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Merzenich Elected to Institute of Medicine

SAN FRANCISCO, Oct. 13 /PRNewswire/ -- Michael Merzenich, PhD., co-founder and Chief Scientific Officer of Posit Science, has been elected to the Institute of Medicine according to an announcement by the Institute today. Dr. Merzenich is one of 65 newly elected members.

Members are elected through a highly selective process that recognizes people who have made major contributions to the advancement of the medical sciences, health care, and public health. Election is considered one of the highest honors in the fields of medicine and health. There are currently just 1,736 members.

The Institute of Medicine is one of the membership branches of the National Academies, which also includes the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering. Dr. Merzenich has previously been honored by election to the National Academy of Sciences, making him one of a very select group elected to more than one academy. All are private, non-profit institutions that provide science, technology, and health policy advice under a congressional charter. New members are elected by current members of each institution.

Most members of the Institute of Medicine are medical doctors. Dr. Merzenich is not. His research work over the past three decades, at UCSF and at companies he has founded, has focused on how the science of brain plasticity can improve brain health. Dr. Merzenich co-founded Posit Science in October 2003, with the mission of getting discoveries in the lab quickly turned into products that can improve the lives of people.

Posit Science computer-based training programs are designed to enhance cognitive abilities of people as they grow older. The technology used by Posit Science has been shown to be effective in numerous randomized controlled trials and has been reported on in more than 30 published papers.

More than 100,000 copies of the programs have been sold for home use, and thousands of additional people use the programs daily in brain fitness classes at hundreds of locations. The programs also are being used in a number of clinical trials addressing neurological diseases and disorders and by more than 200 medical doctors.

"Dr. Merzenich's life is a testament to the value of basic and translational research," said Jeff Zimman, Chairman of Posit Science. "While his previous election to the National Academy of Sciences underscored the importance of brain plasticity research to science, this election seems to underscore the coming of age of that research in the fields of medicine and health."

Dr. Merzenich may be best known today for his featured role in the 2007 public television pledge drive special "The Brain Fitness Program," which has aired more than 10,000 times on some 170 PBS stations. The television program has been so popular that a sequel will air starting in November. However, Dr. Merzenich has been known to his fellow researchers for decades, because of his seminal and ongoing research into the "plasticity" or "malleability" of adult brains.

He has been honored with many other awards, including the Ipsen Prize, Zulch Prize, Thomas Alva Edison Award, Purkinje Medal, and Karl Spencer Lashley Award. Dr. Merzenich has published more than 200 scientific articles.

Dr. Merzenich's work is also frequently covered in the popular press, in books and on television. This includes coverage in national publications, such as The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Time, Newsweek, Forbes, Business Week, Ladies Home Journal, O Magazine, AARP Bulletin, Science, Discover and Wired, as well as on national news shows, such as NBC Nightly News, CBS Evening News, Sunday Morning with Charles Osgood and Good Morning America. He holds more than 50 US patents and scores of foreign patents.

About Posit Science

Posit Science is the leading provider of clinically validated brain fitness products and services. The company works with more than 50 scientists from prestigious universities around the world to design and test its computer-based programs. More than 30 published studies show that the company's patented technologies significantly increase processing speed, improve memory, and enhance the quality of everyday life. Posit Science has received numerous grants and awards from groups such as the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the American Society on Aging (ASA), and CNBC. For more information, visit or call 1-800-599-6463.

SOURCE Posit Science
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