is an extremely dynamic organ which is in permanent relation with the
environment on the one hand, and psychological factors or the subject’s
actions on the other.
The most recent investigations into neurosciences prove that the brain
can self-regenerate by means of training and strengthening.
Santiago Ramón y Cajal, Spanish Nobel prizewinner in Medicine, 1906,
proved that neurones communicate with each other through specialized
areas of contact, the “synapses” (a word which means the place where
one neurone establishes contact with another in order to communicate
with it). This discovery allowed us to understand the basic mechanisms
which govern the transmission of the information that the nervous
is the brain’s capacity to form new nerve connections, throughout the whole of its life
response to new information, to sensory stimulation, to development,
and to dysfunction or damage. Neuroplasticity
is known as “the renewal of cerebral wiring”.
Let us also remember that neurological development is critical during
the first years of life. For example, it was proven that if there was a
kitten that was prevented from using one of its eyes for even a short
period of time, it would never develop normal vision in that eye.
neurologist from the University of New York, Director of the Institute
of Neuropsychology and cognitive functioning and a disciple of
Alexander Luria, explains neuroplasticity
in this way:
For many years it was believed that from a certain age the supply of
neurones did not renew itself. The most recent scientific researches
prove that mental activity modifies the brain and leads us to what we
know as “Wisdom”. These latest discoveries can now be classified under
the name of neuroplasticity
In March 2000, researchers at London University, found that
taxi-drivers in that city had a part of the brain, the Hippocampus (the
important region for spatial awareness), which had developed to a much
greater degree compared to the rest of the population.
The taxi-drivers were more highly developed in this area because they
exercised it more, memorizing each day streets and routes. In these men
and women their ability to memorize streets and routes did not diminish
but in fact increased over the years. The brain changes shape according
to the areas we use most, and according to our level of mental activity.
In 2002, German scientists came up with the same findings in the
Heschl’s Convolution of musicians, the area of the cerebral cortex
important for the processing of music.
And, in 2004, the London Institute of Neurology obtained the same
results with the left angular convolution (an important cerebral
structure for language) in the brains of bilingual people...
Let us recall that:
1. We human beings can create new neurones throughout the whole of our
2. The effort to create new neurones can be increased following mental
3. The effects are specific: depending on the nature of the mental
activity, new neurones multiply with particular intensity within
specific areas of the brain.
New neurones come to remain in the areas of the brain that we use most:
This is what is known as neuroplasticity
Activity can mould the mind.
Current cutting-edge science supports the statement that intense mental
activity plays an essential role in cognitive wellbeing in the more
advanced stages of life.
Present research suggests that neuroplasticity
can be the key to the development of many new and more effective
treatments for brain damage, even if it is the result of traumatic
lesions, cerebrovascular accidents (CVA), cognitive age-related
deterioration or any sort of degenerative illness (Alzheimer’s,
Parkinson’s...) including cases of cerebral paralysis.
not only offers hope to those suffering from cognitive disabilities,
such as ADHD, dyslexia, etc. but opens the way to important advances
into the treatment of depression, anorexia and other behavioural and