Advisory Board

Dr. Edward Taub

The Singularity Is Near: When Humans Transcend Biology by Ray Kurzweil said

Edward Taub at the University of Alabama studied the region of the cortex responsible for evaluating the tactile and other sensory input from the fingers. Comparing non-musicians to experienced players of stringed instruments, he found no difference in the brain regions devoted to the fingers of the right hand but a huge difference for the fingers of the left hand. If we drew a picture of the hands based on the amount of brain tissue devoted to analyzing touch, the musician’s fingers on their left hand (which are used to control the strings) would be huge. Although the difference was greater for those musicians who began musical training with a stringed instrument as children, “even if you take up the violin at 40”, Taub commented, “you still get brain reorganization.”

Dr. Edward Taub is a behavioral neuroscientist who developed a new family of techniques, termed Constraint-Induced Movement therapy or CI therapy, which has been shown to be effective in improving the rehabilitation of movement after stroke and other neurological injuries. At this point CI therapy has been used with thousands of stroke patients in the United States of America, Germany, Scandinavia, and other countries in the world. It is currently the subject of the first multi-center national clinical trial for stroke rehabilitation funded by NIH. This work is derived from basic research he carried out with deafferented monkeys whose upper extremities had been surgically deprived of sensation.
CI Therapy consists of a family of therapies; their common element is that they teach the brain to “rewire” itself following a major injury such as stroke or traumatic brain injury. This is based upon research carried out by Ed and collaborators showing that patients can “learn” to improve the motor ability of the more-affected parts of their bodies and thus cease to rely exclusively or primarily on the less-affected parts. These therapies have significantly improved quality of movement and substantially increased the amount of use of a more-affected extremity in the activities of daily living for a large number of patients.
The CI therapy group is divided into two separate entities: 1) The Taub Training Clinic, and 2) The CI therapy research laboratory. The Taub Training Clinic administers CI therapy primarily to patients after stroke for both the upper and lower extremities.
Ed received the 2004 American Psychological Association (APA) Distinguished Scientific Award for the Applications of Psychology. He also received the American Psychological Society’s William James Award in 1997, UAB’s 1997 Ireland Award for Distinguished Scholarship; and the Distinguished Scientist of 1998 Award from the Association for Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedback. “Dr. Taub has published more than 140 articles in his distinguished career”, says Carl McFarland, PhD, chair of UAB’s Department of Psychology. “His work has been heavily cited in scientific journals, and he has received a good deal of attention in the popular media.”
In 1970, Ed developed one of the two main thermal biofeedback techniques. Thermal biofeedback is one of the most commonly used biofeedback modalities in clinical practice; it is employed for the relief of such painful or life-threatening disorders as migraine headache, hypertension, Raynaud’s disease and other stress-related conditions. He received his Ph.D. in Psychology in 1970 from New York University.