Five Incredible New Ways To Help The Brain Heal Itself
From light and sound to electricity and motion, these non-invasive techniques featured in The Brain’s Way of Healing, provide promising insight into our brain’s ability to rebound and heal from disease and injury.
What is it? John Pepper was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 1992. By 2003, Pepper had reversed his symptoms so that he was able to stop taking medication. How did he do it? Pepper started thinking consciously about every individual movement as he made it starting with walking. He now walks 75 minutes every other day at a brisk pace and without the classic Parkinson’s gait. He moved on to using the same method to improve his speech and fine motor skills.
Who does it work for? This method is primarily being used to treat Parkinsons Disease patients.
Why does it work? For most of us, walking is second nature as the brains basal ganglia works unconsciously to knit together complex movements. In Parkinsons Disease, this part of the brain loses function. But with conscious movement, undamaged parts of the frontal cortex can be taught to take over the same functions. Neuropathic growth is triggered, and over time, the brain circuits can heal.
Studies already show that physical activity can improve Parkinsons Disease and even reduce the risk of getting it.
Who does it work for? People who are suffering from traumatic brain injuries, strokes, cranial nerve damage and multiple sclerosis.
Who is it for?
Symptoms Of A Traumatic Brain Injury
Brain injuries are most commonly associated with physical issues, such as dizziness, fatigue, headaches, visual disturbances, trouble sleeping, sensitivity to light and sound, poor balance. But the impact goes much deeper. Research shows that brain injuries are a major cause of psychiatric symptoms, such as , panic disorders, , post-traumatic stress disorder , , drug and alcohol abuse, personality disorders, , and . Few people know this, however, because psychiatry remains the only medical field that almost never looks at the organ it treats.
Cognitive and psychosocial symptoms of brain injuries may include:
- Cognitive problems poor concentration, brain fog, learning issues, poor judgment and impulsivity, and difficulty putting thoughts into words.
- Psychosocial problems depression, anger outbursts, irritability, personality changes, and anxiety.
These symptoms can last for hours, days, weeks, months, years, or even decades. At Amen Clinics, 40% of all patients who undergo brain SPECT imaging have signs of underlying brain injury. And many of them either dont remember getting injured or think the incident was so mild that it didnt warrant attention. Theyre usually stunned to discover that a past head injury may be contributing to their mental health and cognitive issues.
Brain Regeneration And Synaptic Density
Synapses are junctions between neurons that allow communication. Synaptic plasticity is the change that happens at synapses and affects the quality of the communication between two neurons. Short-term synaptic plasticity is a rapid, sub-second change that reverts to normal quickly.
Long-term synaptic plasticity is a longer change that may last for minutes, hours, days, or years. Long-term synaptic plasticity is critical for our brains ability to store information and for our memory.
Research has shown that BDNF is critical for long-term enhancement of synaptic efficacy. It improves neural development and synaptic plasticity, hence it may lower the risk of neurodegenerative and psychiatric disorders, such as , Alzheimers disease, Huntington disease, and depression .
What Is Brain Regeneration
Your brain is one of your most important organs. It is the center of all of your bodys functions and systems. It serves as a command center for your nervous system that perceives stimuli, activates responses, and obtains and sends signals across your body to keep you safe and healthy. Your is also the place where your memory is stored and learning, cognition, and individual growth is happening.
Clearly, the health of your brain is critical and should be protected. You may think that it is normal for your brain to decline with age, however, that is not necessarily the case. Nutrition, lifestyle habits, and other factors all affect your brain health. More importantly, and contrary to old beliefs, your brain is able to generate new brain cells.
How Then Does The Brain Repair Itself
Learning about the limitations of neurons compared to skin cells, you may be disappointed that an organ as important as the brain seems to be unprepared for damaging events. The truth is, the central nervous system has an ingenious strategy to repair itself that is entirely different from the strategy used by other organs. The brain will never be the same as before the damage, but it will try to compensate for its losses. Neurons in the brain are able to change their connections with each other. This process is called , and it helps the brain to adapt to the loss of neurons. Forget for a moment about dying cells, the responsibility for plasticity lies entirely with the surviving cells. How does this work?
