Monday, February 21, 2011

Watson on Jeopardy

Have you been following "Watson" on Jeopardy? It appears this computer is performing at the level of some of the best Jeopardy players. Ray Kurzweil, you may recall, predicted that a computer would defeat the world chess champion by 1998. Indeed, Deep Blue defeated Gary Kasparov in 1997. You may find Kurzweil's blog on Watson interesting reading.


Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Parkinson's Disease (PD) Update

Do you know anyone whose brain is challenged with PD? Parkinson’s cases now known to have genetic origins are shedding light on the cellular mechanisms of all the rest, bringing researchers closer to a cause—and perhaps a cure. This is not only interesting but also exciting! Study results have shown some compelling evidence suggesting that loss-of-function mutations rendering three genes (parkin, PINK1 and DJ-1) functionally inactive, underlie common forms of autosomal-recessive PD. Identification and characterization of familial PD-linked genes has sparked an extremely fruitful line of research, delineating molecular pathways that are involved in the pathogenesis of PD.

Read more: The Genes of Parkinsons Disease - The Scientist - Magazine of the Life Sciences

Friday, February 4, 2011


Now that e-readers such as's "Kindle" are proliferating, studies about their benefits are beginning to surface. For example, Kindle was shown to be motivational for "less-enthusiastic" readers. That's one reason we have elected to upload the Aimi books to Kindle. Not only are the Aimi books designed to help children absorb helpful information about brain function, but also to motivate those who are electronically-oriented--to read. According to Larson, it's interesting to see the kinds of things the kids have been able to do: sometimes they make comments summarizing the plot, therefore reinforcing their understanding of the book. Other times they ponder character development, jotting down things like 'If I were him, I'd say no way!' Larson said, "As a teacher, I know a student understands the book if she's talking to the characters. . . If you take a look at those notes, it's like having a glimpse into their brains as they're reading."

Kansas State University (2010, April 17). Kindle e-reader motivates less-enthusiastic readers. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 24, 2010, from¬ /releases/2010/04/100416144546.htm

Lotta C. Larson. Digital Literacies e-Reading and e-Responding: New Tools for the Next Generation of Readers. Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, 53(3), 255%u2013258 DOI: 10.1598/JAAL.53.3.7