Wow. Nature is absolutely amazing…and mystifying. Now we learn that the human brain can rewire itself around damaged areas, as if it has a life of its own. Can nature be any more amazing?!
Decades ago scientists discovered that single-cell organisms can link to each other into a long chain to get at and consume food that scientists place at the far side of a petri dish. How does the single cell know there is food there? How does it know to organize into a concerted effort? How does it know to share the food when it gets it? When I read about that, years ago, my curiosity stunned my brain with such force, I had to sit down to think this through. I still have no answers.
Then there are insect colonies. How do they know to work together and how did they ever learn to exude pheromones to attract the opposite sex or to warn of danger? How do they change those pheromones on command? That clobbered my brain, too.
Last night I watched a grand documentary about animals in Africa. The producers and camera crew captured the most stirring scenes imaginable, not only about the beauty of nature but of the apparent compassion that large animals have for their young. Mammals bounded to mammals. Stirring. Or the smaller wild life able to follow the larger animals and thereby ensure their own survival and that of their species. Even the behavior of plants that cope with brutal changing seasons and conditions. That, too, clobbered my brain. How is this all possible?
If that was not enough to pin my brain to the ground and keep it there, Thanks to Dr. Esselstyn’s writings and lectures, I learned of the magical powers of the human body to repair its own damaged arteries even after massive destruction from heart attacks and strokes. That one-cell thick inner layer of our arteries called the endothelium which we absolutely grind into oblivion by eating fats, animal proteins, drinking alcohol, and consuming high GI, (glycemic index), food and drinks, sort of has a mind of its own. That one-cell thick endothelium works to survive and to repair itself if we give it half a chance, and it does so without our control and without our even thinking about having to repair them. It seems to sort of “think for itself”, if I dare say that. [See my Nugget: AN APO A DAY KEEPS THE DOCTOR AWAY. ]
Now scientists tell us once again that something else that we thought we controlled sort of thinks for itself to fix itself when damaged. They discovered that even our own brain has some very potent regenerative powers of its own.
The study concluded that, “Subtle cerebral reorganization reflecting the inherent plasticity of brain may occur concomitantly with processes contributing to tissue reduction in adult patients with Schizophrenia.”See End Note 1 In other words, the brain can do some remodelling, (repair, rebuilding, and re-routing), all by itself, under the right conditions. This is stunning news. even the cells of the brain can think for themselves.
Though this discovery was made while focusing on the specific disease of Schizophrenia, as with any discovery, in due time, it may open up more vistas pertaining to brain remodeling which may be able to help patients suffering with other brain diseases that have damaged parts of their brain.
Nature continues to reveal its mysteries to us, but at a snails pace. Or, maybe, our brains are just not yet big enough or smart enough to discover nature’s secrets any quicker.
“Dynamic cerebral reorganization in the pathophysiology of schizophrenia: a MRI-derived cortical thickness study,” By Guo, Palaniyappan, Liddle, Feng. Psychol Med. 2016 May 26:1-14.