"A large uterine tumor escorted my mother, who was 42 years old, during pregnancy," said an American scientist. "But they were wrong! My mother lived at the age of 75, and I'm 80 years old," Diamond wrote in 2007 about her life and career.
It explores the brain and revolutionizes the way we understand it, and its legacy as a university professor has inspired generations of doctors, researchers, and scientists.
Mother and daughter risked when Marian Diamond was born in California in 1926. – Photo: Courtesy: Diamond Family (via BBC)
Diamond was a habit of walking from California University of Berkeley, elegantly dressed with a floral print box that was originally worn by hats.
"When you look at a lady with a hat box, you can't imagine what she's wearing," she did in 2010 for a group of students.
The elegant box inside the Diamond made the human body organ to which he fell in love as a teenager.
"It doesn't compare," he said in a documentary "My Love" with the brain.
"That's what you really are, if you remove the brain, you take it away," he said with the brain in hand.
Diamond is considered to be one of the founders of modern neuroscience. – Photo: UC Berkeley Photos / Elena Zhukova (via BBC)
Earth's most complex mass
Diamond was born in California on November 11, 1926. "When I was 15, I saw my first human brain when I went through the Los Angeles District Hospital Corridor, behind my father who visited the patients," she wrote.
She says the door was slightly open and the room had a brain on a small table. He is surrounded by four men in white aprons.
"I didn't know what they were doing, but the image of the brain that could have created ideas before was forever in my brain. The picture is so clear that it's like yesterday."
"The idea was exciting: this brain represented the most complex Earth protoplasm and who knows our galaxy," he said.
Diamond says something inside her told him that she will be able to learn more about this noble part of the human body.
It was a matter of time. Not enough time.
Diamond graduated in biology at the age of 21, and in 1948 began studying the nervous system at the Department of Anatomy of the University of Berkeley.
Shortly thereafter she was promoted to assistant professor.
At that time, "no one studied a higher cognitive function anatomy."
Although the department she worked on focused on hormone research, she found something that fascinated her: the hypothalamus.
"How 4 grams of nerve tissue could play so many different functions?" She reminded her in her essay.
This led to a successful career as a researcher and teacher lasting nearly 60 years.
Professor George Brooks, one of his colleagues at the university, said Diamond "anatomically proved for the first time what we now call brain plasticity."
"In doing so, it broke the old paradigm that saw the brain as a static, constant body that simply degenerates when we age," Brooks added.
Diamond Leading Research on the Impact of Incentive Environment and Enriching Activities on Brain Development "has literally changed the world from how we think about ourselves, how we educate children," says the teacher and colleague. researcher in the article.
The diamond found the peculiarities of Einstein's brain. – Photo: Public domain
Marian Diamond finished her career as Professor of Integration Biology at Berkeley University, retiring in 2014. She died three years later at the age of 90.
The university honored her by writing: "One of the founders of modern neuroscience, she was the first person to show that the brain can change with experience and improve enrichment, and found evidence of Albert Einstein's brain."
The biologist asked to study the theory of relativity in the father's brain. Years later, he received samples from the Einstein organ.
It was Diamond who started brain research as one of the most important scientists in the world.
The researcher earned a fame in 1984 when she checked out preserved fragments of Einstein's brain and found that he had more support cells than the average person, ”said the university.
In a non-neuroscience article published in 1985, he said that the Nobel Prize in Physics was more of a glial cell on the neuron than in the control group that participated in the experiment.
Glial cells play a supporting role in neurons and are actively involved in information processing. The text reaffirmed the idea that Einstein's brains were peculiarities that could explain his genius.
In the 2007 study, the neuroscientist himself reflects this specificity.
"The fact that glial cells grow with enrichment led to my hypothesis that Albert Einstein in his crust could have more gliel cells, especially in the left and right associations of 9 and 39, compared to the cortical mean. From 11 other men."
"We found that four regions had more gluteal cells than the other men, but statistically only (area) 39, which was significantly more"
Years before he devoted himself to Einstein's brain research, Diamond had carried out laboratory research on rodents, which was very important to his conclusion that "a rich environment (with toys and a company) is changing brain anatomy," reports UC Berkeley.
"The impact was that the brains of all animals, including humans, benefit from enriched environments and that poor environments (incentives and activities) can reduce our ability to learn."
Inspired by the observations of researcher Donald Hebba (McGill University, Canada), the Berkeley team conducted an experiment with new rats: they placed 12 of them in a large, enriched "cage", and another in a separate cage, "poor" – small and without toys.
"A rat that grew in a deliberately enriched environment, a better labyrinth than a" poor "rat that grew in childbirth and without stimulation," explains the neurologist in his essay.
Rodents who grew up as a group had higher levels of acetylcholinesterase, such as brain chemistry, than rats that lived alone and bored.
Diamond approached the leaders of this study and asked to join his team. They accepted – and this union would be one of the main project results.
The biologist placed small pieces of rodent brain under the microscope lens that had participated in the experiment and measured the thickness of the crust.
