#163 – Exercise and The Brain with John Ratey, MD


John J.Ratey, M.D. is author of the new book, Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and The Brain. Dr. Ratey is an associate clinical professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and has a private practice in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

For more than a decade he taught residents and Harvard medical students as the Assistant Director of Resident training at Massachusetts Mental Health Center. He continues to teach psychiatrists as a regular instructor in Harvard’s Continuing Medical Education program.

As a clinical researcher he has published more than 60 papers in peer-review journals in the fields of psychiatry and psychopharmacology.

In 1986 he founded the Boston Center for the Study of Autism, and in 1988 he founded a new study group of the American Psychiatric Association focused on the study of aggression, which grew out of his research and development of novel drug treatments for aggressive behavior. During this time Dr. Ratey lectured internationally on aggression and disturbances in the brain that affect social functioning.

Dr. Ratey and Dr. Hallowell began studying ADHD in the 1980s and co-authored Driven to Distraction: Recognizing and Coping with Attention Deficit Disorder from Childhood through Adulthood (1994), the first in a series of books that demystify the disorder. Dr. Ratey also co-authored Shadow Syndromes (1997) with Catherine Johnson, PhD, in which he describes the phenomenon of milder forms of clinical disorders.

He most recently authored the bestselling book, A User’s Guide to the Brain: Perception, Attention and the Four Theaters of the Brain (2000) which translates how neuroscience affects emotions, behavior and overall psychology.

Since 1998 Dr. Ratey has been selected each year as one of the best doctors in America by his peers. ?Most recently, Dr. Ratey was the recipient of the 2006 Excellence in Advocacy award from the non-profit group PE4Life, for his work to promote the adoption of regular, aerobic-based physical education.

A psychology podcast by David Van Nuys, Ph.D.



  1. Rick V.
    Posted August 20, 2008 at 11:55 pm | Permalink

    I am surprised that there aren’t more comments on this show because it was one of the best programs ever done on Shrink rap. One of the interesting things about neural science is that it is so broad and has so many sub research specialties, so even if you are studying it as I am you will still find podcast like this one informative because there is bound be some area you have not been exposed to. There are certain what I call “REQUIRED LISTENING” shows on Shrink Rap and this would have to go on that list. Everyone should hear what Dr. Ratey has to say for their own benefit and perhaps the benefit of a loved one they could advise about how to do positive things to keep the old Homunculus doing his job.

  2. Ivan Staroversky
    Posted May 13, 2011 at 5:28 am | Permalink

    I made a visual summary about some of the key points from the book and Google Talk lecture.

    Spark The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain visual summary:


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