- Figure 3
- In response to an injury, a brain cell can adapt by growing new arms and also by increasing or decreasing the strength of existing connections .
Helping The Brain Recover From Addiction
Research on the brains recovery is limited and still relatively new. Less than a century ago, scientists thought the mature brain stopped developing new cells; we now know the brain continues to create new cells and neural pathways. However, addiction recovery takes time, discipline, support, and patience. Before the brain can begin healing, the body must be clean of any residual substance. Detox can take several days to several weeks, depending on the substance and how long an individual has struggled with addiction.
The brain will start recovering the volume of lost grey matter within one week of the last drink with alcohol. Other areas of the brain and the white matter in the pre-frontal cortex take several months or longer to recover.
Rebuilding the neural pathways to reinforce healthier choices and habits depends on each individuals circumstances. Opioids and cocaine are highly addictive, which makes them more challenging to re-configure deeply ingrained neural circuits. Additionally, the longer a substance is abused, the more solidified the neural pathway for that behavior becomes.
Most drugs change dopamine levels. Many variables determine whether or not the brains capacity to release and re-uptake dopamine will ever fully recover. In addition to the specific substance and length of use, dopamine recovery depends on a persons age, genetics, mental health, and how many drugs were used simultaneously.
Newborn Rodent As A Good Model For Preterm Brain
The many neurodevelopmental handicaps that very low birthweight infants experience suggest that preterm birth disrupts the genetically programmed pattern of brain genesis. To develop a clinically relevant model of the effect of preterm birth on developing brain, one must use an animal model that shows that the injury imposed results in neuropathological changes similar to those found in preterm infants and correlate these changes with behavioural outcomes. As in the preterm infant at the end of the second trimester, neuronal generation in the newborn rodent is complete in most regions, axonal and dendritic branching is robust, and synaptogenesis is just beginning.
Review of the literature suggests that oxygen deprivation is a major cause of neurodevelopmental disability in preterm infants. Although intraventricular haemorrhage, periventricular leucomalacia, and ventriculomegaly are the most commonly recognised and best studied of these circulatory disturbances, hypoxia is particularly prevalent among very low birthweight infants and is a common denominator of these abnormalities.
How Neuroplasticity Helps The Brain Repair Itself After Traumatic Injury
Your brain is composed of over 100 trillion neural connections. When you experience brain trauma, many of the neural connections you once had become damaged or destroyed.
This explains why you might lose the ability to speak after a TBI, for example. Because the neural connections that helped you understand language have been lost.
While the brain does not generate new neurons after an injury, it can compensate for that loss by changing the way information flows throughout the brain. This is where neuroplasticity steps in.
Through neuroplasticity, the brain can form new neural pathways, and therefore repair some of the damage it sustained. It can even transfer functions that were once held in damaged parts of the brain to new, healthy areas.
Think of it as a detour on the road. If the way is blocked or destroyed, youll have to find another route. Neuroplasticity creates that route.
Bdnf And Synaptic Plasticity
Brain-derived neurotrophic factor or BDNF is a protein produced inside your nerve cells to help your brain to communicate and function properly. It protects neurons, encourages their growth, improves their functions, and helps them to survive by protecting them from premature cell death. It also strengthens the signal between neurons by binding to the receptors at the synapses.
BDNF is essential for optimal brain function and a key player in brain regeneration. It plays an important role in learning and memory. It regulates various body functions, including eating and drinking.
How Brain Recovery Occurs After A Traumatic Brain Injury
Whilst there may be actual organic recovery in the brain, called cell regeneration, and there is plenty of evidence from the last 20 years to show that this happens, much of the recovery of the brain is through what is called plasticity. This is the process through which parts of the brain compensate for damaged or destroyed brain matter and so information is re-routed around the damaged areas.
