Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Connections Formed When Learning

Researchers studied how mice learned new motor tasks and observed changes in the motor cortex (specifically dendritic spines).  The results indicated the following when analyzing the spatial distribution of new connections or clusters that formed between brain cells:
  • spatial analysis showed that one third of the newly formed synapses were located next to another new synapse. The new synapses were formed over several days 
  • second connections which formed from repetitive activation strengthened the first connection - this clustering may "magnify the strength of the connections"
  •  when learning two different tasks new synapses were formed but they did not cluster together
One more study to support that practice makes perfect when it comes to motor skills.

Reference: Medical XPress New connections between brain cells form in clusters during learning. Retrieved from the web on 2/22/2012 from http://medicalxpress.com/news/2012-02-brain-cells-clusters.html

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