"Enriched rats had a thicker brain crust than the poor. It was the first time everyone had seen a structural change in the brain of the animal, based on different experiences in their early life."
A year later, in 1963, she repeated the experiment with other rodents and got similar results.
Diamond reminds us of hurrying through the university campus to the office of experimental and social psychologist David Krecha, where documents are with their findings.
"He read them, looked at me and immediately said," It's unique. It will change the scientific thinking of the brain, "" Diamond recalls.
In 1964, the results were published and the following year the researcher explained his findings at the annual American Anatomist Society meeting.
There were hundreds of people in the room, but "little women," she recalls. "I was very scared (presenting the project)." "I explained how calmly I was, the courtesy politely polite, and then the man stood up and said aloud:" Miss, the brain cannot change. ""
"But I felt confident about the job and I said," I am sorry, sir, but we have an initial experiment and a repeat experiment that shows that it can change, yes. "" This trust is the beauty of anatomy. "
The brain can change at any age
Diamond and his team studied the role of astrocytes, brain cells. – Photo: Pixabay
One of Diamond's main contributions was to realize that it is possible to change the structural components of the cerebral cortex, that these changes can occur at any age.
This means that it can continue to develop over the years until its constant stimulation helps to improve the immune system.
Faced with an aging population, this conclusion is optimistic, pointing out that the crust retains some plasticity even for the elderly.
Diamond experiments also help us understand that, despite the biological genetic lottery, we can improve our potential.
It is related to the phrase "use it or lose it" in connection with maintaining the active activity of the brain and stimulating the constant problem and learning.
"The more people understand their body structure and the functions that are essentially affected by the nervous system, and who take care of their early stages of life, the healthier and more enjoyable will be the time after 50 years," he wrote in 2007.
He also concluded that "in short, our results show at least five important factors for a healthy brain": nutrition, exercises, challenges, news and love.
When it comes to love, Diamond explained that the laboratory rats that had touched and caressed were using a longer life.
As a university professor Diamond had a special relationship with his students, Jeff, her son, tells BBC News Mundo (BBC service in Spanish).
"She was very expensive," he says. "When we went to the hospital, there was a big chance that we would meet a former student who was already a doctor who told us about a good experience with a class with him. This is the only teacher I know every week, randomly , pupils go for lunch to get to know their interests better.
As a scientist, most of his research was done in the laboratory. In it he joined a group of mates who consisted mainly of women.
"She really loved her job and always gave them credit for her research," Jeff continues.
Daniel Kauffer, professor at the Department of Biology of Berkeley Integration, says she met Diamond.
"I was a young, recently appointed associate professor. When I saw a diamond, it was like a rock star." The contribution of Kauferam Diamond was not limited to "intelligent understanding of the potential of adult brain plasticity" but expanded to understand the central role that astrocytes play in this plasticity.
Astrocytes are the major and diverse types of gluteal cells, and Einstein's brain research has shown that these cells are more important than originally intended, as they relate, for example, to the nutrition of other parts of the brain.
In 1953, Diamond became a mother and recorded the importance of the moment.
"The most shocking thing I've ever experienced was when I called my first newborn daughter and put it on my chest.
Diamond with 3 children (she would have one daughter later) to reconcile family life with studies and lessons. – Photo: Courtesy: Diamond Family (via BBC)
He had three more children – Catherine Richard, Jeff and Ann.
From an early age, Jeff realized that his mother was unusual, not only because she was considered a great scientist, but because she "did other mothers."
"She went to our school to talk about science and wear the brain, skeleton or some eyes in the blind and bring them around so that everyone can see them."
After her birth she spent less time at work, he says. But "after dinner we saw her notes and the next day preparing classes."
On some weekends, she took the kids to college to get her research. And looked at them through a laboratory window as they played in the university garden.
Diamond in his study realized that the brain stimulates physical exercises. – Photo: Pixabay
Sometimes children were allowed in a laboratory where they saw rats with their "toys" in their cages.
"As a child, we thought," Well, that's what all parents do. "But, as an adult, you think," How could she do everything to study, teach, and create a family? "Richard asks.
"Now that I am a father, I can't imagine how she did to take us to camps and tours, how she could do typical family activities, teaching and studying. We've never heard she complain of no hours I have long remembered that she told her students and her friends that yes, it was an opportunity to raise a family and career. "
Marian Diamond 4 Ps
Not only did the researcher hold important academic positions in the United States when she traveled the world to publish her research, encourage children, and attract more women to science.
In his 2007 essay he shared what he called 4 Ps:
- Personal priority: family and friends
- Professional priority: brain, colleagues and student friends
- Persistence: all essential
- Positive attitude: just see what the alternative is.
Perhaps the anecdote recalled in the Washington letter reflects the combination of these four Ps: "Your daughter Ann said how her mother once crossed the country to visit her summer camp. Peach pie and other, of course, the human brain."
Asked when his mother decided to put a human brain in the box, Richard says he remembers well.
"It was one day when I was looking for something in the house that could take the brain to one of its classes." The brain was in a round jar, and when she saw the box she decided to put it inside, because it was perfect. it became part of his signature. "