It's all in the mind, or so the saying goes. Well, scientists find that the brain can indeed be trained to think what one wants it to think. What's more amazing is that it can be accomplished in less than an hour.
Researchers from the D'Or Institute for Research and Education develop a brain training technique that can help boost the communication of the different parts of the brain with each other. This study may lead to the improvement and rise of therapeutic interventions against neurological conditions, such as stroke and Parkinson's disease.
Theo Marins, study author and biomedical scientist at IDOR says it is known that the brain can do a good job in terms of adapting itself, but the team did not expect to yield observational changes so rapidly.
Making The Brain Follow
Recent discoveries challenge what existing understandings say, in regard to how fast the human brain alter its structural and functional connections in response to training.
Neurofeedback is an excellent way to better study the deeper processes of brain adaptability. This technique allows one to have access to their self-induced brain plasticity by regulating brain activity in real time, and thus quickly gaining control over it. Such ability makes it a good strategy to manage impaired areas of the brain related to conditions such as depression and long-term pain.
Study Methods And Results
The goal of the study is to amp up the activity of the brain area involved in hand movements. The research team gathered 36 healthy participants, who were asked to imagine the movement, instead of actually moving their hand.
The authors implemented the real training to 19 subjects, and placebo neurofeedback to 17, for comparison. They scanned the brain networks of the participants before and immediately after the training, which lasted for about 30 minutes. The imaging was performed to investigate the effects of the neurofeedback or placebo on brain networks and communication.
Findings show that the part of the brain that connects the left and right hemispheres demonstrated increased stability, and the networks modulating bodily movements exhibited strength. All in all, the system became more potent. The brain training technique also had a positive effect on the brain network that malfunctions after stroke, depression, and Parkinson's disease. The control group did not exhibit such changes.
Brain Training Sparks Hope For Neurological Disorders
"We showed that the neurofeedback can be considered a powerful tool to induce brain changes at record speed," says Fernanda Tovar Moll, study lead author and president of IDOR.
Now, the objective is to come up with new research to examine whether patients with impaired neurological health may also benefit from the training technique.
The study was published in the journal NeuroImage.