We’ve all heard the saying ’you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. Well, scientists are proving this old adage to be absolutely wrong. After four centuries of believing that the brain is fixed, we are now learning that the brain is in fact constantly changing. What many have come to realize is that every thought and every experience changes the brain. This means that our minds are not hard-wired by age 18. Neuroplasticity sustains that the brain is not a machine and that because of this it needs to be understood on its own terms.
For almost 40 years, Dr. Paul Bach-y-Rita, a visionary scientist, tried to prove the plasticity of the brain. But it wasn’t until his final years when he was able to see all his experiments and efforts reach fruition. With a device that was designed based on this scientist’s research, he was able to show that when certain brain functions are lost, the brain will use ‘back roads’ to reestablish the lost skills or functions.
Then there’s another brilliant neuroplastician named Barbara Arrowsmith Young who is using her skills to change cognitive capacity in students with learning disabilities. What she does is target their area of difficulty to bring it up to average and even above average.
Like these, in many parts of the world, brain scientists are working diligently to find ways to use the brain’s plasticity to cure many conditions that were once thought of as incurable. And in so doing, they have shown that we can change our brain’s anatomy simply by using our imagination. By recognizing how the brain can be more resilient, hope arises for people with psychological and neurological disorders.
Listen to the amazing case studies of men and women of all ages whose brains have changed and adapted to overcome physical and mental disabilities, including trauma.