Wednesday, May 16, 2007

The Plastic Nature of the Brain

The dictionary definition of "plastic" means capable of being molded, modeled, or capable of being influenced, shaped or formed. "Plastic derives from the Greek word meaning "molded" or "formed." It is the tendency of the brain to shape itself according to experience." Our so called "Three Pound Universe" is an amazingly complex one hundred trillions network of neuronal connections capable of performing 200 calculations per second.

I am Introducing a book that I read called, "The Brain that Changes itself". As I am approaching the advancing age, and started to notice that sometimes I have a difficult time remembering the term, place or the name of things I wanted to describe while engaging conversations with others. I would have a mental picture of what I would like to say, but I could not conjure up the name that associate with the picture. It is quite disturbing when that happened considering I am really not that old yet. After reading the book about plasticity of our brain knowing that our brain can be trained to maintain an optimal function for years to come, my mood enlightens quite a bit now that I understand that by keeping active physically and doing brain workout exercise several times a week I can maintain a fairly agile and vigorous mind.

Brain science discovered that every organ and muscle of our body has an address in our brain, something that is equivalent to the atlas, the geography of the mind. Scientific laboratory tested that when some part of muscle is stimulated, the brain area governs it light up like Christmas tree.The law of compensation enables our brain to fully utilize every part of the brain and our brain cells seem to intelligently know that no area of brain should remain idle. We all know that the blind has unusually sharpened sense of tactility and audibility; in other words, the blind has supercharged sense of hearing and touch. Instead of wasting away, blind person's visual cortex of the brain is recruited by the auditory cortex of the brain, therefore the auditory function of the brain is expanded and is able to compensate the lack of visual input and strengthening the audial sensing ability.

Our brain cells seem to have intelligence beyond our comprehension and constantly re-transcribe its synaptic connections to serve us physically and mentally. What I am describing here is only a cursory bird eye's view of this book's content; a tip of the iceberg. The more I read into the chapters, the more I appreciate how wonderful and fascinating the god-given brain is. The macrocosm of a human being is a collective, concerted effort of our countless trillions of microscopic cells. Each cell is fused with intelligence, plasticity capable of adapting and responding to the need of changing environment by reorganizing itself or creating new structures. This book " The Brain That Changes Itself" by Dr. Norman Doidge is a masterful work; a tribute and an honor to appreciate our 100+ trillions brain cells that work tirelessly and diligently serving us.