Brain Function Is A Team Approach

Written By: David Burns

Brain Function Is A Team ApproachWhat part of the brain kicks the ball? What part allows us to balance? What part allows us to see? It is often misunderstood that regions of the brain operate independently for given functions.

In fact, different islands of cells (i.e. nodes) are connected and are dependent on one another to perform various functions. Not only is a given function dependent on a “team” of nodes within a network, the health of a given node or pool of neurons is dependent on the other nodes it is connected to. Your brain operates as a network, and if one area stops talking to a second area, that second area will start to become unhealthy, it will begin to degenerate.

Think of brain function as being dependent on various regions of the nervous system and that each region is represented by a player. These players make up the “brain team”. Different players make up different teams. Each player may play for various teams. Now think of each of these players being physically connected by telephone wires. Imagine that the health of the muscles within each of these players is dependent on the integrity of the physical “telephone” connections and the degree of communication along those connections. If any one of those players suffers an injury, or begin to fail in any way, than the whole team will begin to suffer.

For those so inclined here is the technical jargon describing this concept. In “The Clinical Science of Neurologic Rehabilitation”, neurologist Bruce Dobkin states:

“Focal brain lesions depress the function of neurons at remote distances from the injury. The injured cortex may be connected to the remote region through one or more synapses in a network, by cortical association fibers or intracortical collaterals, and by connections across the corpus callosum. These noncontiguous regions appear hypometabolic when studied by PET…..

If synaptic drive to the network does not recover, transsynaptic degeneration, apoptotic neuronal death, and degeneration of fiber tracts may produce an irreversible decline in remote neuronal activity.”

If you understand this concept, than functional neurology applications for traumatic brain injuries like sports concussions or for sports performance brain training, may seem a little less like “magic”, that requires belief in the mystical. Brain training for sports, or neurological rehabilitation is just a matter of considering all the players on a team and facilitating their communication so that they can build muscle. The team can than perform as a collective whole for optimum function.

Be Sociable, Share!