What Enables Neuroplasticity?
Neuroplasticity is the brain’s ability to reorganize itself by forming new neural connections throughout life. This amazing ability allows the brain to adapt and recover from injury. But what enables neuroplasticity to occur?
There are three key things that enable neuroplasticity:
Neurotrophic factors: These are growth factors that help to support and protect neurons. They include brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) and nerve growth factor (NGF).
Synaptic plasticity: This is the ability of synapses (the connections between neurons) to change their strength. Long-term potentiation (LTP) is a type of synaptic plasticity that is important for learning and memory.
Experience-dependent plasticity: This is the brain’s ability to reorganize itself in response to experience. It occurs throughout life, but is especially important during critical periods of development, when the brain is growing and making new connections.
All of these factors contribute to neuroplasticity and allow the brain to adapt, learn, and recover from injury.