Much of this recovery is therefore down to the discipline and attitude of the patient and the support they have around them, i.e. can they adapt to the brain telling them new ways to do the same functions? A good start is to build compensatory strategies, which are techniques to make up for lost abilities, such as writing things down to compensate for short-term memory loss, but this all forms part of a tailored programme specific to your individual needs.
How Long Does It Take The Brain To Recover From Addiction
The brain has billions of neurons, which connect via neural pathways. As children develop and learn, their brains create and change these pathways, a process known as neuroplasticity, with relative ease. At approximately age twenty-five, the brain has developed the majority of its neural pathways; its plasticity is significantly reduced.
The brain uses neural pathways as efficiently as possible, allowing repetitive tasks to become automatic or habitual. The frequent use of the same circuits embeds them deeper into the brain, making it more difficult to alter their routes. Imagine dragging a scissors blade across cardboard along the same line over and over; the groove gets more pronounced. Fortunately, the brain is more flexible than cardboard. Although adults need more time and effort to change neural pathways than a child does, adults can change their brains.
Changing the adult brain is essential for individuals who engage in addictive behaviors. Even in a high-tech society, humans still behave on the pleasure-reward system our early ancestors used for survival. The brain releases dopamine, the feel-good neurotransmitter when an action, event, or emotion is satisfying or pleasurable. To get more of that good feeling, humans repeat that stimulating action or thought.
S: The Emergence Of Neurogenesis
In the 1990s, it was shown that stem cells divided to form new cells. Also, some of them were neurons. Thanks to the development of new tools to obtain images of neurons, this theory ended up permeating the scientific community.
Another study from 1996 showed how the birth of new cells in the brain decreased as mice aged. But it never completely disappeared. As early as 1998, these certainties in mice and birds were demonstrated in the human brain.
Based on these discoveries, other research showed that the neurogenesis process did not depend only on age, but also on other factors such as experience and environment. For example, stress decreased neurogenesis, while exercise increased it.
In addition, they also observed that over a period of several months, the new cells grew into mature neurons, forming connections and firing electrical impulses.
Neurogenesis was a fact. It decreases with age, but could be improved with cognitive enrichment and exercise. In the next decade, research focused on the implications for aging and cognitive health.
Brain Regeneration: 12 Ways To Heal Brain Cells
Brain regeneration is an important concept that is critical in todays environment. Your brain is the command center of your nervous system and the center of all of your bodys functions and systems. The health of your brain is essential for your memory, learning, mental energy, and mood, and the prevention of mental health issues and neurodegenerative disorders.
Even though most of your brain cells are formed in the womb and during infancy, new research suggests that your brain is able to regenerate and create new cells throughout your life. This means that you can keep your brain health, mental energy, and memory even as you age.
In this article, you will learn what brain regeneration, BDNF and are and why are they important for brain health. You will understand the most common things that can damage your brain. I will also share 12 powerful ways to heal your brain cells and support your brain health naturally.
What Causes Brain Damage
Brain damage can be caused either by a traumatic brain injury or acquired brain injury . Brain injuries can cause rupture or blockage of the blood vessels. Depending on the impact of the injury, oxygen and nutrient supply get disrupted to a part or all of the brain. Nutrient and oxygen deprivation of the nerve cells for a prolonged period may lead to brain damage.
TBI refers to brain injuries caused by an external force. They usually result from head injuries. Examples include
- Violent blow or jolt to the head
- Objects, such as a bullet or shattered piece of skull, that penetrate the brain
ABI refers to the brain injury that is acquired during your life. This means the injury was not congenital or due to genetic causes. An acquired brain injury or ABI includes injuries due to an external force . They, however, also include injuries that do not involve an external force, such as a , or a reduced supply of oxygen to the brain.
Pushing Through Tbi Recovery Plateaus
During the first six months after a brain injury, the brain enters a heightened state of plasticity. This means that the brain will spontaneously repair itself, and therapy will have a visible impact. Therefore, you might make rapid progress in your recovery.
