Understanding Brain Functioning
The brain is hard-wired with connections; much like a skyscraper or airplane is hard-wired with electrical wiring. In the case of the brain, the connections are made by neurons that link the sensory inputs and motor outputs with centers in the various lobes of the cerebral cortex.
The rewiring of your brain is a result of neuroplasticity, which includes two things: Neurogenesis (the growth of new neurons) and synaptogeneis (new connections between neurons).
Scientists now know that the brain has an amazing ability to change and heal itself in response to mental stimulation such as Visual Concentration Attention Therapy (VCAT- Mental and Cognitive Stimulation). This phenomenon, known as neuroplasticity, is considered to be one of the most important developments in modern science for our understanding of the brain.
Your brain is a thinking organ that learns and grows by interacting with the world through perception and action. Mental and cognitive stimulation such as VCAT improves brain function and actually protects against cognitive decline, as does physical exercise. The human brain is able to continually adapt and rewire itself. Even in old age, it can grow new neurons. Severe mental decline is usually caused by substance abuse and disease, whereas most age-related losses in memory or motor skills simply result from inactivity and a lack of mental exercise and stimulation. In other words, use it or lose it.
Many neuroscientists believe that learning and memory involve changes at neuron-to-neuron synapses. Such changes, called long-term potentiation (LTP), make it easier for connected neurons to communicate with each other, and therefore to form memories. LTP involves patterns of synaptic strengthening and weakening that can last for weeks.
Plasticity is the basic mental drive that networks your brain, giving you cognition and memory – fluidity, versatility, and adaptability. It is important to challenge your brain to learn new and novel tasks, especially processes that you’ve never done before such as VCAT.
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