Spine Tuning: Finding Physical Evidence of How Practice Rewires the Brain | Observations, Scientific American Blog Network

Neuronal dendrite formation

Neuronal dendrite formation (Photo credit: TheJCB)

Spine Tuning: Finding Physical Evidence of How Practice Rewires the Brain | Observations, Scientific American Blog Network.

Scientists seems to have uncovered the secret behind “Practice makes perfect.”

Just about everything we do modifies connections between brain cells—learning and memory are dependent on this flexibility. When we improve a skill through practice, we strengthen connections between neurons involved in that skill.

The experiment made use of genetically engineered mice that expressed a protein capable of glowing yellow in infrared light. The researchers cut a hole into the skull (while the mouse was under anesthesia) in order to see the motor cortex. A two-photon microscope was used to view the glowing neurons in search of dendritic spines. Have a look at the article if you’d like to know a bit more about the findings!

Two new spines grow next to one another on the same dendrite during training (Credit: Yi Zuo, University of California, Santa Cruz)

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