PLASTICITY OF THE BRAIN

According to Mora (2013), despite older people’s susceptibility to cognitive decline and memory loss, aging brains normally retain a considerable amount of plasticity. However, this plasticity is promoted by genes that are activated by various lifestyle factors. The plasticity of the brain in the aging individual is positively improved by environmental enrichment, food and nutrients intake, chronic stress reduction and physical exercise.
Plasticity results in certain brain changes in the sense that, it contributes to pathway remodeling resulting in the formation of new circuits in the brain. This circuit enables an individual learn as well as adapt to particular stimuli. With plasticity, there is repeated activation of the synapses that are silent to make them active and functional. For example, aerobic exercise will increase BDNF expression in a very important learning and memory area called Hippocampus. Increased IGF-I in the Hippocampus is positively important in providing a recovery from a cognitive deficit or impairment. The interaction with the environment will modify one’s existing genetic code enhancing one’s brains plasticity that then improves their cognitive ability, and their memory is boosted significantly (Sale, Berardi, & Maffei, 2014).
Our understanding of neuroscience, in general, is thus enhanced through the realization of the role that environment plays in the plasticity of our brains. This sums up the extrinsic factors that include food and diet, physical exercises, and stress predisposing factors. The environment dependent plasticity and its subsequent effects on environmental enrichment are therefore able to be understood in relation memory and cognitive loss with age (Kolb, 2013).

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