We study how the brain changes when we learn, as we get older, or when we recover damage such as stroke. We use brain imaging to monitor brain change and we aim to develop new approaches to facilitate learning, recovery and healthy ageing.
PlasticityDefinition: the adaptability of an organism to changes in its environment.
Our brains adapt whenever we learn a new skill, such as juggling. Our brains also adapt as we get older, or following damage such as stroke. Changes in our lifestyle, like taking up exercise, can also affect our brains. Understanding how the brain adapts to change can help us to design new rehabilitation treatments, to promote healthy ageing, or to enhance learning.
The FMRIB Plasticity Group is a multidisciplinary research group using advanced brain imaging techniques to monitor brain change. We also use training programmes and brain stimulation to try to influence brain change.
The Plasticity Group is part of the Neuroplastics collaborative network, which also includes the Physiological Neuroimaging Group headed by Charlotte Stagg and the Action, Cognition & Neurotherapeutics Group headed by Jacinta O'Shea. The three groups work together on research projects as well as public outreach activities.
The Wellcome Trust and the Education Endowment Foundation have announced funding for a research study, led by Professor Heidi Johansen-Berg, to investigate whether physical fitness can improve academic achievement in school children.