What is Brain Plasticity?
Brain plasticity science is the cornerstone of our clinically proven brain training techniques. Brain plasticity, or neuroplasticity (as it is commonly referred to by neuroscientists), is used to describe the process by which our experiences reorganize neural pathways in the brain. When we learn new things or memorize new information functional changes in the brain occur. These changes in neural connections can be long lasting and are what we call neuroplasticity. This flexibility plays an important role in our brain development as it impacts every area of brain functioning . . . from our memory to our personality. What many do not realize is that our brains have the ability to change at any age. Our brain is able to grow or to decline.
What we mean by this is that there is nothing spooky about brain changes that go along with brain flexibility (plasticity). Brain plasticity is a physical process where gray matter can actually shrink or expand; where neural connections can be created and refined or weakened and terminated. We understand these physical changes in the brain have occurred when they are manifested as changes in our socio-emotional, cognitive and physical abilities. If we think back to when we were teenagers (some of us have to reach further back than others!) and it was all so important to learn the newest dance everyone was doing before going to the dance, we can probably remember working on the dance under the tutelage of an older sibling or a friend. You can probably remember practicing once you got home from school for at least a week before the big dance. As we learned the new dance step and even as we practiced, it reflected a change in our physical brains. Newly created neural pathways were forged, giving instructions to our bodies to move in time with the rhythm and to perform the mechanics of the dance step. The same can be said for anyone who has taken up a sport and had to learn and demonstrate running plays and team strategies.
Alternatively, when we experience the forgetfulness and distractibility that typically accompanies aging (i.e., forgetting someone’s name, where we parked the car etc…) it also reflects physical changes in the brain. The “wires” (if you will) that once connected to the memory have been degraded, or even severed.
Often, people think of childhood and young adulthood as a time of brain growth.
Young people constantly learn new things, explore and embark on new adventures. Children are naturally inquisitive. Conversely, older adulthood is often seen as a time of cognitive decline, with people becoming more forgetful and being less inclined to seek new experiences.
Cognitive Growth and Decline
But what recent research has shown is that under the right circumstances, the power of brain plasticity can help adult minds grow. Although certain brain machinery tends to decline with age, there are steps people can take to tap into plasticity and reinvigorate that machinery. Research has shown that keeping our brains fit with a series of targeted brain training exercises can do the trick! Indications are that people suffering from a variety of psychological conditions (including addiction) may be able to retrain their brains to healthier functioning. Knowing what brain mechanisms to target and how to exercise them effectively are key.
One of the most attractive features of the plasticity-based therapies offered by PranaMind is that they are drug free. They rely on retraining the brain through repetitious, challenging activity. At a time when people are more and more dependent on medications, with more and more side effects and negative interactions, it is exciting to move toward breakthroughs in health are less invasive.