So what is Neuroplasticity anyway?
(last updated Sept'95)

Well... neuro- from the Greek neuros meaning neuron, nerve, neural, whatever... Basically, 'gray matter' or 'brain stuff', which of course includes all of the nervous system, from the Pacini ends in your fingertips to the cerebral cortex.

Then there's plasticity, and not too surprisingly also from Greek plastikos meaning molded, sculpted, shaped, etc... Basically the process of manufacturing or fashioning a finished form.

Together then, neuro-plasticity is the creation, forming, shaping or sculpting of neural tissue into a finished form or 'end state'. As such, neuroplasticity includes a broad range of phenomena, both normal and abnormal; natural and artificial.

A few examples of neuroplasticity are...

  • The normal unfolding and growth of the brain during development.
  • The regeneration of peripheral nerves after injury.
  • The changes that occur after many episodes of aberrant neural activity, as can happen in epilepsy.
  • Learning, hypothesized as the strengthening/weakening of synaptic connections between neurons.
  • Artificial neuroplasticity phenomena used to model epilepsy Kindling
  • Artificial neuroplasticity phenomena used to model learning Long term Potentiation (LTP).