Recently, a new theory of learning has become popular in the scientific community. Until now, we knew that “practice makes perfect”, or the more you practice a skill, the better you acquire it. Or, since the popular axiom in neuroscience is “neurons that shoot together, wire together”, that is, the more you control the neuro-scheme in your brain, the stronger it becomes.
However, there is growing evidence that in order to learn something, it is more important to wean or erase old information from the brain than to practice it. The new theory is known as “synaptic pruning”.
HOW IT WORKS:
The brain is very reminiscent of the garden in the way it functions. Instead of flowers, fruits and vegetables, which usually grow in the garden, the brain produces synaptic connections between neurons, the same connections through which neurotransmitters pass, such as dopamine, serotonin, and others.
The brain has its own gardener, also represented by “glial cells”. Some of these cells accelerate signals between certain neurons, while others remove waste, that is, weed out, kill pests or rake dead leaves. The brain garden trimers who cut synaptic connections are known as “microglial cells.” But the important question is how they know what synaptic connections are with prunes.
Until now, researchers have come up with the thesis that less used synaptic connections are marked with C1q protein. So, as soon as microglial cells detect this label, they bind to the protein and cut or destroy the synapse.
It is in this way that the brain creates a physical space for new strong synaptic connections, that is, new information.
THIS IS WHY SHOULD SLEEP:
Sleep is essential for general health, including brain health. In fact, like other organs, the brain also cleanses itself during sleep.
The fact is that the brain creates many new connections when we learn something new, but most of them are ineffective. Therefore, the brain eliminates some of these links in order to build more rational and effective. This occurs during sleep, when brain cells decrease in size by 60% to create space for glia-gardeners to eliminate waste or trim synapses.
The process is very similar to the work of fragmentation on the computer. That’s why you wake up from a good night’s sleep, thinking clearly and quickly.
The same happens with drowsiness. Even a short short sleep for 10-20 minutes allows gardeners of microglial plants to eliminate some unused connections and make room for new ones.
On the other hand, a lack of sleep leads to dense and slow synaptic connections, which prevents clear thinking and reasoning.
THIS IS HOW YOU CAN CONTROL WHAT YOU BEGIN FROM YOUR BRAIN:
As mentioned above, less useful compounds are noted for protein recycling. Unlike them, used are those about which you often think. In other words, your brain keeps the connections that you spend the most time on. Thus, you can practically handle your mind by choosing what to look for.
While it’s true that you can not control what is happening to you, you can control how much it affects you. In other words, you can choose WHAT is occupying your mind and building your own neural connections.
Knowing that you have the power to control your brain function and use your mental energy for things that benefit you, rather than focusing on the things that hold you, really enhances opportunities.
To sum it up, if you want to remove something from your memory, just stop thinking about it or change your focus from it when reminded. This information will sooner or later be labeled for recycling.
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