Adaptability of the brain-Neuroplasticity

There is no point in denying that the ability of brain to change itself (scientifically called neuroplasticity) is considered to be one of the most interesting aspects of the humans` body. Throughout this article, I will try to give a comprehensive information about the origin of this theory, its proof, and potential applications into humans` lives.

The first claim on the possibility of neuroplasticity was made by William James in 1890 in his book “Principles of Psychology. Then, it took 60 years to define the term of neuroplasticity. But the founding principles of these experiments and theories come back to 18th century and, therefore, the history of neuroplasticity is significantly large in the field of psychology and neuroscience. Despite all these, neuroplasticity was not fully accepted among the scientists who was thinking that brain`s ability and power cannot be changed and they are fixed both functionally and genetically. Nevertheless, significant scientists and researchers such as Donald Hebb, Edward Taub, Micheal Merzenich, pioneered the experiments to prove the existence of neuroplasticity and, finally, in the decade of neuroscience (1990-2000), nearly all big cheeses of neuroscience accepted that brain is capable of changing its structure along with its functions.

Although, in the books and articles, it is possible to find piles of medical cases indicating the existence of neuroplasticity, I want to take an interesting one at “The Brain that changes itself” by Noman Doidge, a book which is covering this advanced scientific topic literally and with understandable language for all readers. In chapter 3, Norman Doidge introduces Micheal Merzenich who has made great contribution to the field of neuroplasticity. As a result of the improvements regarding brain mapping, brain lobes and their localization, Merzenich became able to test his hypothesis by mapping the patients` brains and record the changes happened there. One experiment is changing the damaged cochlear with artificial one. Despite the fact that artificial cochlear is much simpler and unaccustomed to humans` bodies, brain quickly adjusted itself to new cochlear and the patient’s hearing loss was more or less fixed. Furthermore, he and his colleagues developed the software known as Fast ForWord designed for the children with learning disabilities and, even, autism. After being subject to 30-60 hours of practice, children experienced enormous improvement in their comprehension.  All these are good indicators of neuroplasticity and you can find lots of these cases in medical journals or books. I want to finish this paragraph by referencing to an amazing quote of Micheal Merzenich on this issue: The brain is not an inanimate vessel that we fill; rather it is more like a living creature with an appetite, one that can grow and change itself with proper nourishment and exercise.”

What is possible to do with the brain changeability? First and foremost, in the comparison with past years, now, it is seen much more possible to cure some mental disorders with implementing special impulsive therapies and rehabilitation relying on the ability of the brain to change itself as a result. Secondly, we, humans, should understand that focusing on the subject we want to do and practicing our brains in that way can lead to noticeable improvements on it. Thus, I suggest everyone not to be discouraged to learn new languages, systems or even scientific topics, because, in each age of adulthood, it is quite reachable to learn new things and expand our mental horizons. However, make sure to do this learning process in the critical period where brain reacts much quickly; if you pass that critical period, keep trying it and you will see potentially good results.

As a person who is interested in researching about brain, I can assert that neuroplasticity is newly accepted fact which can contribute to new methods and techniques curing severe mental and psychological problems.

1) Norman Doidge "The Brain That Changes Itself"(2007)
2) Neural Plasticity(journal)  Neural Plasticity during Aging, Mauricio Arcos-Burgos, Francisco Lopera, Diego Sepulveda-Falla, and Claudio Mastronardi  Editorial (3 pages), Article ID 6042132, Volume 2019 (2019)

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