Almost Unlimited Potentials of a Limited Neural Plasticity

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Abstract:

Neuroplasticity is a core feature of the brain throughout the entire life of the individual. And when injury to the adult brain destroys part of the circuitry mediating behaviour and/or conscious experience, neuroplasticity is required to bring about the highest possible degree of post-traumatic functional recovery. But is the brain able to recreate the lost circuitry? Scrutiny of the impressive plasticity seen during development and in the adult brain reveals many similarities -- but also some crucial differences. And studies of the mechanisms of functional recovery demonstrate that even an apparently 'full recovery' of the surface phenomena of behaviour and/or conscious representations is accomplished without a recreation of the lost circuitry. Instead, the post-traumatic process utilizes mechanisms, which have evolved to mediate problem solving in the intact brain. The newly developed REF (Reorganization of Elementary Functions) model suggests how such dynamic reorganizations occur in the intact and injured brain.

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Unit for Cognitive Neuroscience, Department of Psychology, University of Copenhagen, Oester Farimagsgade 2A, DK-1353 Copenhagen K, Denmark, Email: jesper.mogensen@psy.ku.dk

Publication date: January 1, 2011

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