*Persistent sensory experience is good for the aging brain: neuroscientists*


Changes in sensory experience can cause massive rewiring of the
brain, even
as one ages, according to a study by researchers at the Max Planck Florida
Institute > (MPFI) and Columbia
University, contrary to a long-held scientific belief that much of the
wiring of the brain is fixed by the time of adolescence.

The study also found that this rewiring involves fibers in the thalamus,
which processes and delivers information obtained from sensory organs to
the cerebral cortex. These findings promise to open new avenues of research
on brain remodeling and aging.

“This study overturns decades-old beliefs that most of the brain is
hard-wired before a critical period that ends when one is a young adult,”
said MPFI neuroscientist Marcel Oberlaender, PhD, first author on the paper.

“By changing the nature of sensory experience, we were able to demonstrate
that the brain can rewire, even at an advanced age. This may suggest that
if one stops learning and experiencing new things as one ages, a
substantial amount of connections within the brain may be lost.”>