Thursday, April 3, 2008

Brain Rules by Dr. John Medina

A brain surgeon or rocket scientist is usually considered top of the intellectual ladder, but not necessarily the most entertaining person in the world . . . until now, that is. Meet Dr. John Medina, a brain doctor who makes learning about the brain down-right amusing. As he’ll tell you, a lively environment—along with exercise—is what people need for good learning.

His Brain Rule #1: Exercise boosts brain power. Movement is good not only for bones and muscles, but also produces proteins that “work like Miracle GrowÒ for your brain.” Other information from his book can help you maintain or improve your vitality:
§ Stress damages cognition.
§ We are capable of learning our entire lives.
§ Multi-tasking reduces effectiveness.
§ Sleep is good for you! Take a nap if you need to.
§ Stimulate your senses, sight, sound, smell, taste, and touch, for a full experience of life. (In other words, this computer screen is lacking some components necessary for optimal brain function.)
§ And in the interests of full disclosure, pictures are better than bullet points. His video, “Death by Power Point,” is very funny.

You can experience Dr. Medina’s knowledge and wit on his website, This video from YouTube highlights the importance of activity.

I hope that some of his ideas become the norm: walking meetings, treadmill conference rooms, or moving workstations. We’d be more productive and more comfortable. I also like the contrast between playful children and working adults in the video. Perhaps what we really need is a game of dodge ball before lunch.

If you’re in Seattle, Dr. Medina will speak at the Seattle Town Center on Thursday, April 10, at 7:30 pm. The cost is $5.

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