We present a primer on the adaptability of the brain. We start with a brief historical overview of the biology of neuroplasticity. Environmental enrichment, social stimulation, exercise, and pharmacologic interventions (eg, antidepressant drugs) have all been reported to influence neuroplasticity. Since adaptive changes in the brain involve changes in how genes are expressed, we look at some approaches to that. Next, we consider a vital, but often overlooked, factor in brain development throughout life—social interactions. We conclude with a future perspective.
Carolinas Rehabilitation, Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Charlotte, North Carolina (Dr M. A. Hirsch); and The University at Albany, State University of New York, Albany (Dr H.V.B. Hirsch).
Correspondence: Mark A. Hirsch, PhD, Carolinas Rehabilitation, Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Charlotte, NC 28203 (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Dr Mark A. Hirsch receives grant funding from Carolinas HealthCare System. Dr Helmut Hirsch receives grant funding through the National Institutes of Health (National Institutes of Environmental Health Sciences).
The authors have disclosed that they have no significant relationships with, or financial interest in, any commercial companies pertaining to this article.