Saturday, September 13, 2008

Inflammation of the Emer

Right now WTTW (channel 21 here) is sponsoring an infomercial for The Brain Fitness Gym. Or is it The Brain Fitness Program? They keep throwing both names out there. The info- part is hosted by Peter Coyote. The -mercial part is coming to us direct from the studio. The local hosts are the ones encouraging me to "call now."

A local host (Cheryl) just introduced Dr. Michael Merzenich as a "professor emeritus" of something or other. Emeritus rhyming with colitis. Bronchitis. Appendicitis. Meningitis. The post title is an old joke that I have made too many times with Buffy, who learned the standard pronunciation late enough to be teased about it.

I don't think the pronunciation is as silly as the suggestion that I pay $365 to "enhance" my "neuroplasticity" by reading their books watching their videos and playing their videogames.

Now about that "something or other." I missed the line, and the episode page doesn't say much more. Merzenich's Wikipedia page claims that he is "professor emeritus neuroscientist" at UCSF, and his own website says he is Professor Emeritus. He is listed in the University of California San Fransisco directory as professor of otolaryngology. Emeritus or not, he's a member of the National Academy of Science, elected in 1999.

I'm sure he knows a lot more about this stuff than I do. But I can't keep from rolling my eyes at such a price for a product that promises to have you complete some puzzles so you can regain your mental youth.


  1. People will do anything to avoid reading a book, won't they?

  2. I stumbled across your blog looking for more information on Dr. Merzenich. I bought my parents the Brain Fitness Program 3 years ago. You couldn't be more wrong about your conclusions. they are completely different people. the last 5-7years I had seen them slipping. They are right back on track these days. They continue to use the program every 6months or so. they love it and I couldn't be happier with the results.


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