Brain & Behavior

Our body is an amazing chemical machine. All objects on earth are made up of molecules and atoms. So is human body.

How these atoms interact with each other is finely tuned. Each second, over 500 quadrillion chemical reactions occur in our body!

The interaction of these molecules are surprising. The field of biochemistry is placed between biology, chemistry and even physics. We know how the hierarchy of an organism is – atom-molecules-cells-tissues-organs-organ system.

Carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen, phosphorous and Sulphur (CHNOPS) are the elements that make up 98% of living matter on earth. Proteins, carbohydrates, lipids and nucleic acids are the biological molecules that are made up from interacting atoms.

So these atoms and molecules make up what we all are! Now, how do they communicate with each other?

There is another superfast transport system. They are ‘neurons’.

These neurons make up the central nervous system and peripheral nervous system. These systems, especially the CNS decides how we feel, think and act; they also decide how we move.

Now, you might think that these all are happening involuntarily. Nothing is under our control. That is not true.

We are aware of how our behavior change in response to various external and internal stimuli. These behaviors can control our brain in turn.

Every single time a learning occurs, be it motor or non-motor, the memory of those events are formed and stored through the coordination of neurons, atoms and molecules. These neuronal connections and high activity in specific areas lead to structural and functional changes in brain area. For example, for people who is right hand dominant, their left hemisphere is slightly large in size and comparatively heavier than the other side. The more the neural connections, better memory is formed so is plasticity of the brain (capacity of brain to form and reorganize synaptic connections).

The chemical changes occurring during short-term memory and long term memory are different. The more you use a specific function, it will improve the corresponding areas. For example, the London cab drivers, who need to memorize map of London for getting their license, have larger brain regions devoted to spatial or mapping memories.

 The more we use a brain region, that area increases their excitability to be used again.

These capacities of brain are often termed as neuroplasticity. It is affected by chemical, structural and functional changes. It happens in whole brain; taking place all the time. But there are some limits that facilitates neuroplasticity. It get affected with ageing, brain damage or any lesions in brain areas etc.

How neuroplasticity is changed in our brain can also be affected through our behaviors. So how we learn new or renew old motor skills is important. Researches in this area is done by including brain simulation, exercise, and robotics. But pattern of neuroplasticity is variable from person to person, i.e., variability.

Nothing is more effective than practice in helping your learning. The more you practice, the stronger will be neural connections. If your difficulty level is more during the practice, that will lead to more learning and greater structural change in the brain.

Neuroplasticity can be positive or negative. Positive, when we learn something new or renew. Negative, when information is forgotten, addiction of drugs etc.

So our brain is shaped by both everything that we do and everything that we don’t do. Also, there is no one-size approach for learning; implies that no recipe for learning; differ from person to person. Hence shaping one’s brain is unique. So to optimize the outcome each of us need individual intervention.

Behaviors that we employ in our everyday life is important. Each of them are changing our brain.

Each of our brain won’t be the same now before you started reading this article. This is an amazing phenomenon happening inside us! Right!!

Repeat those behaviors that are healthy for your brain and break those which are not. Indeed practice makes you perfect. Feel your brain and make it get better. 

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