Conditions That change the Brain Functioning
Brain plasticity, also known as neuroplasticity, is a term that refers to the brain’s ability to change and adapt as a result of experience. Plasticity is ongoing throughout life. It involves brain cells other than neurons, including glial and vascular cells. It can occur as a result of learning, experience, and memory formation or as a result of damage to the brain.
Here are a few conditions that can cause brain functionality to change.
When you go through something traumatic, your brain triggers a “flight-or-fight” response. Most people recover on their own. But some get posttraumatic stress disorder. PTSD causes your amygdala (the part of the brain that controls emotions) to be over-active. And it lowers activity in your decision-making area (prefrontal cortex). It can also shrink your hippocampus, which forms memories.
Depression doesn’t affect just your mood. The disorder can change your brain. Experts say it lessens activity in some brain areas, including your prefrontal lobes, which are involved with things like reasoning, personality, and judgment. It may lead to brain cell loss, which would make memory problems and dementia more likely.
Strokes happen when blood flow to a part of your brain stops. They cause permanent brain damage and can lead to death and disability. Your symptoms will depend on where your stroke happens. If it’s on the left side of the brain, you may have weakness on numbness on the right side of your body, and speaking may be tough as well. If your stroke is on the right side of the brain, you may have weakness or numbness on your left side.
It’s no secret that alcohol affects the brain. It can cause blurry vision, slurred speech, and memory loss. That’s because alcohol kills brain cells. Over time, drinking too much can damage your brain. Research shows that it can shrink certain parts of your brain, too. Some experts say that people with alcoholism have a smaller hippocampus (the area important for learning and memory) than those who don’t drink often.
People who get migraines have faulty wiring in their brains. Certain nerves overreact to triggers, such as stress or bright light. This sets off a wave of activity, which causes chemicals to narrow blood vessels in the brain. That brings the headache and other symptoms.