The brain is an extremely dynamic organ in permanent relationship with the environment, on the one hand, and with the psychic facts or the acts of the subject, on the other.
The latest neuroscience research shows that the brain can regenerate itself through its use and empowerment. Santiago Ramón y Cajal, 1906 Nobel Prize in Medicine, demonstrated that neurons communicate through specialized contact areas, the “synapses” (a word that defines the place where a neuron establishes contact with another to communicate with it). This discovery allowed us to understand the basic mechanisms that govern the transmission of information handled by the nervous system.
Neuronal plasticity or neuroplasticity It is the ability of the brain to form new nerve connections, throughout life , in response to new information, sensory stimulation, development, dysfunction or damage. The neuroplasticity is known as the “renewal of brain wiring”.
Let us also remember that neurological development is critical during the first years of life, for example it has been shown that if a cat puppy is prevented from using one of its eyes for a short period of time, it will never develop normal vision in that eye. .
Elkhonon Goldberg , New York University Neurologist, Director of the Institute for Neuropsychology and Cognitive Functioning and a disciple of Alexander Luria, explains theneuroplasticity thus:
“For many years, it was believed that from a certain age the supply of neurons was not renewed. The latest scientific research shows that mental activity modifies the brain and leads us to what we know as” Wisdom. ” discoveries are part of what is called neuroplasticity . “
In March 2000, researchers from the University of London found that taxi drivers in that city had a particularly developed part of the brain, the Hippocampus – an important region for spatial memory -, much more than the rest of the people. Taxi drivers developed that area more because they exercised it more, memorizing streets and routes every day. In these men and women, their ability to memorize streets and routes did not diminish, but increased over the years. The brain changes shape, according to the areas we use the most, according to our mental activity.
In 2002, German scientists made the same findings in musicians’ Heschl gyrus, an area of the cerebral cortex important for processing music …
And, in 2004, the London Institute of Neurology obtained the same results in the left angular gyrus, an important brain structure for language, in the brain of bilingual people …
Let us remember that:
1. Human beings can create new neurons at the same time. throughout life.
2. The effort to create new neurons can be increased by mental effort.
3. The effects are specific: depending on the nature of mental activity, new neurons multiply with particular intensity in different areas of the brain.
The new neurons go to the areas of the brain that we use the most: this is what is called neuroplasticity. Activity can shape the mind. Mainstream science supports the claim that intense mental life plays an essential role in cognitive well-being later in life.
Current research suggests that neuroplasticity may be key to the development of many new and more effective treatments for brain damage, whether as a result of traumatic injury, stroke, age-related cognitive decline, or any degenerative disease (Alzheimer, Parkinson…) even in case of cerebral palsy.
the neuroplasticity It not only offers hope to people suffering from cognitive disabilities such as ADHD, dyslexia, etc… but it also leads to important advances in the treatment of depression, anorexia and other behavioral and emotional disorders.