Adam Gazzaley

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Adam Gazzaley is a professor in neurology, physiology, and psychiatry at the University of California, San Francisco, and the founder and Executive Director of Neuroscape. Today Adam talks about neuroplasticity, his innovative approach to treating behavioral and psychiatric disorders, why we shouldn’t multitask, why we should build our own path, why fearless forward-thinking is the key to success, and why we should all value and evolve our minds.

For full show notes, scroll down.

On today’s podcast:

  • Our brains have an amazing ability to change and improve themselves
  • An innovative way of treating behavioral and psychiatric disorders
  • Why we shouldn’t multitask
  • Don’t wait for the perfect opportunity to come
  • Fearless forward-thinking is the way to go
  • Let’s all value and evolve our minds

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An innovative, fearless forward-thinker: Meet Adam Gazzaley

Better brain function

Adam’s work is focused on finding ways to develop new technologies to help improve brain function.

We need to be aware that we have brains that have the amazing ability to change and improve themselves.

Our education system has really focused on transferring content, not improving how the brain processes information.

Treating patients using innovative digital medicine

Adam’s idea is to take an experience and deliver it in a drug-like manner, meaning that it will work the same way every time. He tries to find ways to create interactive experiences that are adaptive and personalized to an individual. He also wants these experiences to be very accessible and targeted.

On the medical side, one of Adam’s companies, Neuroscape is trying to develop the so-called “digital medicine”. Normal pharmaceutical medicines we all use deliver molecules, while digital medicines deliver experiences as treatments.

The conditions they’re studying right now on the medical side include ADD, autism, depression, anxiety, PTSD, traumatic brain injury, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, and Alzheimer’s disease. They are planning to research a lot more in the future as well.

The importance of letting go of multitasking

From his own work on attention, distraction, and multitasking in a laboratory setting, Adam realized that there is a degradation in performance pretty much across every domain when we’re not focusing solely on our main task.

If we’re trying to finish an assignment or drive our car, and we’re constantly redirecting our attention to another source of information, maybe a website or social media, this will degrade our performance.

And if we make a habit out of it, it will eventually become a cognitive style where we just interrupt ourselves all the time. Negative consequences will soon follow.

Fearless forward-thinking is the way to go

The biggest resource challenge they have right now at Neuroscape is finding brilliant engineering talent. Adam would love to reimagine how we think about AI. What better use for AI than to enhance HI (human intelligence)?

His advice to leaders? Take those chances because you will never succeed if you don’t dive in. Follow your instincts. It’s scary, but too many people just wait and wait for the perfect opportunity to come. Make your own opportunity and build your own path.

What about his advice to his younger self? Be fearless but also be thoughtful. Don’t get hung up in all the “ifs”. Allow yourself to follow your dreams. Be forward-thinking.

What the world needs the most right now, in Adam’s opinion, is more people who value their minds. We need to learn how to evolve our minds just like we evolved our technology.