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ASG Rapid brain change and long-term outcomes

We continue to learn new skills and develop our abilities throughout our life. Modern neuroimaging methods let us look inside the brain and observe how and where changes occur as an effect of experience. In the recent past, researchers have come to realize that learning a new skill, such as juggling or academic studies can lead to changes in brain structure in areas related to visuo-motor coordination or learning. It is also known that other academic studies such as language learning can lead to the same type of changes but in language areas and importantly, that these increases are relevant for academic performance. Additionally, we can make use of brain measures to help predict the outcome of an intervention or a study program.

The brain’s capacity for change has proven much larger than earlier believed. Experience can shape the structure of our brains on an observable level within seconds to minutes rather than weeks or months as it was previously assumed. We know much less about the cellular mechanisms underlying these plasticity processes and how these rapid effects relate to long-term changes and learning ability. Predicting outcomes is important if we are to understand why we respond to education differently, or if we want to know why some patients respond to a particular intervention in a clinical setting whilst others do not.

This Theme consists of member from the faculties of Medicine, Humanities, Social Sciences and Faculty of Engineering. Our common denominator is a keen interest in brain plasticity and a knowledge that combines work on both animals and humans, using novel imaging techniques.

Johan Mårtensson (Coordinator)
Researcher at the Department of Clinical Sciences, Division of Logopedics, Phoniatrics and Audiology 
Faculty of Medicine, Lund University 

johan [dot] martensson [at] med [dot] lu [dot] se
+46 46177103