Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : May 4th 2015 Contents B1
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Blues legend BB King was in hospice
care Friday at his home in Las Vegas,
according to a longtime business associate
with legal control over his affairs.
The 89-year-old musician posted thanks
on his official Web site for fans' well-
wishes and prayers after he returned
home from a brief hospitalisation, said
Laverne Toney, King's longtime business
manager and current power-of-attorney.
"Mr King is where he wishes to be,"
Toney said. "He's always told me he
doesn't want to be in a hospital. He wants
to be at home."
An ambulance was summoned
Thursday after what Las Vegas police
Officer Jesse Roybal characterised as a
domestic dispute over medical care. No
arrests were made, and Roybal said no
criminal complaint was filed.
Toney disputed reports by celebrity
Web site TMZ citing one of King's
daughters as saying she called police
because she was upset about her father's
condition and that he had suffered a minor
heart attack. Efforts by the Associated
Press to reach the daughter, Patty King,
were not immediately successful.
Paramedics checked King's heart
rhythm, and he was treated at the hospital
for complications of high blood pressure
and diabetes, Toney said. King was
diagnosed with diabetes decades ago.
Blues legend BB King in hospice at his home in Las Vegas
Are computers and cyberspace changing
In a world of ubiquitous technology, when
many youth seem to have a closer relationship
with their cellphones, tablets, computers or
video games than with their actual flesh-and-
blood family and friends, it s not such a far-
On April 29, neuroscientist Susan Greenfield
talked about precisely this: the impacts of dig-
ital technology not only on our behaviour and
lifestyles, but also on how our brains them-
selves (especially children s young, growing
brains) may be affected.
Greenfield, who is a British scientist, writer,
broadcaster and member of the House of
Lords, was in Trinidad for the Bocas Lit Fest
at which she gave a fascinating talk on her
recently published book, Mind Change, on
Wednesday morning at the T&T Chamber of
Industry and Commerce building in West-
Published in August 2014 by Random House,
Mind Change discusses the all-pervading tech-
nologies that now surround us, and from which
we derive instant information, connected iden-
tity, diminished privacy and exceptionally vivid
In Greenfield s view, these things are creating
a new environment with vast implications,
because our minds are physically adapting:
What could this mean? Are we becoming
slaves to the machine? Do we need to take a
step back, and learn how to best use digital
technologies, before they turn us all into under-
developed, near-autistic, instant-gratification
junkies? How can we use our new technological
milieu to create better alternatives and more
These and many other issues were raised
in Greenfield s stimulating hour-long talk.
Humans: the supreme adapters
She began by observing that humans adapt
to their environments very well. "Anything
you do repeatedly will literally leave its mark
on your brain," she said.
Can the mental process of thinking actually
change the physical brain itself? She cited a
1995 experiment by Pascual-Leone in which
one (control) group of people simply looked
at a piano for five days, compared to another
group who actually learned to play it a little
bit, compared to a third group who just imag-
ined they were playing it.
The first group showed no change in their
brain scans. But the last two produced observ-
able and similar changes in scans of their brain
activity---with the last group being especially
astonishing, she said---suggesting that the
more you think (or imagine), the more you
can affect or possibly change your own brain
activity, and brain growth. It seems the brain
is sensitive to not only the external environ-
ment, but to anything that happens, or that
you are making happen.
"We cannot, cannot, cannot draw a dis-
tinction between mental and physical," said
the professor. "Every thought you have, has
some kind of physical basis."
What is thinking?
She asked: "What is thinking, then? What
is a mental event?"
To answer this, she contrasted a thought
with an emotion. She said an emotion often
happens in the moment, whereas a thought
happens in a sequence of steps, and ends in
a different place from where you started. This
linear action requires time to complete, she
Her answer to "What is thinking?" was a
quote from another scientist, who once said:
"Thinking is movement confined to the brain."
Whether a person is learning a musical
instrument, juggling, swotting for an exam or
learning a new language, their extra mental
efforts have actual physical effects on their
brains; the branching networks of connections
become stronger, thicker and more complex,
and you can see this in scans of the brain s
• Continues on Page B2
Baroness Susan Greenfield
speaks on the impact of
digital technology on our
brains at the Bocas Lit
Fest lecture held on April
29, at the T&T Chamber of
Industry and Commerce
building in Westmoorings.
PHOTO: ANDRE ALEXANDER
How digital technologies are leaving their mark on our brains
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