However, after about six months, plasticity will decrease.As a result, you might feel like your recovery has stalled.
Therapists call these stalls plateaus, and they are a normal part of TBI recovery. But just because your progress has slowed down, that does not mean that it has ceased entirely.
Your brain can still make repairs during this time, and you can still activate neuroplasticity, even during a plateau. The key is to persevere with your therapy exercises. With enough time and practice, you should begin to make progress again.
What Are The Types Of Injury That Cause Brain Damage
Doctors usually divide brain damage caused by injury into two categories: traumatic and nontraumatic.
Traumatic brain injuries occur due to a blow, shaking, or strong rotational injury to the head that damages the brain. Examples of these injuries include:
Types of traumatic injuries
- Closed head injury. This head injury when an outside force, such as a blow to the head, doesnt penetrate the skull, but it causes injury and brain swelling.
- Concussion. This causes impairment in brain function. It can be the result of a closed or penetrating head injury.
- Contusion. This is a bruise or bleeding in the brain thats due to a blow or jolt to the head.
- Penetrating injury. This is a type of brain injury caused by a bullet, knife, or other sharp object. Its also known as an open head injury.
- Shaken baby syndrome. Also known as abusive head trauma, this occurs due to excessive shaking of a young child.
Doctors may also call a nontraumatic brain injury an acquired brain injury. Examples of nontraumatic brain injuries include:
types of acquired injuries
- Anoxic/hypoxic. This is injury to brain cells due to lack of oxygen.
- Brain infections/inflammation. Infections such as can cause brain injury.
- Stroke. A is caused by loss of blood flow to the brain due to a blood clot or brain bleed.
- Tumor. This can brain cancer and cancer-related illnesses.
These are just some of the examples of the most common types of brain injury.
- blast injury
- memory problems
Independance Motivation And Hope
My son Sharat suffered a severe traumatic brain injury 23 years ago leaving him with Aphasia and right sided weakness from his vision,hearing to his limbs. The lockdown in June was a great challenge for him as his caregivers stopped coming, no gym workouts and no outings for a coffee.
Being his mother and primary carer I feared that this was a hotbed for depression. I scoured the net and chanced upon FlintRehab. As there was a trial period it was safe for us to risk getting it across to Auckland.
His OT checked it out and felt that it was ideal. I can honestly second this.
He enjoys working on it and now after three months can do it on his own. His left hand helps his right hand. The FitMi video explains and shows him what to do, it gives him marks and applauds him too!!
He has to use both sides of his brain. The caregivers are OT students who returned enjoy working on it with him.
In three months there motivation built up in him with a drive to use his right hand. There is definitely a slight improvement in his right hand.
This encourages him as well as the caregivers to try harder.His overall mood is upbeat. He enjoys it, so much so, that it doesnt matter if his caregiver is away.
FitMi is a blessing.
Secrets To Helping Your Brain Repair Itself
True or false? By the time you reach 18 or 20 your brain is fully grown and fixed for life. Its all downhill after that.
For 400 years this was what experts believed. But its a view that wasnt just wrong, it was spectacularly wrong, according to Dr. Norman Doidge, psychiatrist and author of The Brain That Changes Itself.
Heres the real scoop and it can change your life if you take advantage of the new discoveries. . .
Because doctors believed the brain cant repair itself or grow new parts, treatment for many brain conditions was considered unjustified or not even possible.
Since early in the new millennium this perspective has completely changed. The new science of neuroplasticity demonstrates that the brain can, with the right stimuli, adapt, repair itself and restore lost function.
Energy + Thought = Brain Healing
The fact that the stuff between your ears can grow and change means that many learning and health deficits associated with the brain are no longer considered irreversible. They can be improved and sometimes cured.
The ideal interventions to heal the brain dont involve surgery or drugs. They are natural and non-invasive, mainly different forms of energy such as sound, vibration, light, electricity and motion.
