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The Intricacies Of The Human Brain And How It Governs Our Behaviour, Thoughts, And Emotions

Written by: Ella McCrystal, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.

 
Executive Contributor Ella McCrystal

As a brain-based psychotherapist with a transformative approach, I've always been professionally fascinated by the world of Neuroscience.

close up shot of a brain concept made of plastic

Neuroscience is the study of the brain at a cellular and molecular levelto better understand how it functions and how it can be manipulated. I’d like to give you a rundown of some interesting facts about your brain. One of the most fascinating aspects of the brain is its ability to change and adapt throughout our lives. This process, known as neuroplasticity, allows the brain to reorganise itself in response to new experiences, learnings, and environmental factors. In this articleI’d like to look at the shaping of the brain…Let’s dive in!


1. Structural neuroplasticity

Structural neuroplasticity refers to changes in the physical structure of the brain, including the growth and pruning of neurons and the formation of new synaptic connections. This type of neuroplasticity is particularly active during early development, but it continues throughout our lives in response to new experiences and learning. Research has shown that structural neuroplasticity can be influenced by a variety of factors, including stress, physical exercise, and environmental enrichment. For example, studies have shown that individuals who engage in regular aerobic exercise have greater gray matter volume in areas of the brain associated with memory and cognitive function.


2. Functional neuroplasticity

Functional neuroplasticity refers to changes in the function of existing neurons and neural networks. This type of neuroplasticity is particularly important for learning and memory, as it allows the brain to strengthen existing neural pathways and form new connections between them. Functional neuroplasticity can be influenced by a variety of factors, including learning, exposure to new stimuli, and cognitive training. For example, studies have shown that individuals who learn a new language or musical instrument have increased grey matter volume in areas of the brain associated with language and music processing.


3. Synaptic neuroplasticity


Synaptic neuroplasticity refers to changes in the strength and number of synaptic connections between neurons. This type of neuroplasticity is particularly important for the brain's ability to adapt to changing environmental demands, as it allows neurons to communicate more effectively and efficiently.


Synaptic neuroplasticity can be influenced by a variety of factors, including learning, exposure to new stimuli, and pharmacological interventions. For example, studies have shown that drugs that target specific neurotransmitter systems, such as dopamine or glutamate, can modulate synaptic plasticity and improve cognitive function.


4. Developmental neuroplasticity


Developmental neuroplasticity refers to changes in the brain that occur during critical periods of development, such as infancy and early childhood. These changes are particularly important for the formation of neural circuits and the establishment of functional connectivity between different brain regions.


Developmental neuroplasticity can be influenced by a variety of factors, including nutrition, social interaction, and exposure to enriched environments. For example, studies have shown that children who receive early intervention for developmental disorders, such as autism or ADHD, have improved outcomes and greater neural plasticity compared to children who do not receive early intervention.


In conclusion, neuroplasticity is a fundamental aspect of the brain's ability to adapt and learn throughout our lives. Structural, functional, synaptic, and developmental neuroplasticity all play important roles in shaping the brain and behaviour, and they can be influenced by a variety of factors, including learning, exposure to new stimuli, and environmental enrichment. As neuroscientists and enthusiasts, we continue to study the intricacies of neuroplasticity to better understand how we can harness its power to promote healthy brain function and improve our lives.


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Ella McCrystal Brainz Magazine
 

Ella McCrystal, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Ella McCrystal is a survivor of intra-familial childhood sexual abuse. She’s is also a Psychotherapist, Clinical Hypnotherapist, EMDR practitioner, Meditation Teacher, and Mindset Coach of 15 years, working with a broad range of individuals and groups. Ella also coaches leaders in the world of business, sport, and the arts to find and reach their full potential. In addition, Ella is an Author, online course creator, TEDX speaker…and she is the Owner/Director of The Northampton Clinic. The clinic (the oldest of its kind in the Country — 93 years old) is an Osteopathic and Multi Disciplinary health clinic.

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