Did you know your brain has the ability to repair itself?
PLASTICITY! That’s what it’s called!
It means your brain reroutes its network to compensate for the loss of abilities!
Do you remember that classmate in school that wore a patch for their lazy-eye condition? Well, forcing their lazy eye to be the only source of visual information did not change anything about the eye, but, it did cause their visual pathways in the brain to develop further (Marquez, 2019)! HOW?! Because of rewiring!
People who have stroke have difficulties controlling their body movement due to paralysis. This is because the brain cells responsible for the movement for that particular part of the body is “dead”. But, a neuroscientist found a way to get that paralysed arm to work! He adopted a constraint-induced therapy where patients avoided using their working arm and could only use the arm that’s affected by stroke. After 2 weeks, they discovered that the arm became stronger! This happened because the area of the brain next to the damaged neurones started to rewire to enable the patient to use that arm (Marquez, 2019)!
Many of us would have heard about the amazing sense of hearing that blind people have (Sandoiu, 2018)! Blind people gain information about their surroundings from sound. Hence, the area responsible for sound in the brain, the auditory cortex, has intensified capacities (Times, 2019) while the area responsible for vision in the brain become smaller (Newman, 2017).
Research has found that as people age, the risk of getting dementia increases. But, there is a way to minimise that risk and it starts from young! People who take part in aerobic exercises have increased cortical thickness of their brains. This development of thickness is associated with lower risk of dementia in old age. Aerobic exercise benefits people in their twenties. Even though people in their twenties do not face the threat of cognitive decline, exercising early helps to build up these defences (Betuel, 2019)!
Our brain is more powerful than we think it is! And it is within us to develop it and harness its strengths! Start living right by exercising, learning new things and sleeping well! The brain you look after now, will look after you later on!
Marquez, J. (2019). Rewiring the brains of stroke patients. Retrieved from https://medicalxpress.com/news/2019-04-rewiring-brains-patients.html
Sandoiu, A. (2018). The curious case of a blind woman who sees motion. Retrieved from https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/322136.php
Times, A. (2019). Studies Prove Blind People Really Have Better Hearing. Retrieved from https://www.techtimes.com/articles/242061/20190423/studies-prove-blind-people-really-have-better-hearing.htm
Newman, T. (2017). How blind people’s brains rewire to improve other senses. Retrieved from https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/316493.php
Betuel, E. (2019). The Effect of Exercise on Aging Brains Begins Even Earlier Than We Thought. Retrieved from https://www.inverse.com/article/52914-exercise-effects-on-brain-health-and-aging-start-young