Brain Plasticity

OptiStart Chiropractic
April 12, 2018

Plasticity is a term used to describe the ability of the brain to change (Cohen, 1998). 

This quality is so amazing - previously it was thought that the brain was hard wired, like a computer. Now we know that there can be formation of new formation of new synapses and changes to existing synapses in the brain. (Witte, 1998). Synapses are the connections between nerve cells. So how can we encourage the brain to change? 

Research tells us that training and learning induces cortical organization (Godde, 2003). Additionally, adjusting the spine alters brain function (Carrick 1997)!!! 

Brain plasticity is activity dependant, meaning stimulus is required. Important variables include the duration, intensity, pattern, and history of stimulation. These factors affect the duration and direction of the resulting plasticity (Mitchell GS,  2003). This means that if you want the plasticity to occur through training, learning or adjusting how often you do the stimulus over time affects the results. 

In regards to motor (movement) performance we know that movement problems are linked to brain function (McPhillips, 2000). Interestingly, in Cerebral palsy, some infants outgrow this motor problems (David, 1998) - this can occur through the process of plasticity, and is one the reasons why "early intervention" is important. So, in order to change your brain (or your children's brain) choose the most relevant training, learning and adjusting program, do it at the right frequency, and stick to it over time.