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Flexible Friend
 

cartoon girl on skateboard jumping over a footballIt was once thought that the connections in our brain were set like concrete. We now recognise that the brain can be remoulded throughout life. We call this ability to adapt neuroplasticity and it offers hope for people with MS.

Every time we learn some new fact or skill our brain changes. In this way we say the brain is “plastic”; this ability to bend and subtly reshape remains throughout our lives.

Not long ago it was thought our brain’s networks were etched forever like circuits on a computer chip. And it was believed that damage to these circuits through disease or injury was pretty much forever. But our brain is far more flexible than was once thought.

Each day, brain cells spring to life (neurogenesis) while others cast out new links to neighbours. New patterns are made in a rich and changing tapestry of brain cells (neurons) that reflects what we have done, seen and learned. A brain damaged by injury or disease can also respond with new cells or a reweaving to compensate for damage. This emerging picture of a more flexible brain offers us far more hope. We now know that – like your muscles – your brain can be toned and exercised by mental challenges making it better prepared for challenges such as disease or ageing.


London taxi drivers brains show how what we do can make our brains grow.

Back to Brain 101

 

 
 
Hello Brain For more info on brain health visit Hello Brain
 

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