Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Plasticity or Not

Fortunately, the human brain generally is quite flexible. Learning new words and information, honing skills, or recognizing patterns, typically triggers your brain to grow new dendrites on your neurons and/or modify and strengthen those already there. Practicing the piano, or honing a sporting skill for example, helps pave these neuron pathways. The brain rewires itself to accommodate the learning. That’s called ‘plasticity.’ Researchers have discovered that the brain with dyslexia—the most common learning challenge worldwide—may have difficulty rewiring itself with learning, especially with reading as it is a very complex activity. Scans showed that non-dyslexic brains showed less activity to words they had seen or heard multiple times, the brain already adapting to process the information more efficiently. The dyslexic brain appears to fully reprocess the stimuli with each exposure rather than rewiring neural shortcuts. Now the question will be if researchers can figure out how to assist the dyslexic brain with increasing its plasticity. 

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