Exercising the mind – Improving mental acuity
By Judith C. Tingly
Use it or lose it
The term neuroplasticity describes the brain’s ever changing structure and activity. Whether a brain is growing, declining or unchanging is dependent on things like an individual’s genes and day-to-day habits and experiences.
Wilma Koustaal, Ph.D, a cognitive neuroscientist, describes a study illustrating neuroplasticity in her 2012 award-winning book The Agile Mind. All participants int he study initially had a brain scan to determine the sturcture of their brains. half of the participants were asked to learn a three-ball cascade juggling routine in the three-months that followed. They all succeeded at the task. The other half were told to live as usual and come back in three months. next, all participants underwent a second brain scan. The jugglers’ brains showed an increase int he number of neurons, particularly in areas connected to motion sensitivity and visual-spatial attention. The brains of the non-jugglers…
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