Your Man Friday’s Ideas: Our Plastic Brains
Neuroscientists are offering support for George Burns’ contention that “You can't help getting older, but you don't have to get old.” It seems you actually can teach old dogs new tricks. Neuroplasticity is the term used to describe our brains’ flexibility: its ability to wire and rewire its neural circuits. Once it was thought that this was only a characteristic of the youthful brain, just as it was believed we were born with a certain number of functioning neurons that gradually died off as we aged. Now it is known that our brains retain their plasticity for our whole lives, and we can even create new neurons—a process called neurogenesis.
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