Impact sommeil sur santé cérébrale

The brain is not fixed. It is a dynamic system that evolves and adapts throughout life. This idea was quite recently discovered and it is revolutionary! So, it deserved a little article.

Brain plasticity, also known as neuroplasticity or neural plasticity, is the ability of the brain to change its structure and function throughout our life experiences.

This concept is quite old but the precise term of brain "plasticity" was introduced in neuroscience by William James in 1890. A few years later, the scientist Ramón y Cajal brought the first anatomical evidence. Over time, the idea was slightly forgotten, just to be resurfaced in the 70s thanks to new neuroimaging techniques. We have discovered that brain plasticity occurred during the whole human lifespan! In fact, scientists have believed for a long time that changes in the brain occured only in the maturing brain of a child and that at a certain age, our brain became fixed and immutable. The principles of neuroplasticity is not progressively identical at each age but brain plasticity is still available throughout life even at an advanced age.

The brain is a complex and fascinating organ which is composed of about 100 billion neurons. To put it in perspective, a single neuron is composed of thousands of synapses. Imagine the number of connections! It would seem that it is more important than the number of atoms in the universe! Imagine that the brain is a garden, a vast garden. It will evolve and change at the whim of watering and exposure of the environment. The flowers, fruits and vegetables with their roots would be the neurons and their synaptic connections. Some cells would be the gardeners (glial cells) of the brain. In fact they are helping the neuronal connections to grow and evolve but also removing the bad weed. It is to say connections considered "useless" or rather the least "used" (synaptic pruning).

When does brain plasticity happen? It occurs when learning to play a music instrument, a new language and during a change of habit (Cf. article and video 'How to change your habits thanks to brain plasticity') but also in the case of brain damages. The brain will adapt, trying to compensate for damages by creating new connections and requiring other healthy brain areas to take over.

So not everything is done during childhood. At every ages of life, neuroplasticity occurs and allows us to adapt, change habits, or learn new things!


Image

Caroline Joubert: Neuropsychologist

Caroline Joubert obtained a Master’s degree in Psychology from the Université de Caen with a specialisation in Neuropsychology and an Inter-University Diploma from the Université Paris 8 in Psychopathology and Neurological Illness. She has been responsible for neuropsychological assessments and neuropsychological rehabilitation of adults and children in several hospitals in France. At ELLISTRA, she is bringing her expertise in neuroscience to create new content (videos, articles, etc.).

RÉFÉRENCES

  • Green C.S. and Bavelier D. (2008). Exercising Your Brain: A Review of Human Brain
    Plasticity and Training-Induced Learning. Psychol Aging. 23(4): 692–701. (PMC free article)
  • Vidal, C. (2012). La plasticité cérébrale : une révolution en neurobiologie. Spirale. n° 63,
    17-22. (Cairn free article)
  • Le cerveau à tous les niveaux. La plasticité des réseaux de neurones. lecerveau.mcgill.ca,
    [En ligne]. Page consultée le 11 Juillet 2018.
    http://lecerveau.mcgill.ca/flash/d/d_07/d_07_cl/d_07_cl_tra/d_07_cl_tra.html
  • Droz Mendelzweig., M. (2010). La plasticité cérébrale de cajal à kandel : cheminement
    d'une notion constitutive du sujet cérébral. Revue d'histoire des sciences. Armand Colin. 2
    (63), 331-367 (Cairn free article)
  • Schiffmann, N.S. (2001). Le cerveau en constante reconstruction : le concept de plasticité
    cérébrale. Cahiers de psychologie clinique. 1(16), 11-23. (Cairn free article)
Impact sommeil sur santé cérébrale

What is Brain Plasticity ?

by Caroline Joubert

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The brain is not fixed. It is a dynamic system that evolves and adapts throughout life. This idea was quite recently discovered and it is revolutionary! So, it deserved a little article.

