CEREBRUM 2010: Emerging Ideas in Brain Science, Foreword by Benjamin S. Carson, Sr., M.D.
Available February 2010

Cerebrum 2010  offers a feast for readers keen to know what the world’s leading thinkers see as the newest ideas and implications arising from discoveries about the brain. Drawn from Cerebrum’s highly regarded Web edition, this fourth annual collection brings together the foremost experts in brain science. Jay Giedd, Michael Posner, Mariale Hardiman, David Kupfer and Paul McHugh present their research – and their take – on such cutting-edge topics as the development of the teen brain, how arts education affects intelligence, the limitations of brain imaging, and how to bring more certainty and flexibility to diagnosis in the next edition of the psychiatric bible, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-V).

Benjamin S. Carson Sr., director of pediatric neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins Children’s Center and a professor of neurological surgery, oncology, plastic surgery and pediatrics at the Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions, provides an insightful perspective on the impact of neuroscience on his career, the well-being of patients, and the understanding of how the mind works.

Cerebrum 2010 presents candid, intriguing debates that capture the harmony as well as the discord in the  complex and evolving relationship between neuroscience and society.


able of Contents

▶ Foreword       Benjamin S. Carson Sr., M.D.

▶ Chapter 1:      The Science of Education: Informing Teaching and Learning Through the Brain Sciences

Mariale M. Hardiman, Ed.D., and Martha Bridge Denckla, M.D.

▶ Chapter 2:      How Arts Training Improves Attention and Cognition

Michael Posner, Ph.D., with Brenda Patoine

▶ Chapter 3:      What Can Dance Teach Us About Learning?

Scott T. Grafton, M.D.

▶ Chapter 4:      A Debate on “Multiple Intelligences”

Howard Gardner, Ph.D., and James Traub

▶ Chapter 5:      The Teen Brain: Primed to Learn, Primed to Take Risks

Jay N. Giedd, M.D.

▶ Chapter 6:      Video Games Affect the Brain – For Better and Worse

Douglas A. Gentile, Ph.D.

▶ Chapter 7:      Updating the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders

David J. Kupfer, M.D., Emily A. Kuhl, Ph.D., William E. Narrow, M.D., M.P.H., and Darrel A. Regier, M.D., M.P.H.; Paul McHugh, M.D.

▶ Chapter 8:      Using Deep Brain Stimulation on the Mind: Handle with Care

Mahlon R. DeLong, M.D.

▶ Chapter 9:      Neuroimaging: Separating the Promise from the Pipe Dreams

Russell A. Poldrack, Ph.D.

▶ Chapter 10:   Why So Many Seniors Get Swindled: Brain Anomalies and Poor Decision-making in

Older Adults

Natalie Denburg, Ph.D., with Lyndsay Harshman, B.S.

▶ Chapter 11:   Wired for Hunger: The Brain and Obesity

Marcelo O. Dietrich, M.D., and Tamas L. Horvath, D.V.M., Ph.D.

▶ Chapter 12:   Vitamin D and the Brain: More Good News

R. Douglas Shytle, Ph.D., and Paula C. Bickford, Ph.D.

▶ Chapter 13:   Religion and the Brain: A Debate

Dimitrios Kapogiannis, M.D., and Jordan Grafman, Ph.D.; Andrew Newberg, M.D.

Book Reviews

▶ Chapter 14:   Decisions Are Not So Simple

How We Decide By Jonah Lehrer

Reviewed by Scott A. Huettel, Ph.D.

▶ Chapter 15:   Synesthesia: Another World of Perception

Wednesday Is Indigo Blue: Discovering the Brain of Synesthesia

By Richard E. Cytowic, M.D., and David M. Eagleman, Ph.D.

Reviewed by Julian E. Asher, Ph.D.

▶ Chapter 16:   Weighing in on “Conditioned Hypereating”

The End of Overeating: Taking Control of the Insatiable American Appetite

By David A. Kessler, M.D.

