Neuroplasticity: Structural vs Functional

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24 Questions

Which neurotransmitter is implicated in starting and stopping critical periods in brain development?


What mechanism is hypothesized to underlie neurological disorders such as ASD and schizophrenia?

Neurotransmitter imbalance

Which factor is suggested to retain some level of plasticity in adult brains for targeted interventions?

Reopening plasticity experiments

Which intervention is being explored for neuroplasticity-based interventions?

Stem cells

What environmental factor is mentioned to influence neuroplasticity?

PE video game training

What imbalance is linked to many pathological conditions, perturbing the balance of excitation relative to inhibition?

Excitation/inhibition imbalance

In Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), what contribution does an imbalance in GABAergic inhibition make to the development of symptoms?

Delayed critical period closure

Which intervention shows promise for treating ASD by increasing or decreasing neuronal activity?

Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS)

What is suggested to disrupt the precision of sensory information processing, leading to long-term effects?

Extreme early experiences like malnutrition and emotional stressors

What impact can child maltreatment have on childhood development?

Impaired emotion regulation and amygdala reactivity

What affects emotional processing, with the left associated with verbal processing and the right associated with visual processing?

Brain lateralization

What decreases over time, necessitating more effort to induce neuroplastic changes?

The ability to change the brain

What is the primary focus of neuroplasticity?

Anatomical and functional reorganization of neurons

How does experience influence neuroplasticity?

All of the above

What is the significance of critical periods in neuroplasticity?

They establish vital neural connections and pathways

When do critical periods typically occur?

During infancy and teenage years

What are the consequences of critical periods occurring at inappropriate times?

Dire consequences for cognitive, emotional, and social development

Which type of neuroplasticity refers to changes in neuronal morphology?

Structural neuroplasticity

What aspect of neuronal connectivity does structural neuroplasticity primarily address?

Neuronal morphology

At what level does functional neuroplasticity primarily operate?

Molecular level

Which factor influences the critical periods of development through neuroplasticity?

Environmental input

In what way does experience control genes related to neuroplasticity?

Via Epigenetics

What is the primary outcome of promoting the stabilization of used synapses?

Establishment of efficient neural pathways

Which factors have a significant impact on the magnitude of synaptic transmission?

Both synaptic activity and neuronal firing

Study Notes

  • Critical periods for vision, hearing, language, and social interaction have been identified, each associated with specific developmental stages: before birth, infancy, childhood, and later childhood.
  • Brain cells' connections are formed based on sensory cues and experiences during critical periods, with inhibitory neurotransmitter GABA playing a role in starting and stopping these periods.
  • An imbalance in the excitatory-inhibitory balance is hypothesized to be the underlying mechanism of neurological disorders, including ASD and schizophrenia.
  • Reopening plasticity experiments suggest that adult brains retain some level of plasticity for targeted interventions.
  • Various drugs and cell therapies, such as stem cells, HDAC inhibitors, antidepressants, and acetylcholine enhancing drugs, are being explored for neuroplasticity-based interventions.
  • Environmental factors, such as PE video game training and meditation, can also influence neuroplasticity.
  • The excitatory-inhibitory balance occurs at various levels, including single neurons, large-scale cortical circuits, and globally.
  • Excitation/inhibition imbalance is linked to many pathological conditions, where the balance is perturbed, leading to excessive or diminished excitation relative to inhibition.
  • In Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), early brain overgrowth and an imbalance in GABAergic inhibition contribute to the development of symptoms, including reduced neural noise suppression and delayed critical period closure.
  • Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) shows promise for treating ASD, with high-frequency rTMS increasing neuronal activity and low-frequency rTMS decreasing neuronal excitability.
  • Extreme early experiences, including malnutrition, emotional stressors, and immune challenges, can disrupt the precision of sensory information processing, leading to long-term effects.
  • Early adversity, such as child maltreatment, can impact childhood development, particularly in the areas of emotion regulation and amygdala reactivity.
  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and targeted cognitive training can help reshape synapses and improve emotional processing in patients with anxiety disorders.
  • Brain lateralization affects emotional processing, with the left amygdala more associated with verbal and sustained emotional processing, while the right amygdala is more associated with visual and dynamic emotional analysis.
  • The ability to change the brain decreases over time, requiring more effort to induce neuroplastic changes.
  • Adult neurogenesis occurs in specific areas, including the subgranular zone (SGZ) in the dentate gyrus of the hippocampus and the subventricular zone (SVZ) of the lateral ventricles.

Test your knowledge on the concepts of neuroplasticity, focusing on the differences between structural and functional neuroplasticity, and how neurons reorganize and alter their connectivity in response to environmental input.

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