As neurosurgeon Dr. Jocelyne Bloch explains in the below presentation, neuroscience is on the verge of discovering how to help the brain repair itself!
One of the central myths that people commonly assume about their brains is that once they mature, their brain stops growing. Another similar myth is that once the brain has been damaged, it cannot repair itself.
As further research comes to light in the field of neuroscience, we are beginning to understand that the opposite is true.
The adult brain has already been shown to produce hundreds of new neurons on a daily basis, and now, neuroscience is on the exciting verge of uncovering mechanisms that appear to allow the brain’s cortical regions to repair itself.
Neuroplasticity occurs when we learn new information or experience something new that shifts our perception, shaping our wiring differently to make way for the change. It also happens in response to a brain injury.
It is not the same as growing new neurons (neurogenesis) but tends to work hand-in-hand with neuronal growth.
Neuroscientists have been trying to discover the mechanisms behind how neuroplasticity works to see if they can help speed the progression of recovery in those with severe brain injuries.
In the future, it is very likely that stroke victims and those with head trauma wounds will be able to fully recover once we understand the full extent of neuroplasticity.
As children, Double Cortin-Positive Cells appear throughout the brain to help it grow folds, allowing the brain to accommodate for the billions of neurons it is forming. For years, neurology understood that these cells comprise 4% of our brain mass, but until recently, it was not understood why they were needed in the adult brain.
What they discovered was that these cells, when placed in the right kind of environment, can be cultured into stem cells. The stem cells then act to repair brain lesions.
In a healthy functioning brain, these cells do not need to develop into stem cells and do not act to repair the brain. When observing a patient or a monkey with a brain lesion, it appears that these cells gather in large quantities around the damaged area.
This appears to be part of the reason behind how neuroplasticity works, particularly in those who have a stroke who mysteriously recover most of their capacity after the event.
Although limited to merely the Cortical regions of the brain (not the brain stem), this discovery has the potential to change the way in which neurosurgeons operate!
Neuroscience will likely take this road in the next couple of years, shaping the course of medicine forever. However, it is not an excuse for one to be careless and indulge in the things that would give you a stroke!
The best understanding that can be taken away from this discovery is that the body holds all the keys it needs to heal itself.
If we keep our brain in it’s optimal environment for double cortin-positive cells to grow into stem cell cultures inside the brain, then there is a good chance that we can auto-repair the majority of any damage we may incur.
The mitochondria produce energy, help to detox the brain, as well as protect it from free radical damage (oxidation). Specific environmental factors tend to clog up the mitochondria, resulting in a malfunction along with cognitive decline.
Detoxing the mitochondria can be achieved through eating a balanced diet. The primary focus should be on eating the right fats as well as getting in enough nutrients from both plant, sea and grass-fed animal sources.
If you lack time, this green superfood powder below is a great way to quickly start implementing high quantities of the right kind of nutrition in your diet.
Otherwise a great diet for enhancing neuroplasticity is discussed in our article on boosting neurogenesis.
This array of compounds tackles mitochondrial dysfunction directly by activating the NRF2 pathways in your genes.
It contains Trans-Resveratrol, Curcumin, Quercetin, and Sulforaphane (potent antioxidants).
This encourages mitochondrial DNA to start producing protective substances that protect the mitochondria from deterioration.
Epigallocatechin-3-gallate is one of these antioxidants in particular that also activates the NRF2 pathways, much like the supplement above.
Improve your overall brain capacity and cognition by drinking this ancient oriental beverage!
Acetylcholine is a neurotransmitter which is involved in neurogenesis, neuroplasticity, memory, cognition, mood, sleep and muscle control.
Ingesting acetylcholine alone will not be as effective as supplementing on a good acetylcholine precursor, which encourages the body to make its own supply of acetylcholine.
GPC (aka alpha-glycerylphosphorylcholine) is a fantastic precursor to acetylcholine, and it is usually found naturally in the brain. In those with cognitive decline or impaired neuroplasticity, it was noted that they were deficient in this substance.
In other words, GPC ensures smooth signaling as well as helps to build an essential neurotransmitter for optimal neuroplasticity.
It has also been shown to reverse the structural changes that take place in the aging brain!
Without Phosphatidylserine, the cell membranes in the brain would not be fluid, which would impair neuroplasticity and cellular communication.
Science has known for a while that aerobic exercise helps to restore optimal neuroplasticity in aging adults, as well as those with Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s DiseaseExercise-enhanced neuroplasticity targeting motor and cognitive circuitry in Parkinson’s disease.
The enhanced blood flow allows for the right environment to be produced in the brain for the cells to thrive. The optimal environment is one that is rich with oxygen carried by your blood, which supports the mitochondria in the entire brain and body.
Yoga and Pilates are a great form of exercise that can reverse oxidative stress and kick-start the mitochondria, allowing for increased neuroplasticity.
This ultimately leads to neuronal damage and further down the line, complete chronic depression.
This is where meditation proves to be highly useful, not only calming our nerves, but also by stimulating neuronal connections!
It was shown that many types of meditation begin to train the mind, which starts to promote enhanced neuroplasticity in a very similar way to exerciseBuddha’s Brain: Neuroplasticity and Meditation [In the Spotlight]. Unlike exercise, however, meditation uses different regions of the brain to achieve this effect.
Learn how to cultivate superior focus, release stress and strengthen your brain’s ability to adapt through the art of mindfulness meditation!
This may come as a surprise to you, but not only women have Estrogen in their bodies. Estrogen is required for your heart to function, your bones to grow and for cognitive functions like learning, memory, anxiety and moodEstrogen in the Limbic System.
Women have additional receptors for estrogen than men, which allow for their reproductive cycle to be controlled. The inverse is true of Testosterone in men, but both men and women have this hormone too.
While natural estrogens improve neuroplasticity, xeno-estrogens (fake artificial estrogens), block our estrogen receptors and prevent natural estrogen from functioning.
We need to detox from xeno-estrogens which can be found inside plastic objects in our environment. Plastic containers and bottles leach these compounds into our food or drinks when mildly heated, for example in a hot car.
When our estrogen receptors are blocked, our body stops producing its own natural source of estrogens.
After a while of being estrogen deficient, the body starts to make excessive estrogen, which is equally problematic regarding neuroplasticity. It also comes with nasty side effects, such as giving men actual breasts or mood swings.
Avoid soy products and beer which are both also high in estrogens. These products can cause a hormonal imbalance as well as impaired neuroplasticity.