Human brain and its capabilities

BACKGROUND  The human brain

There are some things that everyone should know, and this is one of them. The potential of the human brain is widely misunderstood, strike, grossly underestimated, by most people.

The brain has plasticity. No, it's not made of plastic. Each one has the capacity for continuous alteration of neural pathways, synapses and the nervous system in response to experience or injury.

What this means is, a healthy human being is not stuck in a situation where he "naturally" cannot do something. Anyone can (and unknowingly we all do) alter his own brain in order to accomplish something that he thought he could never in his wildest dreams have achieved.

Whilst this discovery is epic and really empowers the phrase 'you can achieve anything if you put your mind to it' the downside is that knowing everyone can do almost anything that anyone else can do (of course, through painstaking repetition) really diminishes those 'unique feats' and 'superhumans' that exist today.

The Proof - Brainlessness

For all of you out there who believe that the brain is made with all of the different parts relating to different skills already designated, you're in for a shock.

A quick internet search with the words "woman with half a brain" or "man with half a brain" could perhaps enlighten you to the many cases of people being born with only half a brain. Either due to infantile strokes or genetic default, only one side of the brain is formed. What happens next is an incredible example of the human brain's ability to adapt. The brain re-wires itself so that the part of the brain that isn't present is compensated for by the part that is.

The result? A fully functional brain. No, really. These people go through schools, universities and get professional jobs. Perhaps unknown to their colleagues, they have only half the brains and still do the same job!

The Proof - Super Pensioners

In the book, "The Brain That Heals Itself" we are told of a man who became a doctor at age 82 and then worked as one for a remarkable eight years! This man had been doing brain exercises (in the form of computer games) designed to preserve his brain's capabilities and re-adapt to similar situations to the point that he had lost no skill (except for, bizarrely, his handwriting - though this is likely due to muscular degeneration) by the time he was 80 from when he was 20 years old! Although you might not want a 90 year old doctor who started his training at 82, it is certainly inspiring that an otherwise ordinary man is able to maintain his abilities through repetitive and cognitively demanding computer games!

A quick search of "Super Pensioners" will also enlighten you to the numerous other cases of old age super heroism.

The Proof - Suggestions?

I am aware that there are thousands of incredible stories to do with the plasticity of the mind, but if you know of any that stand out, please do comment below so that I may add it in. I will be searching for other great examples and adding in regularly. Thanks

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