Is learning early in life important? Using your brain particularly during adolescence, may help brain cells survive and could impact how the brain functions after puberty.
According to a recently published study in “Frontiers in Neuroscience,” Rutgers behavioral and systems neuroscientist Tracey Shors, who co-authored the study, found that the newborn brain cells in young rats that were successful at learning survived while the same brain cells in animals that didn’t master the task died quickly.
The study is important, Shors said, because it suggests that the massive proliferation of new brain cells most likely helps young animals leave the protectiveness of their mothers and face dangers, challenges and opportunities of adulthood.
“It’s not that learning makes more cells,” Shors said. “It’s that the process of learning keeps new cells alive that are already present at the time of the learning experience.”
Since the process of producing new brain cells on a cellular level is similar in animals, including humans, Shors said ensuring that adolescent children learn at optimal levels is critical.
What it has shown me, especially as an educator, is how difficult it is to achieve optimal learning for our students. You don’t want the material to be too easy to learn and yet still have it too difficult where the student doesn’t learn and gives up,” Shors said.
So, what does this mean for the 12-year-old adolescent boy or girl?
While scientists can’t measure individual brain cells in humans, Shors said this study, on the cellular level, provides a look at what is happening in the adolescent brain and provides a window into the amazing ability the brain has to reorganize itself and form new neutral connections at such a transformation time in our lives.
“Adolescents are trying to figure out who they are now, who they want to be when they grow up and are in school in a learning environment all day long,” Shors said. “The brain has to have a lot of strength to respond to all those experiences.”
Source: Robin Lally
Is learning early in life important? I’m interested in any thoughts or comments that you have.