Until recently, the accepted belief among both the scientific community and the public was that the adult brain is a static organ, hardwired to behave in a certain way based on the results of the developmental stages throughout childhood and adolescence. For example, it was once believed that the brain ceased to make new neural connections after reaching a certain developmental period. Modern technologies have allowed us to better understand the brain, and we now understand its neuroplastic capabilities. We know now, for instance, that the brain is capable of making new connections for its entire lifetime, able to reorganize pathways in order to overcome an injury, disability, or other deficiency.
Neuroplasticity refers to the brain’s ability to reorganize and create new connections in response to a change in circumstance or environment. This scientifically confirmed ability has disproven the once accepted belief that the brain’s permanent systems are established by a person’s genetics, childhood experiences, and education history. Instead, the brain’s neuroplasticity allows it to evolve, reorganizing according to a new need, such as one created by a neurological disease.
The first type of neuroplasticity is functional plasticity, or the brain’s ability to adapt after damage to a part of the brain in charge of a certain bodily function, moving that function to an undamaged area. For example, after a stroke, a person’s brain will move functions from damaged neurons to neurons that are undamaged, restoring as much lost function as possible.
This type of neuroplasticity refers to the brain’s ability to change its structures throughout its lifetime in response to learning new things. For example, when a person suddenly focuses on learning a new skill, the brain will grow certain regions, strengthen pathways and connections, and even make new connections.
Learn how you can take advantage of your brain’s neuroplasticity through neurofeedback by continuing to follow our blog and giving neurofeedback a try at NeuraPerformance Brain Center in Denver. Contact us online to learn more.