Learning complex skill increases brain power

by Anonymous on Oct. 12th, 2009

Juggling animation: The classic 3-ball cascade
Juggling animation: The classic 3-ball cascadeCourtesy Wikimedia Commons
A new study appearing in the journal Nature Neuroscience explains how learning a new complex visual-motor skill, such as juggling, can lead to a significant change in the brain’s white matter. A team from Oxford's Department of Clinical Neurology did the research. Half of the study’s 24 subjects were trained to juggle in the classic three-ball cascade (see animation). They were also asked to practice the skill each day for 30 minutes. After six weeks, MRI scans revealed that the brains of those who learned to juggle showed a marked change in the white matter, the area responsible for networking the pathways in the brain’s grey matter. This new knowledge could lead to aiding in the treatment of neurological diseases such as multiple sclerosis.

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