Neuroplasticity really comes down to synapses and how they are modified in response to our behaviour (like skateboarding or playing the cello). Neurons that regularly provide information to other neurons will have those synapses strengthened. Those connections that are not active will gradually have their influence weakened. (Does this sound like ‘use it or lose it’ to you?). This ability is already mapped out in our DNA and the neuron cell body has the machinery to make it happen. Neurons can change the strength of synapses, they can add or delete synapses and they can also use synapses that have been temporarily silent or dormant. When there are stronger synapses and growth of new synapses in a neuron network, there is growth of new tiny blood vessels to support them. It is thought that special proteins in the supporting cells around the neuron are responsible for promoting growth of synapses and dendrites. These proteins called “neurotrophins” act like brain fertilizers….

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