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Food for Thought: BrainCheck’s David Eagleman Makes His TV Debut

Xconomy Texas — 

Not many neuroscientists can say their research partners included acclaimed music producer Brian Eno in jam sessions with drummers like Will Champion from Coldplay.

And that’s just a taste of the professional repertoire put together by Baylor College of Medicine’s David Eagleman. The Houston-based educator is also a best-selling author and entrepreneur. (One of his companies, BrainCheck, a cognitive screening app designed to better detect concussions, was part of the first startup accelerator at Texas Medical Center’s TMCx.) Tonight, Eagleman adds another medium to the list: television.

His broadcast television debut comes from “The Brain With David Eagleman,” an hour-long television show that begins a six-week run on PBS this Wednesday.

“I care a lot about public dissemination of science,” he says. “All of us who get into neuroscience … it’s easy to get sucked into some rabbit hole of your own preoccupation, back and forth papers in academic literature that nobody on the planet reads. What gets lost is that original beauty that drew you into the field.”

Here is an edited transcript of our recent conversation.

Xconomy: What brought you to found BrainCheck? Why did you want to add executive to your list of titles?

David Eagleman: For many years, two decades now, part of what I’ve been doing is psychophysics—measuring how people respond to things on a computer screen in terms of what they think they see, how quickly they react to it, and what kinds of errors they make. When people get concussed, there are very specific things that change in terms of perception and cognition. It can be subtle but we have the tools to tease these measurements out. By having them play these simplified video games, we take the stuff we do in lab settings and make it available to athletes, for example, in five minutes. I harvest … Next Page »

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