29 Oct 2023

Melissa Hogenboom: The brain that changes itself

From Sunday Morning, 10:35 am on 29 October 2023

The first 1000 days are the most important of our lives – why? Because in those first three years of life our brain is rapidly changing and developing, our neuroplasticity is at its peak.

It was once thought that this remarkable capacity to remodel ended with youth, but the brain’s plasticity is a constant force in shaping who we are.

Change can come about unconsciously and, interestingly, through conscious effort.  Science journalist and BBC Future reporter Melissa Hogenboom, recently decided to test the theory of mindfulness and its power to physically alter the brain – book ending the experiment with MRI scans.

At the end of six weeks, she had the results of her effort to rewire her brain. 

Illustration of astrocyte cells. Astrocytes are a type of glial cell in the central nervous system that play a variety of important functions. They are involved in regulating the concentration of neurotransmitters in the synaptic cleft, maintaining the blood-brain barrier, providing metabolic support to neurons, and modulating synaptic plasticity. Additionally, astrocytes have been implicated in a range of neurological disorders, including Alzheimer's disease, epilepsy, and multiple sclerosis. (Photo by THOM LEACH / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRA / TLE / Science Photo Library via AFP)


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