Exploring the re-wiring of the brain
Proprioception, hand-eye coordination and most physical body movements requires the human brain to coordinate the entire complex process. It is the brain’s powerful ability to change itself and adapt — and ways we might make use of that plasticity to heal injured brains and enhance the skills in healthy ones. This property – neuroplasticity – enables us to improve on a specific sports activity such as returning a fast tennis-serve to recovering from a stroke. Michael Merzenich in the video below explores how our brain re-wires itself to improve and heal.
One of the foremost researchers of neuroplasticity, Michael Merzenich’s work has shown that the brain retains its ability to alter itself well into adulthood — suggesting that brains with injuries or disease might be able to recover function, even later in life. He has also explored the way the senses are mapped in regions of the brain and the way sensations teach the brain to recognize new patterns.
Merzenich wants to bring the powerful plasticity of the brain into practical use through technologies and methods that harness it to improve learning. He founded Scientific Learning Corporation, which markets and distributes educational software for children based on models of brain plasticity. He is co-founder and Chief Science Officer of Posit Science, which creates “brain training” software also based on his research.
Merzenich is professor emeritus of neuroscience at the University of California, San Francisco.