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Brain 'more flexible' than previously thought

Brain 'more flexible' than previously thought
5th March 2012

The brain is more flexible and trainable than previously thought, according to a new study.

Through a process called plasticity, the brain can be trained to do tasks it doesn't normally do.

Researchers at the University of California and the Champalimaud Centre for the Unknown in Portugal found that the brain circuits used for learning motor skills can be used for mental tasks also.

The study is believed to advance the research of scientists studying the brain circuits used in natural movement to mimic them to develop prosthetic devices.

Dr Jose Carmena, associate professor of electrical engineering, cognitive science and neuroscience and the University of California, stated:"What we hope is that our new insights into the brain's wiring will lead to a wider range of better prostheses that feel as close to natural as possible."

The discovery could also help dementia research by allowing scientists to develop ways to enable patients to re-learn old skills.

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