Neuroscience

Rewiring the brains of stroke patients

Neuroscientist and physical therapist Andrew Butler, professor in the Department of Physical Therapy and associate dean for research at the Byrdine F. Lewis College of Nursing & Health Professions, discusses how he is mobilizing ...

Neuroscience

Physical therapy helps recover arm function in chronic CVA

(HealthDay)—Physical therapy promotes the recovery of arm function and neuroplasticity in all chronic stroke patients, according to a study published online April 25 in the Journal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice.

Neuroscience

Can you think yourself into a different person?

For years she had tried to be the perfect wife and mother but now, divorced, with two sons, having gone through another break-up and in despair about her future, she felt as if she'd failed at it all, and she was tired of ...

Neuroscience

Chronic pain research delves into the brain

(Medical Xpress)—University of Adelaide researchers say new insights into how the human brain responds to chronic pain could eventually lead to improved treatments for patients.

Neuroscience

Neuroplasticity reduced in teens born prematurely

(HealthDay)—Adolescents who were born prematurely have reduced neuroplasticity, which may explain their motor, learning, and memory difficulties, according to a study published in the Nov. 14 issue of the Journal of Neuroscience.

Psychology & Psychiatry

Meet Mr Happy: French geneticist turned Tibetan monk

As he grins serenely and his burgundy robes billow in the fresh Himalayan wind, it is not difficult to see why scientists declared Matthieu Ricard the happiest man they had ever tested.

page 1 from 2

Neuroplasticity

Neuroplasticity is a non-specific neuroscience term referring to the ability of the brain and nervous system in all species to change structurally and functionally as a result of input from the environment. Plasticity occurs on a variety of levels, ranging from cellular changes involved in learning, to large-scale changes involved in cortical remapping in response to injury. The most widely recognized forms of plasticity are learning, memory, and recovery from brain damage. During most of the 20th century, the general consensus among neuroscientists was that brain structure is relatively immutable after a critical period during early childhood. This belief has been challenged by new findings, revealing that many aspects of the brain remain plastic even into adulthood.

Hubel and Wiesel had demonstrated that ocular dominance columns in the lowest neocortical visual area, V1, were largely immutable after the critical period in development. Critical periods also were studied with respect to language; the resulting data suggested that sensory pathways were fixed after the critical period. However, studies determined that environmental changes could alter behavior and cognition by modifying connections between existing neurons and via neurogenesis in the hippocampus and other parts of the brain, including the cerebellum.

Decades of research have now shown that substantial changes occur in the lowest neocortical processing areas, and that these changes can profoundly alter the pattern of neuronal activation in response to experience. Neurological research indicates that experience can actually change both the brain's physical structure (anatomy) and functional organization (physiology). Neuroscientists are currently engaged in a reconciliation of critical period studies demonstrating the immutability of the brain after development with the more recent research showing how the brain can, and does, change.

This text uses material from Wikipedia, licensed under CC BY-SA