Friday 24 October, 2014

Adults ”can boost their brains by learning like a baby”

Published On: Thu, Apr 7th, 2011 | Mental Health | By BioNews

A new study has found that adults can significantly bulk up their brains in just a couple of hours by carrying out simple learning tasks that are on the same intelligence level as a baby.

Scientists had previously believed that the human brain was incapable of adding grey matter over short periods of time.

But adults quickly boosted their grey matter when they were given simple learning tasks that could be completed by a baby, according to the latest study.

The ground-breaking discovery could pave the way for a range of new treatments for brain disorders that doctors had previously thought were beyond help.

“Our finding suggests that the adult human brain is far more plastic than previously believed,” the Daily Mail quoted researcher Li-Hai Tan, a cognitive neuroscientist at the University of Hong Kong, as telling LiveScience.

As part of the study, adults were given four different coloured cards and asked to associate nonsensical words with them.

The tasks were the same processes that babies go through when learning how to associate language with objects.

The participants were then asked to accept the new words as actual descriptors for the new colours.

They had to memorise them so that they could reply with the correct colour name at a later date and to match them with the descriptions when asked.

The tasks were carried out in five sessions that were spread over three days but the total amount of time spent on learning only came to one hour and 48 minutes.

Researchers then performed MRI scans on the adults and it was revealed that new grey matter had formed in the left hemisphere of their brains.

It is not yet clear if the new matter was comprised of new neuron formation or if they were simply dendrites (branches).

The findings have been published in the journal Proceedings of National Academy of Sciences.

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