This is an amazing article about how brain can regenerate and change according to our thoughts. Unlike before neurologists used to look at the brain as just a dumb machine, but it's not, since being of the organic nature, it can produce new neurons to connect to new patterns, even enable functions that were dead before. This is exactly what Yoga has been talking which is now a recognized fact by modern science. Read on...
Source - Reader's Digest May 2009You Can Retrain Your Brain
BY SARAH SCOTT
On a fine day in September 1995, Howard Rocket, a hard-working 48-year-old entrepreneur, leaped for a pass in a friendly football game in Toronto, Canada. He slipped and fell, hitting the back of his head, and a minute later came to with an awful, ever worsening headache. Then, dark spots floated into his field of vision. He ignored these things until three weeks later, when he was home alone and suddenly lost control of his arms and legs. A sharp, deep pain pierced his head and darkness closed in. He groped his way to the phone, slowly tapped the emergency number, then collapsed.
University of Wisconsin neuroscientist Richard Davidson demonstrated this very theory with his experiment on meditation—a prime example of "mental sit-ups." He measured the brain activity of novices/and highly practised Buddhist monks, and found that, unlike the novices, when the monks meditated on "unconditional loving-kindness and compassion," they generated powerful gamma waves— the type involved in higher brain processes like perception and consciousness. Thus, the repeated mental activity of meditation altered brain functioning
Kolb's work underlines just how important rehabilitation is for the injured brain. Now scientists are investigating whether the stimulation that rehab provides might increase the production of new brain cells and speed up recovery.
One of the brain's "neuron nurseries" is in the hippocampus, which plays a key part in memory function. In one study, scientists at the University of Toronto used chemical "tags" to trace naturally occurring newborn brain cells in healthy mice, then taught the animals to swim to a platform. After plenty of practice, the mice "remembered" where the platform was. When the scientists later examined the animals' brains, they found that the new brain cells had been recruited for the memory task—that is, the chemically tagged newborn cells were concentrated in the hippocampus "nurseries."
And they found that newborn brain cells started boosting memory after only one month. According to Paul Frankland, the Toronto neuroscientist who led this research, studies show that the environment affects how many new brain cells arise. Cocaine and stress, for instance, cut the rate of neuron creation; running and educational activities increase it.
What the scientific world calls "neuroplasticity," 21-year-old Ian Bradley calls "hope." When he was in the seventh standard, he couldn't yet read and his spelling was standard four level. "I thought I was a dummy," he says. His mother, Mary, pushed him through elementary school by spending four hours a night reading textbooks to him and writing down his answers to homework questions.
Then Bradley's father discovered Arrowsmith School. Its founder, Barbara Arrowsmith Young, was at one time a student with profound learning disabilities that made it hard for her to understand what she was reading or what people were saying. So she devised mental exercises to help retrain her brain—and overcame her disabilities. She then developed more of these exercises to help others with learning dysfunctions; the Arrowsmith program is now offered in schools across North America.