cod. The National Academies hold several meetings each year for a group of special senior advisor’s (their ‘President’s Club’), and in part because I had good reasons to meet with scientists and friends in Boston on Friday and Saturday, I agreed to participate. The subject of the meeting was “Smart Prostheses”, …read more

Abby has her ups and downs

August 8th, 2007 by Michael Merzenich

I thought that I’d give you a brief update on how little Abby is doing. As you may remember, my daughter’s 4-year-old niece suffered from several minutes of asphyxiation in a playground accident. She emerged from a week-long coma with clear physical and behavioral signs of subcortical brain damage.

Abby is now a month out, and is still in the rehabilitation hospital. She’ll probably be there for another 2 months (or longer). Abby is still stiff, and is still being treated with …read more

What’s it all about?

August 7th, 2007 by Michael Merzenich

I initiated this blog for two reasons. First, I sought to provide neuroscience-related information to care-givers and to citizens who might benefit from a brain plasticity-informed perspective. There is an ongoing revolution in brain science that bears powerful implications for our understanding of human neurological and psychiatric impairments and disease, and that informs us about a broad new class of ‘organic’ strategies for ameliorating or overcoming them. That science tells us, with …read more

Reactive attachment disorder. Part 2.

August 5th, 2007 by Michael Merzenich

If you did not read yesterday’s entry, do that first, before reading today’s followup.

The situation in a nutshell: An adopted Chinese girl, now 3.5 years of age, has a “reactive attachment disorder” that is commonly expressed by night terrors, parental rejection and an overlay of other cognitive problems. Every standard therapy has been tried, without much success. What can we say about the neurology of this situation as it applies to the child and to her primary caregivers that might be helpful …read more

A note on “Reactive Attachment Disorder”

August 3rd, 2007 by Michael Merzenich

About two weeks ago, I received the email letter posted below. I promised the correspondent that I would respond to this heartfelt plea on this blog. As I sit down writing this response, I rue making that promise. The origins of “Reactive Attachment Disorder” are difficult to explain, and strategies to ameliorate it are equally difficult to wrestle with. Let’s begin talking about it after you read the first part of the email message that induced my response.

“Our adopted granddaughter (3 …read more

Struggling high-school-age readers break out!

August 3rd, 2007 by Michael Merzenich

We often receive feedback from school administrators, teachers, and therapists like that expressed in the note below. Because they are anecdotal, they usually die in my email Inbox. I thought that I’d post one, just so you get the flavor of what has been a common message:

“I have been in the public and private education business for over 30 years and have worked as a teacher, coach, principal, teacher trainer and assistant superintendent. I have served in high schools with (a) majority of …read more

A City on the Move: “The Jacksonville Brain Summit”

July 27th, 2007 by Michael Merzenich

I’m in Jacksonville, Florida today, participating in what is a very unusual and special event –– “The Jacksonville Brain Summit”. In an earlier entry, I told you that Jacksonville has adopted a leadership position in their use of the most advanced brain-science-based strategies to improve the academic performance and the mature working skills and performance abilities of its citizenry. Their efforts have been inspired by a combination of great leadership and vision from the …read more

When brain injury hits home

July 16th, 2007 by Michael Merzenich

Because my research has focused on the neuroscience of rehabilitation for several decades, I have received hundreds of email messages, letters and telephone calls from parents and grand-parents desperately seeking help for their brain-damaged or developmentally-impaired child or grand-child. Because the losses suffered from brain injury and developmental disabilities expressed in this correspondence is usually daunting, and because it is so difficult to understand their nature and their true …read more