For decades in not centuries, scientists believed the brain's structure couldn't be changed. The new science of neuroplasticity says that's not the case, and argue that the brain is much more flexible than previously thought.
From Sharp Brains
"Plasticity, learning and memory
For a long time, it was believed that as we aged, the connections in the brain became fixed. Research has shown that in fact the brain never stops changing through learning. Plasticity IS the capacity of the brain to change with learning. Changes associated with learning occur mostly at the level of the connections between neurons. New connections can form and the internal structure of the existing synapses can change.
Did you know that when you become an expert in a specific domain, the areas in your brain that deal with this type of skill will grow?
For instance, London taxi drivers have a larger hippocampus (in the posterior region) than London bus drivers (Maguire, Woollett, & Spiers, 2006)…. Why is that? It is because this region of the hippocampus is specialized in acquiring and using complex spatial information in order to navigate efficiently. Taxi drivers have to navigate around London whereas bus drivers follow a limited set of routes."
According to Simon Evans, Ph.D. and co-author Paul Burghardt, Ph.D., of
Brainfit for Life, those plasticity neural kinds of changes happen in minutes, perhaps hours, so they are going on for you right now.
If you want, you can imagine your neurons moving around, knocking at the neighboring synapse to see it that connection is worthwhile, ect. You could even wave to them. As I do that exercise, it seems they are like seaweed, waving in the water.
What is necessary to make that kind of plasticity happen is novel learning experiences.
The learning must be about something new, a new language, a new career, learning to play a musical instrument, an exciting new hobby, some activity that demands the formation of new connections in the brain.
Of course, as word of the brain's plastic capabilities got out to the business community, a number of products touted to provide the novel learning experience required by the brain for neuroplasticity appeared.
It is important that those products provide the 'right'kind of training for brain fitness to truely happen, according to Michael Merzenich, Ph.D. of Posit Science which has created one of those products.
Merzenich's product has just been evaluated in the IMPACT study, and the results were quite stunning to the researchers, who were not attached to Posit Science.
Check out the video below.
Another great tool newly arrived on the market place is Mind Sparke Brain Fitness Pro, which trains fluid intelligence, again on your computer, about 1/2 hour per day, for 20 days, and the learning is measured by using IQ tests.
However, I was satisfied to experience a very noticeable ability to increase my focus and concentration, no mean feat for an ADD brain.