Brain plasticity interventions for seniors

    The ability of the brain to alter itself in response to internal demand or external experience is called neuroplasticity. The brain retains this unique capability until it starts aging. With age, there is cortical degeneration in the brain leading to cognitive decline. This can be arrested by brain Plasticity Interventions for seniors.

    Can brain plasticity interventions really help for seniors?

    Research reveals that different forms of activity have different kind of impacts on the brain especially in the areas of its development. Neuroplasticity depended to a great extent on the experience and exposure of the brain to certain kinds of repeated activity. For example, finding revealed that the taxi drivers of London showed great development in the hippocampus of their brain owing to the constant demand for spatial coordination. This only leads us to conclude that the neuroplasticity of the brain can be improved by certain brain plasticity interventions, especially for seniors.

    It has been seen that while certain neuromodulators were secreted in certain cortical areas of the brain, inducing its neuroplasticity. These neuromodulators like acetylcholine, noradrenaline, and dopamine alter the functioning of the brain during focussed attention, new inputs or rewarding performance respectively. Based on this learning, neuroplastic interventions have been developed to treat elders with geriatric diseases induced by cognitive decline.

    The functional decline of the brain leads to poor memory recall and retention, lower processing speed, poor reflexes etc. These symptoms collectively result in neurodegenerative disorders like Alzheimer’s disease, Dementia, etc. This age-related decline in cognitive or neural activity can be combated by improving the brain plasticity of the seniors by suitable interventions.

    How do brain plasticity interventions really help seniors?

    Research by Hillman and Taubert etc revealed that the age-related functional decline of the brain can be arrested or mitigated by neuroprotection. This neuroprotection is provided by stimulating the brain to reorganize itself or improve its plasticity through brain activity training.

    Brain plasticity intervention facilitates neural reorganization and this lead to neurogenesis- the growth of new neurons, gliogenesis- the creation of new of glial cells and synaptogenesis- the formation of new synapses along with the production of new blood vessels in the brain. This holistic growth results in the improvement of the memory and cognitive abilities of the brain. This is why brain plasticity interventions are recommended compulsorily to ageing adults. Unless brain plasticity interventions are applied to the senior’s brain, the aged brain will continue to be idle and inactive and start degenerating on its own.

    When the seniors acquire new information or get trained in new skills, their brain reorganize itself based on this experience. The neural pathways, circuits, synapses etc are all altered to improve the brain’s functioning. With such brain plasticity interventions, the senior’s brain remains agile and active.

    Application of brain plasticity interventions in the treatment of seniors

    Blasticity interventions have found widespread applications in the treatment of seniors. Elders with mental ailments are being treated with brain plasticity interventions with successful results. Neuroplastic interventions have contributed greatly to arresting or diminishing the effects of the seniors with Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, and schizophrenia.

    Vision problems in seniors can also be treated using brain plasticity interventions. Stereopsis treatment or binocular vision improvement is now possible using brain plasticity interventions. Elders with convergence insufficiency and amblyopia can also be made to see better using these neuroplastic intervention methodologies.

    Chronic pain management is another area where brain plasticity interventions have found successful use. Seniors often experience chronic pain due to age and ailments like carpal tunnel syndrome, low back pain, arthritis, etc. Low back pain, sciatica, spondylitis, etc can be treated  in elders by training the brain to exercise its neuroplasticity in the desired manner to achieve significant pain relief.

    Post-stroke recovery and rehabilitation is another prime area of application of brain plasticity interventions for seniors. Aged people often fall prey to stroke owing to an increase in stress and due to high blood pressure levels. For these elders, post-stroke recovery can be slow and traumatic. But with brain plasticity interventions, rapid recovery is definitely possible.

    Many old-age ailments like anger, anxiety, depression, dementia, fear, and insomnia can be cured by the right use of brain plasticity interventions. There are home healthcare centers to provide nursing assistance at home for 24*7 and also neuro rehab service for seniors.

    What are the types of brain plasticity interventions used for seniors?

    Brain plasticity interventions include traditional methods like functional electrical stimulation, constraint-induced movement therapy, etc. Even physical training like treadmill training with body weight support and aerobics are used to enhance neuroplasticity through adult neurogenesis.

    Meditation is yet another approach to stimulate neuroplasticity in seniors combating anger, anxiety and stress issues. Dancing also has a therapeutic and neuroplastic effort on the aged through the mental focus and coordinated body movements used in its practice.

    The latest and advanced methods of neuroplastic intervention are robot-assisted therapy and virtual reality therapy. Home healthcare centers can provide the clinical assistance and support to recover soon.

    Brain plasticity is the fulcrum around which the active functioning of the senior’s brain revolves. Therefore Brain plasticity interventions are used in seniors to provide relief, recovery, and rejuvenation.

    Thilak is the in-house content writer of Healthabove60, the Preferred Geriatric Home Healthcare service provider in Chennai. He mostly writes about health and elderly wellbeing.

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