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Vsevolod Hunchback
Vsevolod Hunchback

The Mind And The Brain: Neuroplasticity And The...

Well, all that's beginning to change. In the last few decades, scientists have shown that you actually can re-grow brain cells and you can change the structure and function of your brain by the way you think. This new science is called neuroplasticity, and it caught the attention of the Dalai Lama. Using your mind to change your brain it turns out fits in perfectly with the teachings of Buddhism, and a few years ago the Dalai Lama called some of the world's top neuroscientists to come and give him a sort of private schooling on the brain. And that meeting was captured in writing by my next guest, as she joins us now to talk about. Sharon Begley is science columnist for The Wall Street Journal. She's also the author of this new book "Train Your Mind, Change Your Brain: How a New Science Reveals Our Extraordinary Potential to Transform Ourselves," and she joins us here in our New York Bureau. Welcome back. Good to see you.

The Mind and the Brain: Neuroplasticity and the...

Citation: Pan X and Li X (2022) Book review of the adaptable mind: What neuroplasticity and neural reuse tells us about language and cognition. Front. Neurosci. 16:978196. doi: 10.3389/fnins.2022.978196

Retraining your mind is also vital in recovering from traumatic brain injuries and brain-related illnesses such as fibro and long-term depression. Successful brain retraining is accomplished through the practice of neuroplasticity retraining exercises.

Travel gives you a new perspective about things at home and in your own life. If traveling far is not possible at the moment, taking long walks in your neighborhood may help. Seeing new cultures, norms, sites, and more can help inspire you in new ways allowing for neuroplasticity to occur. New places can create experiences that broaden the mind and create new neural pathways in the brain.

Jeffrey M. Schwartz, M.D. is Research Psychiatrist at UCLA School of Medicine and a seminal thinker and researcher in the field of self-directed neuroplasticity. He is the author of over 100 scientific publications in the fields of neuroscience and psychiatry, and several popular books with HarperCollins, including The Mind and the Brain: Neuroplasticity and the Power of Mental Force (2002), and Brain Lock: Free Yourself from Obsessive-Compulsive Behavior (1997). His primary research interest over the past two decades has been brain imaging/functional neuroanatomy and cognitive-behavioral therapy, with a focus on the pathological mechanisms and psychological treatment of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). Dr. Schwartz's most recent academic writing has been in the field of philosophy of mind, specifically on the role of volition in human neurobiology.

Mind Brain Education (MBE) or The Science of Learning is the intersection of neuroscience, psychology, and education to identify research-informed practices that can be used to promote student achievement. FCPS is the only public school system in the state of Maryland to explicitly include MBE in all levels of curriculum, all levels of induction programming, and throughout MSDE coursework. From the primary grades through adult professional learning opportunities, learners are exposed to the concept of learning mindsets (growth mindset, mindset of belonging, mindset of purpose and relevance) and the neuroplasticity of the brain. All educators are brain changers and all educators need to know how the brain best learns, works, grows, and thrives.

Researchers have identified the following three habits as facilitating neuroplasticity as we age: physical exercise (which increases blood flow to the brain, delivering much-needed oxygen), paying attention, and learning new things. Once I learned about the impact of physical movement on neuroplasticity, I increased my exercise to daily from twice a week. And I see the difference in both body and mind! While an aerobic workout is great, even walking briskly for half an hour will increase blood flow and feed oxygen to hungry neurons.

The second factor that increases neuroplasticity, paying attention, is the opposite of acting on automatic pilot. Most of the time we do function on automatic, which is easier and less tiring than thinking through and being aware of our every move. This automaticity can be to our advantage, as we easily ride our bike or whip up our favorite recipe. But living on automatic can mean that we miss precious moments, forget to smell the roses, or take for granted a majestic mountain vista. Waking up to our experience allows us to be present. It also allows the brain to be more active and flexible. One of the best ways to pay attention is to engage in mindfulness practices, whether through a formal practice of meditation or in more informal ways. 041b061a72


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