The Good – The first 3 to 4 years are a period of active neuroplasticity in humans. Brain growth is explosive and there are many available neural networks. One of the best examples of early neuroplasticity is the exposure to language. If a child is raised hearing 2 or more languages, they are able to learn them all. In certain areas of Switzerland it is commonplace for children to be fluent [...]
It has been well documented that babies with a brachial plexus injury at birth (BPI) do not recover function as well as adults with a similar peripheral nerve injury. Yet the babies, when tested later in life, are often found to have more than adequate regenerated nerve to have normal function. The question is why don’t they use the available nerve? The answer lies in the “Use It or Lose It” law that controls both brain and body growth.
It is time for a new way of thinking about recovery in early brain or nerve damage. Our current practices are out of date, based on the incorrect paradigm that human brain injury is permanent and irreversible. Under this paradigm, doctors and therapists were trained to focus on functional independence, not normal function. Parents who wanted more were actively discouraged, even told that they were in denial of reality. These defenders of the past need a wake up call.
The abnormal gait of a child with cerebral palsy is the gait that has been hard wired into the child’s brain by use. In Psych 101 at McGill University, D.O. Hebb taught me that “Neurons that fire together, wire together”. The child’s gait may look abnormal to us, but it feels normal to the child. It has become the child’s [...]
I majored in Psychology at McGill University in the late 1960’s when Professor D.O. Hebb led the department. Hebb is widely considered the father of neuropsychology and neural networks. Hebb’s Law, “Neurons that fire together wire together”, is a foundational concept in modern neurophysiology and neuroscience as well as neuropsychology. Psych 101 was a required course for all first-year students [...]