Brain Plasticity–the act of rewiring your brain

Contrary to what has previously been believed, recent research advances have demonstrated that the adult brain has a certain capacity for plastic reorganization and self-repair after an event like a stroke or other injury.  The mechanisms are complex and operating at different levels, from molecular to synaptic to anatomical reorganization.

However, with the right training, the brain can reshape itself to work around dead and damaged areas, often with dramatic benefits.  Children with low working memory have been shown to make significant progress using computer-training tools that are the equivalent of cerebral cross training.  While this concept may seem new to you and I apparently the ancient Greeks accepted the idea, with Socrates believing that people could train their brains the way gymnasts train their bodies.  Around the time of Galileo, the idea fell out of favour, as scientists began to see the world more mechanically.

The KMI Hand MentorThe Hand Mentor uses a video game like interface to aid in stroke rehab

works by creating an interactive, game-like environment, that engages a patient to perform more repetitions—and repetition is the key to rewiring the brain. The nice part about the KMI product is that you can do the rehab in your home and the progress is monitored via the internet.

If you want more information about strokes, you can visit http://www.strokecenter.org.  They have some very interesting MRIs of brains that have had strokes and offer tons of information for patients and families affected by stroke.  We are still in the early days of understanding the brain but products like the Hand Mentor are already providing new hope to stroke victims.

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