Changing Brain Offers Hope For Healing

TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - Researchers have long held the importance of early learning, noting that a baby's brain is establishing trillions of connections among the neurons. But new studies suggest it doesn't end there.

Stormont-Vail West Medical Director Dr. Taylor Porter says new research shows, even as an adult, the brain can change. Both positive and negative events can create those measurable, physical changes in the brain.

Dr. Porter says the effect can work for us and against us. The downside explains how differently people feel when under stress or after a traumatic event like a death, accident or crime.

Recognizing the physical element of the emotional impact can be a first step in healing. Dr. Porter says it can make people feel more understood and it makes more sense that something is actually going on, rather than feeling like they shouldn't be affected.

Because the brain can change, the brain can be healed by doing activities and having interactions that are positive. Dr. Porter says psychotherapy is one thing that can help. He also suggests leaning on faith or family, or, if concentration or memory are the issues, brain teasers or puzzles can do the trick.

Dr. Porter says the negative cannot be erased, but laying positive experiences on top of it can make changes for the better.

Pepperdine and UCLA professor Dr. Louis Cozolino has done extensive research and written books on this subject. He'll be giving a day-long seminar in Topeka September 28th. Medical professionals, school counselors or teachers, social workers or anyone with an interest in the topic can attend. The cost is $75 for individuals or $35 for students. Registration can be done online at www.stormontvail.org.


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