YOUR BRAIN IS GROWING! Brain plasticity (the brain’s ability to change itself) is a concept that was not totally accepted until the last couple of decades, although early brain development pioneers including neurosurgeons Temple Fay, M.D.; Eugene Spitz, M.D.; and physciatrist Robert J. Doman, M.D., knew this was possible dating back to the mid twentieth century. Now it’s commonly accepted in the scientific community that the brain grows new connections through dendritic growth and synaptic propagation.
A more recent theory in neuroscience and neurobiology is Adult Neurogenesis (birth of neurons) in which new neurons are created. There was a long-held belief that adult neurogenesis didn’t occur, but that precept is changing. In fact adult neurogenesis does appear to be a reality and is thought to promote neuroplasticity. Further research shows that new adult neurons may help us learn complex tasks, and flourish when challenged.
Scientific American published an in depth article How to Save New Brain Cells in the March 2009 Issue that delves into the science that provides support for the benefits of engaging in mentally stimulating tasks. The author is Tracey J. Shors, a professor in the department of psychology and the Center for Collaborative Neuroscience at Rutgers University.
The article opens up the possibility that exercising your mind with brain fitness programs, BrainBuilder® is one such program, may have a real basis in neurobiology.