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The 1990's was the decade of the brain. Before that, we had little understanding of how the brain functioned, how it grew and developed, how it declined and dysfunctioned. Today, we don't have all of those questions answered, but many of the "truths" that dominated scientific thinking then have been proven to be myths.
One such myth is that the brain cannot be changed. It was once thought that the brain was immutable. Once it was "set" it could not be "reset." Today's science tells us that nothing could be further from the truth. The brain can be wired and rewired, connected and reconnected in miraculous ways. It can even be taught how to work more efficiently. As it turns out, one CAN teach an old dog new tricks!
"Plasticity" is the term that describes the brain's ability to grow, change, and work more efficiently. Eveyone's brain is plastic. And the degree of plasticity is largely determined by the quality of the environment which the brain experiences. A brain that experiences an enriched, pure, and sufficiently stimulating environment has a higher probablility of creating healthy, efficient, sustained connections. The field of epigenetics studies the role of environmental factors on the genetic expression of plasticity in the central nervous system.
Epigenetics teaches us that there are two primary factors that create an ideal environment for plasticity to work most efficiently: fuel and activation. Fuel refers to the vitamins, minerals and proteins that are required by the cell to physically change its size, shape and connectivity. Oxygen, B-vitamins, amino acids, and enzymes are essential aspects of making sure the neuron has what it needs to grow. We address the "fuel" of plasticity in our customized nutrition program. Activation refers to the quality of the brain to "strain it and gain it." Just like you have to use a muscle in your body to make it stronger, you have to activate a group of neurons consistently to make them work with more ability and more endurance. Challenging your memory will give you a better memory; practicing a sport will make you better at that activity; repeating your times tables will improve your math skills.
When you visit our office, you'll see that we utilize physical, sensory-integration and cognitive activities to create plasticity. What makes our approach different is the way in which these activities are applied, uniquely for each individual, and with the specific goal of generating plasticity in under-functioning parts of the brain.
Our non-invasive, thorough evaluation of the nervous system gives a functional window into which parts of the brain might be under-performing. This evaluation becomes a blueprint for which activities will be chosen and how each activity will be applied for each individual. In other words, if a child with AD/HD is found to have an under-functioning right frontal lobe, then therapies that are known to target that area will be chosen. If a child with the same diagnosis has an under-functioning left cerebellum, then activities that are known to target that area will be utilized.
Regardless of which activity is chosen, there are several principles of neurological rehabilitation that we employ to create an environment that has the highest probability of creating plasticity in the weakest areas of the brain. In fact, this is the core of our program. Our evaluation leads us to an under-functioning anatomical part of the brain; activities that target that anatomical part are utilized; the activities are applied in a specific way that maximizes the potential that plasticity will be created in the under-performing part.
Trailer: "Hope Restored: Functional Neurology Serves Humanity"
"Hope Restored" is a short subject documentary that tells the story of how Functional Neurology, a relatively new form of modern medical practice, is changing the way we view neurological disorders. Enjoy the trailer and click on http://www.myhoperestored.com/ to learn more about the film.