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The neuroplastic brain

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

I saw this amazing program about the neuroplastic brain – the brain is no machine or computer it is living tissue and it changes forever with every thought that passes through it.

Once, when I was in therapy, I was told that we develop behaviours and it is like establishing paths in our brain – whenever a situation occurs we will use the known path to move forwards. Therapy is a way to establish new paths and by exercising new thoughts we can learn to choose other behaviours and will have new paths.

This program told me that the therapist was really right. I showed a blind man learning to ”see” through his tongue – because the brain does not care where the signals comes from, it uses them to create a picture in the brain. It does not matter if the signals comes from the retina or from the tongue…amazing! This man could walk between two lines painted on the floor – it was slow but it worked.

Another story told about a woman who had lost her sense of balance through medication, doctors told her that she had to live with it. Special training helped her brain to reconnect and find a new source for balance – after some time she could even use a normal bike again!

It was also shown how different exercises could hep children with learning problems to ”reconnect” their brain and conquer dyslexia and other difficulties.

An I – of course – wonder how I can use this to reconnect my brain from compulsive overeating. There are many sparkers who has changed their thinking and behaviour, but I admit that I do not feel that hopeful. I can change for a while – my longest periods of healthy living has been sic- seven months – and then I fall back to the old paths. And the destructive thinking that I am useless and hopeless lurks my mind and occurs as soon as I stop blocking it.

Today I will have my appointment with a shrink and I will ask for cognitive behaviour treatment…

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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Fascinating. Good info. Good insight. Best of luck applying it to your life and situation. Take care. -Marsha
    3507 days ago
    I leafed through Apoteket's magazine on the train today and found this book that might be interesting: http://www.bokus.com/b/978912711921
    I have no idea if it's any good or makes sense, but thought of your blog when I saw it.
    It's called "Hjärnkoll på Vikten"
    (sorry all non-Swedish speakers, it's a book in Swedish)
    3507 days ago

    Comment edited on: 4/14/2010 3:33:03 PM
    Ahhh, the complexities of the brain. BUT, when we are talking eating issues we are not just talking about the route to some behavior, and finding a new path. We are also talking about interaction of hormones and how they effect eating, and how eating effects hormones that effect appetite etc. We are also talking about feelings and emotions, and our reactions to stressors, which are connected to brain pathways - and also to chemical and hormone reactions. All this makes eating issues extremely complex. That is why many doctors say, "Even if you see someone who is lost their excess weight and kept it off for a year or two, give them 4 or 5 and you will almost invariably see them regain their weight." I think that is a hopeless, negative attitude, but probably right most of the time. BUT, there are those that DO keep it off, and the thing is - just like quitting smoking - the more we keep trying the more likely we are to find success - or, allow ourselves to get beat down by our failures. So, even in our success or failure we are creating new brain pathways.

    3507 days ago
    Very interesting indeed!
    I wonder how much time it takes for a new habit (a healthy one of course) to be built and replace the old one..
    K. emoticon
    3507 days ago
    Every step in the right direction is exactly that... a step in the right direction. Of course I've been down this path to healthier behaviors several times over the decades, with varying lengths of success. Right now, I'm looking at about 10 1/2 months, but a year an a half before that, it had been 2 1/2 years... and at one point it was nearly 5 years. I figure every day I do the right thing, i.e. nurture myself, it reinforces the ability to do it again.

    Fits with your wonderful blog entry! Thanks for sharing. emoticon
    3507 days ago
    Another programme (many years ago) suggested the brain is initially like a template and patterns and pathways are formed on it, in the first years of life. The template is ingrained with our practised behaviours and although it is not impossible to 'regroove' that template it is only achieved by persistent and repeated actions that become more dominant. The more embedded the original behaviour (the deeper the groove), the more work has to be done to change the pattern.

    For myself, I think it might be easier to take the pattern and overlay that same compulsion / behaviour onto a more healthy target - so that a chocolate binge transforms into a fruit binge. It will still satisfy my template and still feel decadent (especially as fruit is expensive). It's what I'm trying, in any case. Only time will tell.
    3507 days ago
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