Full Frame examines the power of the brain

Full Frame

That organ between your ears is one of the most baffling entities on Earth. Weighing in at only three pounds, the human brain is the body’s “control center,” encompassing everything from our personalities, language skills, movements, emotions, and our ability to obtain knowledge and recollect memories.


Experts still do not fully understand all the complexities of this intricate organ, but remarkable scientific research and breakthroughs continue to shed light on the inner-workings and extraordinary potential of the human brain. In this week’s episode, Full Frame turns its lens to revolutionary new approaches to uncovering the potential of this vital organ. It will also consider how both scientific and technological innovations could better our brains, and ultimately, our lives.

Wolfgang Puck: Cooking For a Cause

As one of the most acclaimed celebrity chefs in the world, Wolfgang Puck created a cooking empire that has transformed the way people think about food.

Puck fell in love with culinary arts as a child. His mother was an Austrian chef and began teaching him to cook early in his life. With her encouragement, he began formal training when he was only 14 years old. Early in his career, Puck worked in some of Europe’s most prominent restaurants. But at 24, he moved to the United States. His culinary brilliance and unique international perspective immediately established his prominence as an elite chef.

Today, the culinary expert leads an empire that encompasses three separate Wolfgang Puck entities: Wolfgang Puck Fine Dining Group, Wolfgang Puck Catering, and Wolfgang Puck Worldwide, Inc. His work in each facet fuses the finest features of restaurant hospitality and culinary arts.

Puck has also earned some of the most prestigious awards in the culinary world, and he is the only chef in history to have won the James Beard Foundation Award for Outstanding Chef of the Year twice.

But Puck’s work transcends the kitchen – the chef is also actively involved in many philanthropic endeavors and charitable organizations. Outside of his own charitable organization that focuses on healthy eating and supports the Meals on Wheels program, Puck supports the Cleveland Clinic at the Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health, which works to raise money to find a cure for Alzheimer’s disease.

Puck sits down with Full Frame’s Mike Walter to talk about his experiences as one of the most influential chefs in the rapidly changing culinary world and how witnessing his mother’s own battle with Alzheimer’s disease influenced his philanthropy.

Follow Wolfgang Puck on Twitter: @WolfgangBuzz

Wolfgang Puck Close Up

Dr. Daniel Amen: You Need Brain Envy

Many people believe there is no changing the human brain – that humans are stuck with, and often limited by, the brains with which they are born.

Dr. Daniel Amen is not one of those people.

Recognized as one of the most influential mental health experts to impact modern science, Amen revolutionized psychiatric treatments by using brain imaging to actually look at his patients’ brains. As the founder and medical director of Amen Clinics, Amen has the world’s largest psychiatric database of functional brain scans. The database is comprised of nearly 100,000 scans of patients from 111 countries.

Despite his success, Amen’s ground-breaking argument that psychiatrists are the only medical specialists who don’t look at the organ they treat has endured harsh criticism. Some scientists have equated his work with pseudoscience, claiming that no scientific research proves brain imaging is effective in making clinical decisions.

But Amen remains dedicated to optimizing and healing the human brain. He renounces the accepted psychiatric diagnostic standards and says he has seen significant results through the application of brain scans.

Amen’s popularity with his patients seems to support his claims, his clinics treat more than 1,000 patients each month and nearly 6,000 mental health providers have referred patients to him. He was also the lead researcher on the largest brain imaging and rehabilitation study of NFL players.

This week, Amen joins Full Frame to talk about his experiences as a leading mental health expert, address his critics, and explain steps every person can take toward having a better brain, and ultimately, a better life.

Follow Dr. Daniel Amen on Twitter: @DocAmen

Dr. Daniel Amen Close Up2

Lat Ware: Throw Trucks with Your Mind

Telekinesis: the ability to control things using your mind. To most, it sounds like a superpower, but one young innovator is working to make mind-control a (virtual) reality.

As a teenager, doctors tested Lat Ware’s brainwaves using neuro-feedback to treat his Attention Deficit Disorder. The treatment inspired Ware to create something radical and revolutionary, a video game powered by the human brain.

Through the help of advanced scientific technology and a Kickstarter funding campaign, Ware created Throw Trucks With Your Mind, a video game that allows players to unleash their psychokinetic brainpower on one another. To play the game, players simply wear medical-grade electroencephalogram headsets, which measure and digitize real-time brainwave activity. A player’s brain activity then corresponds to certain abilities she has as she plays the game.

While Throw Trucks With Your Mind was launched earlier this year, Ware and his team are continuing to develop the project and create other games.

Since its release, the game has also sparked the attention of medical experts. Researchers have recently started studying the therapeutic potential of Throw Trucks With Your Mind, and particularly, its potential to treat the behavioral problems resulting from Autism.

Ware tells Mike Walter about the development of his remarkable invention and also gives the Full Frame team a chance to play his mind-boggling game.

Follow Lat Ware on Twitter: @ThrowTrucks

Late Ware Close Up

Brian Petro: Found Object Artistry

Brian Petro gives a new meaning to the old adage “one person’s trash is another person’s treasure.”

A dedicated artist, Petro is always on the lookout for items he can incorporate in his next work of art. He searches through abandoned buildings, and even dumpsters, to find objects that have been discarded or forgotten. Through his art, he revives the object’s essence and timelessness.

Petro’s unique mixed-media art pieces use the forgotten items to illustrate the untold stories of the human experience and symbolize unrelenting hard work and ingenuity. They inspire remembrance, and change the way his audience thinks about recollection.

Full Frame joins Petro on his search for treasure and learns how the artist’s unique work manifests the memories that can be found in the most unlikely of objects.

Follow Brian Petro on Twitter: @BrianPetroArt

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Tune in to Full Frame on CCTV America at 6:00 pm EDT on February 14, 2015. Or, watch the live stream of the program here.