What are the effects of neuroplasticity


Synonym: neural plasticity
English: neuroplasticity, brain plasticity

1 definition

Under the Neuroplasticity One subsumes functional and structural, adaptive changes in the area of ​​the central nervous system, which result from changed physiological requirements or damage to the CNS with a limitation of the function of certain brain areas. Neuroplasticity enables learning.

2 inductors

Neuroplasticity can be induced. Possible inducers are, for example, motor training, repetitive stimulation of certain areas of the brain or damage to the CNS that restricts the function of certain areas.

3 Functional and structural changes

Neuroplasticity manifests itself through various phenomena.

3.1 Synaptic plasticity

In the context of neuroplasticity, there is an improved signal transmission at synapses, which is also referred to as synaptic plasticity.

3.2 Vicariation

If a brain area is disturbed in its function, neighboring areas try to take over the function of the damaged brain area.

3.3 Sprouting of nerve endings

After the interruption of the continuity of a nerve, a sprouting of nerve endings can be observed, especially in the peripheral nervous system. Sprouting is possible in the CNS, but it takes place under difficult conditions because, on the one hand, there is a scar barrier from astrocytes and glial cells and, on the other hand, there are no Schwann cells in the CNS that could serve as a guide rail.

3.4 Plasticity of brain areas

Sensitive stimulation, motor training and exercises lead to morphological changes in the brain areas involved.

3.5 Collateral axon sprouting

Axons can sprout from neighboring areas and also contribute to neuroplasticity.

4 evidence

It is possible to demonstrate neuroplasticity through imaging tests. Positron emission tomography and functional magnetic resonance tomography can be used to demonstrate neuroplasticity.

5 application

Learning processes are possible through neuroplasticity. New training methods have been developed based on knowledge of neuroplasticity, especially for stroke patients. One of these methods is forced-use therapy, which is used in patients with hemiparesis. Immobilization of the healthy limb forces the patient to attempt to harness the hemiplegic limb and induce neuroplasticity.

6 negative consequences

Excessive neuroplasticity can also have negative consequences and lead, for example, to action-induced dystonia. In the case of a piano player, pronounced piano playing can lead to a spreading and overlapping of the individual brain areas involved, so that the activation of one finger leads to the simultaneous activation of other fingers and playing the piano is no longer possible.