Author: Earl Verduzco

Pathway To Meditation And Peace

For years, scientists have been battling a theory that our brains physically change when we learn new things. Now, two new studies from the University of Texas at Dallas add to the evidence supporting this idea. This theory is known as neuroplasticity–the brain’s ability to change in response to learning or experience.

The more you use a particular part of your brain, the stronger those neural connections become—making it easier for your brain to access information and fire signals through these specific pathways in the future. This causes physical changes in the structure of the brain itself over time. In other words, if you practice the guitar every day for 20 years, then that part of your brain will be strengthened and have an increased number of neural connections. You’ll have built up a “mental highway” for your guitar playing, so to speak.

Deadly Brain Tumor Becomes ‘Self-Propelled’ With The Help Of New Treatment

A deadly glioblastoma brain tumour has been made more aggressive in mice by adding an experimental drug—but this same drug might be used to slow the disease down in humans one day. Glioblastomas are some of the deadliest cancers known because they can grow into nearby areas and quickly kill patients through increased pressure on the brain or when growing tumours cut off circulation to parts of the brain. Researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis showed that nearly all mice with glioblastoma die within 12 weeks if they are not given the experimental drug. However, 90 per cent of the mice that were treated with the drug survived more than two years after receiving it.

“The field has been consumed by debates about whether this rewiring actually occurs,” said KAUST neuroscientist Peter Lederer. “But our data shows clearly that these changes occur in brain areas associated with higher-order thought processes.”

Neuroplasticity Linked To Better Cognitive Abilities In Older Adults.

Senior citizens who possess a greater capacity for physiological health and neural plasticity fare better at tasks involving thinking, learning and memory, according to research published in Nature Neuroscience. The researchers caution against drawing too many conclusions from their study due to limitations in sample size and diversity; however, the results do offer promising insight on how neuroplasticity—the ability of our brains to adapt and change in response to new experiences or injury— affects older individuals.

“We found that every area of cognition we looked at was correlated with physical and mental health,” said Brian Gordon, a professor of psychology and neuroscience at Duke University and corresponding author on the study. “For example, we saw more robust correlations between smoking, obesity, exercise and brain structure within individuals than socioeconomic status or education.”