Science Daily has released an article regarding a study on brain plasticity from neuroscientists at Children’s Hospital Boston that has the potential to help patients heal from a brain injury.
Otx2, a protein that is manufactured in the retina, has been found to initiate a state of “heightened brain plasticity” in mice. This state of plasticity allows the brain to make new neural connections, leading to an increased ability to learn new things.
Imagine your brain being able to re-connect the portions that control memory, learning and physical stability with the application of eye drops…it’s not a reality for humans yet, but with the continued research into this area, it may be in the near future.
Takao Hensch from the Neurobiology Program and Department of Neurology at Children’s Hospital Boston has suggested that auditory and olfactory senses, along with others, may play a part in turning this critical period of the brain on.
It’s interesting to think that the eyes tell the brain when to begin learning. It’s as though when the eyes are fully prepared to document what is going on around us, they then send a signal to the brain telling it to begin “maturing”. The researchers involved with this study injected Otx2 directly into the brain’s cortex, and found that it had the same plasticity reaction that was produced in a natural setting.
These results are what leads us to hope for a convenient method of activating this protein transmission, such as the eye drops mentioned in the Science Daily article. Time will tell!