Grow a Better Brain

June 8, 2009 by  
Filed under Mind Stretch

yourgwomamNeed proof your brain can physically grow?

Here it is:

Sixteen London taxi drivers were given brain scans by scientists at the University College London. Each driver had spent about two years memorizing the vast number of streets and routes in London to receive their licenses.

The researchers scanned the part of the driver’s brains associated with navigation in birds and animals a portion of the hippocampus. They also scanned the brains of 50 control subjects who did not drive cabs.

The findings go against the old theory that mature brains do not grow. One particular region of the hippocampus was bigger in the taxi drivers, explains the research team leader, Dr Eleanor Maguire.

There seems to be a definite relationship between the navigating they do as taxi drivers, and their brain changes, Dr Maguire explains. The hippocampus actually changed its structure to accommodate their huge amount of navigating experience.

Considering we’ve always been told our brains go downhill after age 30 another result of the research is especially interesting! The scientists also found that the hippocampus grows even larger as drivers spend more years on the job. The hippocampus of seasoned cabbies that had driven 40 years or more was more developed.

This is very interesting, concludes Dr Maguire, because we now see there can be structural changes in healthy human brains after age 30).

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