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Hope for Aging Brains
News Release : Aug 15, 2012 : Kavli Foundation
Study shows the brain is "plastic" for life, surprising researchers who believed older brains were incapable of growth.
There is growing evidence that, beyond what was previously believed, the adult human brain is remarkably malleable and capable of new feats—even in the last decades of life.
In fact, new experiences can trigger major physical changes in the brain within just a few days, and certain conditions can accelerate this physical, chemical and functional remodeling of the brain.
In fact, certain conditions accelerate this physical, chemical and functional remodeling of the brain. Said Michael Merzenich, Emeritus Professor at the Keck Center for Integrative Neurosciences at the University of California at San Francisco, and Director and founder of the Brain Plasticity Institute, "In our experiments in adult rats, changes only occurred when the animal was attentive within a rewarded learning environment. When we train the animals to improve their behavioral capabilities under near-optimal contextual conditions, we can drive easily recordable functional and physical changes in the cerebral cortex within a day or two. By contrast, little or no change is induced by the passive exposure of an animal to many days of stimulation with thousands of the same stimuli applied in training."
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