Sharon Begley: Blogging the IL Conference

Sitting here listening to Sharon’s KU Online Conference Presentation on Neuroplasticity.  

Asking the question: can the brain change significantly?

Old paradigm is mechanistic.

New paradigm is organic. (my word)

External, sensory stimuli

  • 1980 – Research on stroke patients.  Regaining movement after the normal accepted recovering
  • Gray matter increased on brain scans – new brain cells created.
  • Violin Players,  More practice increased motor “cortex”
  • Visual Cortex takes up 1/3 of brain.  For blind people, that part of the brain “finds something else to do.”
  • Dyslexia: first thought of as visual.  But it was thought that it may be “hearing” issue.  “Unable to hear explosive sounds.”  How to overcome.  Solution: keep training, over and over.  Draw out sounds.  Redrew the audio cortex.  “Doesn’t work for every dyslexic b/c of different root problems.”
Internal, mental stimuli
  • Similar to buddhism.
  • “A constantly evolving stream”
  • “As we act, so shall we become.”
  • Can thoughts “act back” on the physical?  Dali Lama’s question.
  • “The mind can change the brain.” -SB
  • Piano Experiement: 1) Real and 2) practiced mentally; magined playing.  Both increased motor cortex.
  • Visualization.  “There is something to that.”
  • “Mindfulness” Observe yourself. Step outside yourself.  (OCD Patients and “mindfulness” experiment.  “It’s not me, it’s my brain.”  Brain imaging showed decreased activity in the “overstimulated” areas of the brain.
  • Works in depression
  • Works with ADHD
  • Also works in non-pathological contexts.
GREAT QUESTIONS at the end of the session!
This is definitely a session to watch if you weren’t there.  Will upload link when it is released.
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