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CUREosity explains: Neuroplasticity

Updated: Jul 16, 2021

In this article we explain what neuroplasticity means and how CUREosity uses this process to support patients with cognitive and motor impairments during their rehabilitation.

Neuroplasticity is the brain's ability to continuously change and adapt to different stimuli. This process consists of a variety of biochemical and metabolic processes that allow us to respond to new stimuli and information and to build new neuronal connections (synapses). If nerve connections are damaged, for example due to a stroke, neural pathways can be reestablished in the brain creating a bypass around the damaged area.

In the past, this ability was only attributed to children. However, recent studies show that neuroplasticity is a lifelong process and that the brain is capable of developing new neurons/brain cells (neurogenesis) and changing brain structure well into adulthood. Learning skills, improving memory and changing habits and behaviour patterns are therefore always possible.

At birth, only relatively few synapses exist that represent the connections from one nerve cell to the next. Connections increase as we learn skills and gain experience. The more actively a connection is used, the stronger the synapse becomes. Similarly, connections can become weaker and disappear altogether when they are not used. Experiences are forgotten and skills unlearned.

The chemical and molecular processes which neuroplasticity is based on are highly complex. They cause inactive connections in the brain to be reactivated by stimulation, new connections to be established and even partially damaged parts of a nerve cell to be repaired (especially in the axons, the nerve projectors).

Every movement begins in the brain. Neuronal patterns are created that make it possible to perform simple tasks, such as walking, recognising objects and also planning and carrying out actions. If nerves have been damaged i.e., by an accident or a stroke, the consequences could be paralysis or the loss of perception of body parts. The usual way of accessing neuronal patterns is destroyed and no longer available.

At CUREosity, we use the potential of neuroplasticity to help patients regain skills and thus improve their quality of life. With our innovative approach and our therapy system CUREO, we combine neuroplastic training with motivating, playful elements so that new pathways and patterns can be formed. Movements that were not possible for a long time can suddenly be performed again. This progress often takes place without patients realising immediately, because they are distracted by virtual reality and concentrate primarily on the modules.

Therapy with CUREO allows patients to repeatedly experience surprising successes and thus contributes to motivation and increased learning performance, which in turn supports the processes of neuroplasticity.


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