Brain plasticity, also known as neuroplasticity or neural plasticity, is the ability of the brain to change its structure and function throughout our life experiences.

This concept is quite old but the precise term of brain "plasticity" was introduced in neuroscience by William James in 1890. A few years later, the scientist Ramón y Cajal brought the first anatomical evidence. Over time, the idea was slightly forgotten, just to be resurfaced in the 70s thanks to new neuroimaging techniques. We have discovered that brain plasticity occurred during the whole human lifespan! In fact, scientists have believed for a long time that changes in the brain occured only in the maturing brain of a child and that at a certain age, our brain became fixed and immutable. The principles of neuroplasticity is not progressively identical at each age but brain plasticity is still available throughout life even at an advanced age.

The brain is a complex and fascinating organ which is composed of about 100 billion neurons. To put it in perspective, a single neuron is composed of thousands of synapses. Imagine the number of connections! It would seem that it is more important than the number of atoms in the universe! Imagine that the brain is a garden, a vast garden. It will evolve and change at the whim of watering and exposure of the environment. The flowers, fruits and vegetables with their roots would be the neurons and their synaptic connections. Some cells would be the gardeners (glial cells) of the brain. In fact they are helping the neuronal connections to grow and evolve but also removing the bad weed. It is to say connections considered "useless" or rather the least "used" (synaptic pruning).

When does brain plasticity happen? It occurs when learning to play a music instrument, a new language and during a change of habit (Cf. article and video 'How to change your habits thanks to brain plasticity') but also in the case of brain damages. The brain will adapt, trying to compensate for damages by creating new connections and requiring other healthy brain areas to take over.

So not everything is done during childhood. At every ages of life, neuroplasticity occurs and allows us to adapt, change habits, or learn new things!


Image

Caroline Joubert: Neuropsychologist

Caroline Joubert obtained a Master’s degree in Psychology from the Université de Caen with a specialisation in Neuropsychology and an Inter-University Diploma from the Université Paris 8 in Psychopathology and Neurological Illness. She has been responsible for neuropsychological assessments and neuropsychological rehabilitation of adults and children in several hospitals in France. At ELLISTRA, she is bringing her expertise in neuroscience to create new content (videos, articles, etc.).

Image

Caroline Joubert: Neuropsychologue

Caroline Joubert a obtenu un Master en Psychologie avec une spécialisation en Neuropsychologie à l'Université de Caen et un diplôme inter-universitaire en Psychopathologie et Affections Neurologiques à l’Université Paris 8. Elle a été responsable d’évaluations et réhabilitations neuropsychologiques auprès d'adultes et d'enfants au sein de différents hôpitaux en France, ainsi qu'en libéral. Chez ELLISTRA, elle apporte son expertise en neuroscience pour créer divers contenus (vidéos, articles, etc.).

RÉFÉRENCES

  • Green C.S. and Bavelier D. (2008). Exercising Your Brain: A Review of Human Brain
    Plasticity and Training-Induced Learning. Psychol Aging. 23(4): 692–701. (PMC free article)
  • Vidal, C. (2012). La plasticité cérébrale : une révolution en neurobiologie. Spirale. n° 63,
    17-22. (Cairn free article)
  • Le cerveau à tous les niveaux. La plasticité des réseaux de neurones. lecerveau.mcgill.ca,
    [En ligne]. Page consultée le 11 Juillet 2018.
    http://lecerveau.mcgill.ca/flash/d/d_07/d_07_cl/d_07_cl_tra/d_07_cl_tra.html
  • Droz Mendelzweig., M. (2010). La plasticité cérébrale de cajal à kandel : cheminement
    d'une notion constitutive du sujet cérébral. Revue d'histoire des sciences. Armand Colin. 2
    (63), 331-367 (Cairn free article)
  • Schiffmann, N.S. (2001). Le cerveau en constante reconstruction : le concept de plasticité
    cérébrale. Cahiers de psychologie clinique. 1(16), 11-23. (Cairn free article)