American scientists have for the first time used a new combination of neural imaging methods to discover exactly how the human brain adapts to injury.
The research, carried out at Carnegie Mellon University’s Center for Cognitive Brain Imaging, shows that when injury causes one area of the brain to lose function, secondary brain areas activate to fill in the gap.
“The human brain has a remarkable ability to adapt to many types of trauma, such as traumatic brain injury, making it possible for people to continue functioning after key brain areas have been damaged,” said Marcel Just, D O Hebb professor of psychology at CMU.
“It is clear how the brain can naturally rebound from injuries and gives us indications of how individuals can train their brains to be prepared for easier recovery. The secret is to develop alternative thinking styles, the way a switch-hitter develops alternative batting styles.”