Brain - Brain

Learning through more plasticity

Brain & Mind describes in the current article, how it could be possible in the future, through special drugs, to give back to the adult's brain its original ability to learn (plasticity) - at least in part. We know the problem when working with the NEURONprocessor, which aims to "outsmart" these established ways of thinking and perceiving adults.

"The maturing nervous system of babies and children undergoes intensive learning phases. As researchers gain a better understanding of the neurophysiological processes of these critical periods, they have the potential to make adult brains plastic and open to new experiences.

"The habits we train in childhood make little difference, but in fact make the difference," the Greek thinker Aristotle proclaimed more than 2000 years ago. The latest results of brain research support this life wisdom. The brain consolidates the crucial nerve connections during certain months or even years of intense development, known as critical periods; most occur in early childhood, some only in adolescence. Neuroscientists have already identified critical periods for seeing, hearing, language, and various forms of social interaction. During such a phase, for example, incident light and sound signals cause the brain to make connections between the brain cells that persist into old age.

It can have dire consequences if a critical period can not be used. A child may become visually impaired or susceptible to autism. In a baby born with lens opacity in one eye and with limited environmental perception, important connections between brain cells can not be established during the visual critical period, which ends at eight years. After that, the child has only an extremely small chance of developing his normal vision. "

For brain & mind subscribers the article can be read in the current issue - but can alternatively be ordered separately.

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