EFSC Part 2

Dr. Conway: Besides all the work that I’ve done with children and adults and kids, I’ve spent a dozen years doing stroke rehabilitation research. I’m not that old, really. I just have got very involved at a very young age. I know I’m at least ten years younger than your dean over here. But in that stroke rehab research, the question was – when there’s visible brain damage and we can measure it on the MRI can you really re-train the brain. What do you think the answer is? [Yes]What do you think the deciding factors are? [intensity, frequency and specificity] same three things.

Dr. Conway: Doesn’t matter if there’s damage to it .Doesn’t matter if there’s a developmentally genetic weakness. It means you’re trying to rewire the brain. Good news is – how many brain cells do you typically have in your brain? Give me a guess. Miss – how many brain cells? Don’t worry – no one else knows the answer either. What’s your best guess? [Millions] Bill says 100 billion. Bill has heard me speak before (laughs)

Dr. Conway: When you’ve got 100 billion brain cells, you’ve got a lot of potential for new learning. Your college students and those of you who are college students have amazing learning potential. But the real question is – but okay -how about one brain cell? How many learning connections can one brain cell be involved in? Sir – What do you think? One neuron – how many connections or networks do you think it can be involved in [Dr Conway polls crowd – answers from two to infinite]

Dr. Conway: Try forty thousand. They estimate that one brain cell can be networked in up to forty thousand network connections because the brain has phenomenal communication abilities. You’ve heard about synaptic connections where the brain cells have to be close to each other. There is also one called saltatory conduction. It’s where the signal is coming down that wire, the brain cell, it actually jumps in a bare spot out into the fluid and goes to another cell and hits it in a bare spot and goes down another cell – it doesn’t actually have to connect it.

Dr. Conway: So the brain has amazing potential for learning. It all comes down to – what do you actually have the brain doing?