John Hart, M.D.

Medical Science Director

John Hart, M.D., is Medical Science Director at the Center for BrainHealth, where he also holds the Jane and Bud Smith Distinguished Chair and the Cecil Green Distinguished Chair at The University of Texas at Dallas.  The Johns Hopkins-trained neurologist is also a Professor of Behavioral and Brain Sciences with a joint appointment in the departments of Neurology and Psychiatry at The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas.

Dr. Hart is the President of the Society for Behavioral and Cognitive Neurology and the Behavioral Neurology Section of the American Academy of Neurology. He is one of the world’s foremost experts on how you store and access knowledge in your brain, known as semantic memory. In 1985, Dr. Hart was the lead author on the seminal paper published in the prestigious journal Nature that established that knowledge is stored in the brain by categories. This was followed by a second major finding published in Nature showing that features and categories are the storage units of knowledge in the brain. In 1998 and 2002, two more major discoveries were published as Track II articles in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (USA) that showed the actual time it takes in the brain to recall an object memory, and Dr. Hart’s key discovery of the actual mechanism of how the brain combines parts of memories together to form an integrated object memory. He and his collaborators have now used this fundamental finding to assess patients with a wide variety of disorders, including normal aging, dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, mild cognitive impairment, traumatic brain injury, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, Gulf War Syndrome, and schizophrenia. The findings in these studies will lead to targeted treatment interventions for semantic memory retrieval problems in these diseases. In addition, the work that he has performed in knowledge storage will be applied to children with difficulties in this area (e.g., autism, ADHD, TBI, and others) and in developing optimal programs for use in educational systems.

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