What is the saying answer Hijklmno brain

And Hans is learning!

Most of you here are probably familiar with the old adage: What Hans never learns, Hans never learns. Nowadays many people explain the saying that the brain is “fully grown” and therefore more difficult to get used to new things - all connections are made, no new cells are formed, so many assume that the brain is “too rigid ”Is for new. But is that also true? In recent years, science has learned that the adult brain may very well change, sometimes extremely quickly. Hans is learning!

One of the first studies to look at neural reorganization dates back to 2007: Human Adult Cortical Reorganization and Consequent Visual Distortion. In this study, Daniel Dilks et al. the brain of stroke patient B.L. considered. A stroke in December 2001 damaged several connections in his brain, mostly between his primary visual cortex and the lateral hump of the knee, both centers in the brain responsible for relaying information from the optical system.

This led to the B.L. Wasn't blind, but noticed some distortions - especially in the upper left field of his perception. B. L. developed a blind spot there, but now it's getting interesting: Apparently, his brain changed its structure to make up for the lost signal path. This was expressed in the fact that some shapes “overflowed” vertically into the blind spot, so his brain tried to fill the blind spot with the help of information from the environment.

To prove that the structure of the brain is also changing, the researchers used magnetic resonance imaging to view the activated areas of the brain. The structurally undamaged areas, which are responsible for the lower left field of vision, took over the work of the “cut off” areas, responsible for the upper left field of vision!

Another case in which something broken is bypassed by the brain is found in macular degeneration. Macular degeneration is a continuous loss of function of the tissue at the yellow spot, the sharpest point. Affected people experience a growing gray or black spot in their field of vision. It has long been known that the brain partially pays for this loss of function. Up until 2009, it was believed that after the yellow spot was lost, the brain used the place that humans most frequently used to focus as the new sharpest point and that the brain “switched” the affected regions.

However, in the publication Reorganization of Visual Processing in Macular Degeneration Is Not Specific to the 'Preferred Retinal Locus', again using magnetic resonance imaging, it was shown that this is not the case - the brain regions that were previously responsible for the yellow spot react to Suggestions from the entire surrounding field of vision. So it turns out that the brain switches its wiring here too.

So we see that in extreme cases the adult brain can cope with “rewiring”. But what about learning?

The first proof of the change in white matter in learning came in 2009 in Training induces changes in white matter architecture. In this publication, participants had to learn to juggle over the course of 6 weeks. Using two imaging techniques, the scientists looked at the brains before exercise and after exercise, and amazingly, the brains whose “owners” were practicing juggling had structural differences in gray and white matter. Apparently something had changed structurally as a result of learning.

None of the above publications consider the changes on a genetic basis, all use the (sometimes controversial) magnetic resonance imaging. Are the structural changes “just” new blood vessels, or are new neurons growing? A publication possibly showing the genetic basis for learning in adult brains appeared in Nature Neuroscience at the end of August this year: Neuronal activity modifies the DNA methylation landscape in the adult brain

The brains of test mice were lightly energized to force neuronal activity. In addition, genomic DNA was extracted from the brains at the beginning, after 4 hours and after 24 hours. It was shown here that in a comparison between untreated mice and mice treated with electricity, up to 1.4% of all cytosines in the neurons of the treated mice were either de-mythelated or methylated. Methylation is a relatively newly discovered form of gene regulation, with the help of which genes can be “switched on” or “switched off” by adding or removing a methyl group.

This shows that neuronal activity is answered by the brain with different genetic activity - we may have the genetic basis for the structural changes described above. In response to the current, the brain changed the activities of its cells. What exactly this means for the learning process is still unclear and will become apparent over the next few months.

There is even more modern research that shows how much the human adult brain is always changing - so the next time someone arrives with the above saying because he or she is too lazy to study: please a) kick your butt and b ) give this article. As a civilian, I've heard enough of that from older patients, I don't want to hear it anymore!

Dilks, D., Serences, J., Rosenau, B., Yantis, S., & McCloskey, M. (2007). Human Adult Cortical Reorganization and Consequent Visual Distortion Journal of Neuroscience, 27 (36), 9585-9594 DOI: 10.1523 / JNEUROSCI.2650-07.2007
Dilks DD, Baker CI, Peli E, & Kanwisher N (2009). Reorganization of visual processing in macular degeneration is not specific to the “preferred retinal locus”. The Journal of neuroscience: the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience, 29 (9), 2768-73 PMID: 19261872
Scholz, J., Klein, M., Behrens, T., & Johansen-Berg, H. (2009). Training induces changes in white-matter architecture Nature Neuroscience, 12 (11), 1370-1371 DOI: 10.1038 / nn.2412
Guo JU, Ma DK, Mo H, Ball MP, Jang MH, Bonaguidi MA, Balazer JA, Eaves HL, Xie B, Ford E, Zhang K, Ming GL, Gao Y, & Song H (2011). Neuronal activity modifies the DNA methylation landscape in the adult brain. Nature neuroscience, 14 (10), 1345-51 PMID: 21874013

Philipp has a bachelor's degree in biology, a graduate certificate in IT and is currently studying for his master's degree in IT in an exaggeratedly large country full of spiders and sheep. For beerology, he mostly writes about biology, evolution and everything else that washes up on the edges of the areas.