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Neuroplasticity

Neuroplasticity Overview: – Neuroplasticity is the ability of neural networks in the brain to change. – The brain can be rewired for different functionality through […]

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Neuroplasticity Overview:
– Neuroplasticity is the ability of neural networks in the brain to change.
– The brain can be rewired for different functionality through changes ranging from new neuron pathways to cortical remapping.
– Examples of neuroplasticity include learning new abilities and environmental influences.
– Neuroplasticity manifests in both childhood and adulthood.

History and Research:
– The term ‘plasticity’ was coined by William James in 1890, with early evidence dating back to 1793.
– Significant researchers like Santiago Ramón y Cajal and Karl Lashley contributed to the understanding of neuroplasticity.
– Research milestones include Marian Diamond’s evidence of brain plasticity in 1964 and Michael Merzenich’s pioneering work.
– Lack of a universal framework for neuroplasticity definition remains a challenge in the field.

Implications and Applications:
– Neuroplasticity has significant implications for development, learning, and memory.
– Activity-dependent plasticity aids in healthy brain function and supports recovery from brain damage.
– Applications of neuroplasticity include aiding in stroke recovery, observing brain structure changes in taxi drivers, and cognitive improvements in the elderly.
– Brain exercises are noted to be as effective as drugs in certain treatments.

Neurobiology and Types of Neuroplasticity:
– Neuroplasticity is based on synapses and neuronal connections, influenced by factors like phosphorylation, inflammation, and proteins.
– Two main types of neuroplasticity are structural and functional, with mechanisms traced by researchers.
– Structural neuroplasticity involves changing neuronal connections, while functional neuroplasticity alters the functional properties of neurons.
– Different forms of functional plasticity include homologous area adaptation and map expansion.

Specific Applications and Examples:
– Examples of neuroplasticity application include the brain’s ability to rewire neuronal circuits in response to training or injury.
– Neurogenesis in the adult brain, changes in cortical reorganization due to brain damage, and the impact of meditation on brain regions are highlighted.
– Conditions like phantom limb sensation, chronic pain, and improvements in individuals with vision anomalies demonstrate neuroplasticity in action.
– Research areas such as binocular vision enhancements, effects of artistic engagement on neural networks, and the role of neuroplasticity in sensory function development are explored.

Neuroplasticity (Wikipedia)

Neuroplasticity, also known as neural plasticity or brain plasticity, is the ability of neural networks in the brain to change through growth and reorganization. It is when the brain is rewired to function in some way that differs from how it previously functioned. These changes range from individual neuron pathways making new connections, to systematic adjustments like cortical remapping or neural oscillation. Other forms of neuroplasticity include homologous area adaptation, cross modal reassignment, map expansion, and compensatory masquerade. Examples of neuroplasticity include circuit and network changes that result from learning a new ability, information acquisition, environmental influences, practice, and psychological stress.

Neuroplasticity was once thought by neuroscientists to manifest only during childhood, but research in the latter half of the 20th century showed that many aspects of the brain can be altered (or are "plastic") even through adulthood. However, the developing brain exhibits a higher degree of plasticity than the adult brain. Activity-dependent plasticity can have significant implications for healthy development, learning, memory, and recovery from brain damage.

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