About Brain Plasticity

My research topic was brain plasticity, I was interested in this topic because at first I thought that it had to do with the brain actually being plastic. This topic relates to Temple Grandin’s chapter “From the Margins to the Mainstream” in The Autistic Brain, because her autism wasn’t curable, but she was still able to live through it. My research question is ‘Does every living thing have Brain Plasticity, and if not how do they live without it?’. Brain Plasticity doesn’t mean that the brain is made up of actual plastic, but that the brain can fix itself from brain damage.

Some people are confused with the term “brain plasticity” (neuroplasticity) when it really means something else. brain plasticity or ‘neuroplasticity’ is a weird term for a lot of people because it has the word ‘plastic’ in it, and it makes several people think the brain is made up of actual plastic. A quote I thought was useful is that “Brain Plasticity science is the study of a physical process…neural connections can be forged and refined, or weakened and severed” “Science”. What the quote above is trying to say is that the brain can basically fix itself or get damaged even more. To help the people that are confused, understand this term is that neuroplasticity doesn’t actually mean the brain is made of plastic, but that it has the word ‘plastic’ in it, to give an example that you can’t damage plastic, just like you can’t damage your brain because of neuroplasticity. Another quote I also found useful is that “Changes in the physical brain manifest as changes in your abilities.” Science” Which gives me the idea that they are trying to say that every time we learn something new, the brain grows and refines.

However, neuroplasticity actually works to give the idea, that the term brain plasticity means that the brain can fix itself every time it’s damaged. Brain Plasticity is the ability of the brain to fix itself from the damages it has, some people also call it re-wiring. Something that helped me understand my claim even more is that “Brain Plasticity is the ability of the brain to modify its connections to rewire itself. Without this ability, any brain, not just the human brain, would be unable to develop from infancy through adulthood, or recover from brain injury. “Banks”.What the quote is trying to state is that neuroplasticity is there to take care of your brain as much as possible, and without it, a lot of people would never be able to recover from brain injury.

If you want your brain to be able to re-wire itself every time it’s damaged, you should do your best to take care of it as much as possible, because without it nobody’s brain would be able to reconnect back together to work normally. Also “Part of the body’s ability to recover following damage to the brain can be explained by the damaged area of the brain getting better, but most is the result of neuroplasticity.” “Banks” which is another example of how neuroplasticity works.

In addition, the brain is capable of a lot of things, for example recovering from brain injury as already stated, but when you don’t have brain plasticity it affects people by not being able to recover from any type of brain damage. Meditation helps the brain naturally, with it being the best brain exercise for your brain to get it stronger. A quote that also helped me is “Last week the world learned of a woman who has been living normally without no cerebellum. That’s not the limit to the brain’s plasticity either.” “Herkewitz” What I understood from the quote is that if a woman was able to live part of her life without a cerebellum, what else the brain can be capable of, for example making your brain stronger by just meditating. That’s not it though, if a woman didn’t have her cerebellum, that means a lot of people can live without some other parts of their brain, except for brain plasticity, because that’s what helped the woman stay alive without her cerebellum, making her brain stronger. “…her incomplete brain developed, thanks to an amazing feature of the brain called neuroplasticity. ”Herkewitz” said one doctor, what I understood is that the woman who had no cerebellum, even tho she was missing part of her brain, the rest still developed normally due to Brain Plasticity.

Everything that I wrote in this essay, is to give everyone facts that I found while doing my research, also to explain to everyone that brain plasticity does not mean that the brain is actually made up of plastic, but it means that the brain can rewire and fix itself when it’s damaged. Also if we didn’t have it, some people would never be able to recover from brain damage. This research has helped me change my perspective to people with autism, because I always felt sorry for them, but now that I have done this research about the things that can happen when you don’t have brain plasticity, I now feel like they are not people who we should feel sorry for, but look up to them.

 

Banks, Duncans. Brain Plasticity. The Conversation US, Inc., 4 April 2016, http://theconversation.com/what-is-brain-plasticity-and-why-is-it-so-important-55967. Accessed 2 March 2017

Herkewitz, William. Brain Plasticity. Hearst Communication, Inc., 19 September 2014, http://www.popularmechanics.com/science/health/a13017/how-much-of-the-brain-can-a-person-do-without-17223085/. Accessed 6 March 2017.

Science, Posit. Brain Plasticity. BrainHQ, 2016-2017, http://www.brainhq.com/brain-resources/brain-plasticity/what-is-brain-plasticity. Accessed 6 March 2017.

McEwen S., Bruce. Brain Plasticity. THE BRAIN AND BEHAVIOR RESEARCH FOUNDATION, Fall 2013, https://bbrfoundation.org/brain-matters-discoveries/creative-scientist-explores-the-brain-and-discovers-its-“plasticity”. Accessed 6 March 2017.

 

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