Learning difficult task can topple brain barriers

London: If an individual has the determination, nothing can stop her or him from achieving the goal, suggests a study.

The study, which showed that a sighted, adult brain is able to recruit when it is sufficiently challenged pointed out that learning a complex task over a long period can challenge the brain and break the barriers that were long thought to be fixed.

“We are all capable of re-tuning our brains if we’re prepared to put the work in,” said lead author Marcin Szwed from the Jagiellonian University in Poland.

The results revealed that we could supercharge the brain to be more flexible as the brain overcomes the normal division of labour and establishes new connections to boost its power.

“Our findings show that we can establish new connections if we undertake a complex enough task and are given long enough to learn it,” Szwed maintained.

The findings, to be published in the journal eLife, could have implications for our power to bend different sections of the brain to our will by learning other demanding skills, such as playing a musical instrument or learning to drive.

Over a period of nine months, 29 volunteers were taught to read Braille while blindfolded.

They achieved reading speeds of up to 17 words per minute.

Before and after the course, they took part in a functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) experiment to test the impact of their learning on regions of the brain.

The findings call for a reassessment of our view of the functional organisation of the human brain, which is more flexible than the brains of other primates, the researchers asserted.