Reviewed by Lisa J. Merlo, Ph.D., and Mark S. Gold, M.D.

▶ Chapter 17:   Our Neurotech Future

The Neuro Revolution: How Brain Science Is Changing Our World

By Zack Lynch with Byron Laursen

Reviewed by Michael F. Huerta, Ph.D.


 “Cerebrum does it again. The best minds in brain science tell us what’s new about how we learn and what makes us intelligent; why teens take risks and older adults make bad decisions; new strategies for understanding and caring for people with brain disorders; and what frames our values, beliefs, and sense of spirituality. The book is as cutting-edge as it down-to-earth: true, in every way, to the legacy of William Safire.”

—Judy Illes, Ph.D., Canada Research Chair in Neuroethics

A fascinating survey of all the ways neuroscience is touching our lives—from potential new treatments for mental disorders to a deeper understanding of what makes life worth living.

-Carl Zimmer, author of Soul Made Flesh: The Discovery of the Brain and How It Changed the World

This richly textured collection ranges from the influences of vitamin D and training in the arts to the maturational developments at puberty and the value of deep brain stimulation. As a dividend, there are balanced discussions of the controversies surrounding the meaning and validity of multiple intelligences, profiles of blood flow, and the psychiatrists’ diagnostic manual. Don’t miss this marvelous addition to the Dana Press series.

-Jerome Kagan, Ph.D., emeritus professor of psychology, Harvard University






The Science of Learning

 Whether or not a teacher understands fundamental concepts derived from basic brain science, such as plasticity, can have a profound effect on how he or she views the learner. Many classroom teachers today, for example, were trained at a time when scientists thought the brain was fixed at birth and changeable only in direction: degeneration due to aging, injury or disease. Such a misunderstanding of brain anatomy and physiology would limit a teacher’s view of the learning capacity of children, especially those who enter the classroom lagging behind their peers. For example, a teacher may think that a fifth-grader who has filed to master basic mathematics skills will struggle with math because of limited cognitive capacities.

Contrast this view with contemporary knowledge that the brain constantly changes with experience, make new brain cell connection (synapses), strengthens connections through repeated use and practice, and even produces new cells in certain regions. Imagine how differently a teacher armed with this information would view students’ capacity for learning. Knowing that experiences change the brain might encourage this teacher armed with this information would view students’ capacity for learning.  Knowing that experiences change the brain might encourage this teacher to design targeted remedial lessons. Engaging the student in multiple, creative math-oriented tasks might do more than increase achievement: It might actually change brain circuitry.

Cognitive neuroscientists also providing new insights into the brain’s executive functions. For example, we are learning more about the brain’s executive functions.  For example, we are learning more about the brain’s capacity to retain new information in working memory until the tasks that depend on this information are completed. We are also discovering the importance of the cognitive and emotional control people use to arrive at judgments and to make decisions. Valuable contributions to our understanding of these abilities in healthy children have been provided by imaging brain anatomy and connectivity in children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Findings suggest that ADHD symptoms may represent developmental delay rather than damage in the brain, and that neural

circuitry with such protracted development may be exquisitely sensitive to environmental and experiential influences, which may even alter brain structures. Careful, mindful child-rearing and education are crucial for the development of the brain regions and connections that underlie executive functions…

Research demonstrating the effects of emotions on learning provides another example of how teaching involves not only transmitting information but also crafting classroom climates that promote learning. Teachers may know intuitively that an atmosphere of stress and anxiety impedes children’s learning, yet many common practices in the classrooms, such as embarrassing a child or making sarcastic rather than constructive comments, can create stressful environments. Teachers who understand the brain’s emotional wiring connects with the prefrontal cortex—the center for higher-order thought—would appreciate the need to provide their students with a positive emotional connection to learning.

Other research highlights the role of motivation in learning and cognition. Studies by Michael Posner, Ph.D., professor emeritus of psychology at the University of Oregon, indicate that children who receive training in a subject that interests them, such as the visual arts, become highly motivated. This motivation sustains their attention, and the result is an improvement in cognition...