The term “neuroplasticity” or “brain plasticity” refers to the ability of your brain to reorganize itself, both physically and functionally, throughout your life, due to your environment. One of the biggest shifts in our understanding of brain plasticity is that it is a lifelong phenomenon.
Our latest understanding of brain plasticity has had a profound impact on recovery from stroke or brain injury.
We used to previously think that the brain is plastic only during childhood and once you reach adulthood, the brain is hardwired, and no new changes can be made to it. However, we now know that even the adult brain can be modified and reorganized depending on what new information it is learning.
This understanding has a profound impact on recovery from brain injury because it means that with repeated training/instruction, even the damaged brain is plastic and can recover.
Brain plasticity is particularly important after a brain injury, as the neurons in the brain are damaged after a brain injury, and depending on the type of brain injury, plasticity may either include repair of damaged brain regions or reorganization/rewiring of different parts of the brain.
The future for people recovering from strokes and brain injuries is more optimistic than it has ever been for three important reasons.
- There is tremendous amount of research showing that the brain is plastic throughout life, and this plasticity can be harnessed after brain injury also.
- Recent advances in technology allow patients to receive therapy at their homes at their convenience, empowering them to take control of their therapy instead of being passive consumers.
- The data that is collected from individuals who continuously receive therapy provides a rich trove of information about how patients can improve after rehabilitation, what works and what does not work.
Request a copy of the above Guide to Neuroplasticity to understand how your brain can recover from injury.