Pioneering researcher on the brain’s ‘plasticity’ has died
Marian Diamond, a neuroscientist who studied Albert Einstein’s brain and was the first to show that the brain’s anatomy can change with experience, has died. She was 90
Diamond, a professor of integrative biology at the University of California, Berkeley, died July 25 in Oakland, the university said Friday.
Diamond became famous in 1984 when she examined preserved slices of Einstein’s brain and found it had more support cells than the average person’s brain.
Her groundbreaking research on rats found that the brain can improve with enrichment, while impoverished environments can lower the capacity to learn.
“Her research demonstrated the impact of enrichment on brain development - a simple but powerful new understanding that has literally changed the world, from how we think about ourselves to how we raise our children,” said George Brooks, a professor of integrative biology and her colleague at UC Berkeley.
“Dr. Diamond showed anatomically, for the first time, what we now call plasticity of the brain. In doing so she shattered the old paradigm of understanding the brain as a static and unchangeable entity that simply degenerated as we age.”