New Brain Science – New Findings in Neuroplasticity
Remarkable discoveries about neuroplasticity over the last few decades are creating (amazing)
You may have heard of self-directed neuroplasticity, the brain revolution, or even the brain rewiring itself and wondered what is going on and what it has to do with the function of your brain.
Well, here’s the long and short of it.
Neuroplasticity describes the ability of the brain to change – literally to rewire itself in response to experience.
Where before the brain was thought of as a machine, preset at age five and deteriorating from there, we now know that we have the capacity to re-wire brain circuits and grow new neural pathways.
Ever since neuroscientists discovered neuroplasticity and also neurogenesis (the brain’s ability to grow new neural networks), practitioners have sought to bring these new findings to their patients.
These findings open clinical possibilities when treating everything from stroke to OCD to anxiety and depression.
Any yet, the possibilities that can result from neuroplasticity aren’t limited to work done by health and mental health professionals.
Teachers, coaches, managers, even parents can benefit from learning ways to rewire the brain.
So what brain lessons have we learned so far? I’ll give you a few examples:
- Too much stress can be harmful, not just to the cardiovascular system, but also to your brain. Recent studies are showing that when corticosteroids (the stress hormone) were increased, neurogenesis (brain growth) decreased. In fact, chronic stress can shrink the brain making it hard to learn new information or even retain the information you already have.
- You need to find the “sweet spot” for neuroplasticity. New learning is most likely to take place when the brain has an optimal amount of arousal. Too much arousal and the brain shuts down; not enough, and it gets distracted and lazy. For you teachers, parents, and managers, this is especially useful information about the function of the brain.
- Aerobic exercise is one of the best things you can do for your brain – at any age! Aerobic exercise increases BDNF (brain-derived neurotrophic factor), which when released into the system, enhances brain growth and neural connections, and overall function of the brain. John Ratey, MD, calls it “miracle grow” for the brain.
- There is a brain-belly connection. That’s right: to improve brain health, you need to take a metabolic approach, including controlling inflammation and insulin levels. And don’t forget to eat brain happy foods like nuts, omega 3s, and avocados.
Interested in finding out more brain lessons – as well as numerous ideas for getting this brain growth started? You can learn more about these new neuroscience developments and their immediate application in these programs: