You may have seen some people who have experienced brain damage (such as amnesia) suddenly recover in TV dramas. This is not a myth, but a special ability of human beings: neural plasticity.
The gray matter and synapses of our brain are different from machines and are not fixed. They will also change with time.
Today, scientists have discovered that neuroplasticity is a self-organizing brain phenomenon that can cure or compensate for the brain damage you encounter.
Amazing! Let’s take a closer look at neural plasticity and how it can be used to protect and strengthen the brain.
The brain has long been regarded as a body part that does not change much and cannot be updated like skin, hair or nails.
The purpose of neural plasticity is to optimize neural networks (magical self-optimization) during systemic development, individual development and physiological learning as well as after brain injury.
Whether children or adults, our brains are constantly updated and changed. This is a kind of plasticity, representing that our brain nerves are not static.
What is neuroplasticity?
Neuroplasticity is the adaptability of the brain after experience and events. These are the physiological changes of the brain when you interact with the surrounding environment.
Unlike computers with only certain functions and software, the brain can form or remove certain connections between neurons.
When you learn something new, new connections will be formed between nerve cells.
If you neglect and do not practice your skills, the relevant neural links will disappear.
Since the brain begins to grow until the body dies, the connections between brain cells are always reorganized according to your different needs.
This flexible reconnection process allows you to learn from and adapt to different experiences.
Behavior, environmental stimulation, thoughts and emotions may also cause nerve changes through activity-dependent plasticity, which is of great significance for healthy development, learning, memory and recovery from brain injury.
There are two types of neural plasticity in the nervous system:
- Functional variability: When the brain has damaged or lost parts, other healthy parts of the brain can take over the functions of the damaged brain areas.
- Structural Variability: Learning new skills can change the physical structure of the brain. For example, when you learn a new language, the brain structure will no longer be the same.
Benefits of Neuroplasticity
- Repair of brain damage: When our brain undergoes certain changes, resulting in loss of nerve connections, the loss can be made up by many other existing contacts.
- Helps you learn: when you learn something new, your synapses will change, thus helping you learn and remember more effectively.
- Generation of new neurons: According to a study, the research team claimed to have witnessed the formation of new neurons in children and adults.
- Changing memory: This sounds strange, but the neural plasticity of the brain allows us to forget and retain memory. We are not sure why we did this. It may be a form of self-protection-preventing the brain from overloading.
- Enhanced memory
- Rehabilitation after Stroke and Traumatic Brain Injury
- Changing the function of brain regions to compensate for lost functions
- Enhance some functions after losing some other functions. For example, if you lose your eyesight, the smell will increase.
At what point in life is the brain more open to change when exposed to environmental stimuli?
When we are small. The formation of connections in the human brain continues after birth. It is a stage in which we collect most of the information that will later serve us for our survival in life.
The first three years are critical for obtaining this information, and that is when the foundation of all sensory perception is formed, but they are not the only ones.
Throughout life and if we maintain a discipline of learning and exposure to new things, we continue to learn, but not at the same level as in those moments when our brain is forming.
Can we train our brains to maintain this feature?
According to the final assumption, yes.
If you read, if you remain active and engage in social interaction, the brain will maintain this function for a longer time.
Neuroplasticity presupposes that our brains have undergone changes.
Examples of Neuroplasticity and Memory?
Neurobiological decline accompanied by aging has been recorded in detail in the research literature and explains why the elderly perform worse than the young in neurocognitive performance tests.
However, it is surprising that not all the elderly have shown lower performance, and some have performed as well as the young.
Researchers have found that the overexploitation of the brain region of the elderly has a higher performance, which may be a compensation phenomenon of neural plasticity.