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On this day of resolutions and new starts, a reminder of your brain's ability to change

Posted Jan 01 2011 12:00am

20111
Our brains are changing all the time. We can either let life change our brains haphazardly, unintentionally and unknowingly, or we can take control of the changes in our brains. Neuroplasticity, the brain's ability to change, is a very effective tool for making new habits and breaking old ones, achieving goals, and learning new skills.

An excellent op-ed by neuroscientist Oliver Sacks appeared in yesterday's New York Times. Read " This Year, Change Your Mind " for some memorable examples of the changes brains can make. Excerpt:

That the brain is capable of such radical adaptation raises deep questions. To what extent are we shaped by, and to what degree do we shape, our own brains? And can the brain’s ability to change be harnessed to give us greater cognitive powers? The experiences of many people suggest that it can.

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Neuroplasticity — the brain’s capacity to create new pathways — is a crucial part of recovery for anyone who loses a sense or a cognitive or motor ability. But it can also be part of everyday life for all of us. While it is often true that learning is easier in childhood, neuroscientists now know that the brain

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