Deepak Chopra is a mind-body expert, founder of the Chopra Foundation and a best-selling author. Hear more from him on "Sanjay Gupta MD" at 4:30 p.m. ET on Saturday the 10th of Nov. and 7:30 a.m. ET on Sunday the 11th of Nov.
We're living in a golden age for brain research, which could revolutionize how we think, feel and behave.
Thanks to brain scans like the fMRI, brain activity can be localized and even the most precise activity pinpointed. For example, researchers can spot the minuscule area in the visual cortex that, when damaged, prevents a person from recognizing faces, including his own. The slant in neuroscience has been to map the brain down to the tiniest detail.
But what will we use the map for? One obvious area is medicine. The more we know about what goes wrong in Parkinson's disease and Alzheimer's disease, the closer we get to a cure. But the highest goal would be to reinvent how we use our brains.
"Reinvent" isn't an exaggeration. Ten thousand years ago, Homo sapiens had evolved the same genetic array that modern people inherit. But in those 10,000 years arose reading, writing, advanced art and music, government, mathematics and science. Their foundation was a new relationship between mind and body.
If genes and a fixed structure of brain cells told the whole story, it would remain a total mystery why a cave dweller after the last Ice Age should have just the right complement of neurons to discover gravity or write a symphony. Now we realize that the human brain is far from fixed, at any level.
New brain cells are being formed throughout life; trillions of connections between neurons are developed; and the genetic activity inside each neuron is dynamic, responding to every experience and every stimulus from the outside world.
Human beings reinvent the brain as we go along, day by day. It's not a matter of eons. In short, the brain is a verb, not a noun. It is reshaped by thoughts, memories, desire and experience.
Read the full article on CNN.com