You can use these avenues into your brain to awaken its healing capabilities by modifying patterns of electrical signals. These in turn promote structural changes.
Eastern Medicine Has Long Known What The West is Now Discovering
Can The Brain Heal Itself
Until the 20th century, neurogenesis was thought to end after the development of the embryo. Starting in the second half of the last century, it was discovered that cells continue to be born in the brain throughout life. Today, this knowledge helps to understand the process of learning and memory and also how the brain is able to repair itself.
In this brief guide we are going to answer the question Can the brain heal itself? We will establish at what point the brain is able to regenerate and create new cells to heal itself, what processes are involved and what are its limitations.
Drug Addiction Recovery And Strengthening Your Brain
Its no secret that drugs have the potential to damage your brain. They can disrupt your brains delicate balance and destroy neural connections. But hope isnt lost. The brain is really good at rewiring itself and modifying its connections. In addition to that, you can use other parts of your brain to maintain key functionality while you recover from addiction.
Here at Meta Addiction Treatment, our staff members know what its like to overcome addiction challenges. Many of them are in active recovery and are ready and willing to help you recover from drug addiction and strengthen your brain. You need to take the first step. Contact our office today at 855-629-3757 if youre ready to begin, continue, or have questions about the recovery process. We designed our treatment programs for real people seeking real recovery.
Can You Heal A Damaged Brain
No, you cannot heal a damaged brain. Medical treatments can just help to stop further damage and limit the functional loss from the damage. The healing process of the brain is not the same as the skin. When the skin gets damaged, such as due to minor skin wounds, it usually heals wells without leaving . Major wounds can heal with scarring. Skin healing is completed by replacing the damaged/lost cells with new ones. In the brain, the damaged cells are nerve cells known as neurons and neurons cannot regenerate. The damaged area gets necrosed and it is never the same as it was before.
When the brain gets injured, you are often left with disabilities that persist for the rest of your life. Rehabilitation can help in functional recovery, but structural abnormality is hard to correct with available treatments.
Regular Movement And Exercise
As youve learned earlier, regular movement and exercise are not only part of a healthy lifestyle, but are essential for brain health. They may help to lower chronic inflammation, reduce stress levels, and decrease the risk of problems, learning troubles, and cognitive decline.
I recommend that you exercise at least 20 to 30 minutes minimally 5 times a week. Try a combination of cardiovascular exercise, strength and resistance training, and low-impact exercise. Aim to stay active throughout the day by choosing to take the stairs, taking a walk at lunch, stretching regularly, gardening, and dancing for your favorite song.
How Does The Brain Repair/rewire Itself After A Stroke Or Traumatic Brain Injury
Heres a look at how the brain re-routes information processing functions into healthy brain tissue
A question posted in asks How does the brain repair/rewire itself after a stroke or traumatic brain injury? Read the response from neuroscientist Paul King, and add your own thoughts to the comments.
The restoration of cognitive function following stroke most likely occurs by neural adaptations in the surrounding brain tissue that allow it to take over the function of lost neurons.
The first phase of repair is physiological: clearing away dead cells.
Not much is known about the specifics of how cognitive function is restored, however most likely what is happening amounts to a re-routing of information processing functions into healthy brain tissue.
Prevention Is The Best Medicine For Brain Health
To help keep your brain safe and prevent TBI:
- Wear a seat belt every time you drive or ride in a motor vehicle.
- Always buckle your child into a child safety seat, booster seat, or seat belt in the car.
- Never drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs, including prescription medications that can impair the ability to drive.
- Avoid high-risk sports and activities where you can hit your head .
- Always wear a helmet and make sure your children wear helmets while playing contact sports, bike riding, horseback riding, skateboarding, snowmobiling, skiing, or snowboarding.
- Do not dive in water less than 12 feet deep or in above-ground pools. Check the depth and check for debris in the water before diving.
- Always hold handrails when going down stairs.