June 20, 2003

Self improvement  

Now they've found a way to make you smarter by magnetizing your brain. The phenomenon is apparently related to the condition of savants, who are able to perform incredible tasks but have significant social or lingustic limitations. It sounds like a step forward (especially for autism research), but I have to say the idea of magnetically enhanced painters and novelists gives me the creeps.

On a related note, Dwight Meredith at PLA is using this study as an excuse to promote bridge. It's pretty clear from the article that the study only dealt with aged subjects, so it's probably a bit rash to conclude that playing bridge now will save you from Alzheimers. On the other hand, playing when you're young may make playing when you're old more fun (ie you'll be able to beat everybody). And then there's my grandmother - she played bridge all her life and then gave it up a few years back for Scrabble, which doesn't appear in the article but seems to have kept her in good stead.


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