Brain plasticity refers to a mechanism in which the brain creates new neural pathways as a result of mental processes. A child’s brain is like a sponge and everything that child sees, hears or experiences is new. As this child becomes exposed to more stimuli and if it is done on a repetitive basis, his/her brain forms new neural pathways based on the brains response to that stimuli.
Over time the creation of these new neural pathways helps to lock in the response and a given situation is remembered presumably over a very long period of time. So if a child touches a hot surface, a powerful response is generated. There are new neural pathways created as a result. So the next time the child comes back to that situation which caused him/her to experience pain from touching a particular surface, that child remembers this and avoids it.
Similar brain training techniques are used to help a child to learn many new things such as language, music, visual response, etc. But what happens over time is that the brain receives much less new responses since it has already registered many previous experiences.
As the years progress, the cells may deteriorate and the neural networks can break down. This can create a situation where the brain deteriorates and people become more forgetful or agitated. Eventually it can have permanent long term effects through Alzheimer’s disease or dementia.
But it has been shown that it is possible to stimulate the brain even in older adults to create the formation of new neural networks which can help to perpetuate good mental function. It is not necessarily a fact that mental function has to decline as we age.
Brain plasticity is also an essential way to help people to overcome disabilities caused by injury to the brain. Most of us know that different parts of the brain control or handle different functions. So if a section of the brain is damaged through disease or injury, it can have devastating results such as affecting a person’s ability to walk or talk.
However certain techniques can be applied to use brain plasticity to help teach other parts of the brain which are undamaged to take over functions it previously did not do. So in many cases a person can be trained to regain certain functions and abilities which were previously lost. It is an amazing thing and one of the many wonders of our brains.
Also, for people who suffer from a condition or are under chemotherapy for example can suffer from certain cognitive decline. For example, chemotherapy is know to create what is called chemo brain. The treatment is so strong that it has an impact on your brain.
It is important to take care of your brain health as soon as possible and try to prevent some of the decline that are happening as we age. Keeping a sharp mind and brain training will offer a lot of benefits in daily life.