How the Brain Learns

Your brain is ‘plastic,’ in the best sense of the word, meaning it can change and adapt for its surroundings and experiences. When learning new skills or techniques, neurons make new connections to other neurons creating a new neural circuit in our brains.  It is not a big surprise that you are often awkward and slow when you try something completely new because the brain is creating a new neural circuit for that skill.  Imagine stepping out onto an ice skating rink for the first time. The brain has no ice skating circuit so it must create  a new one by getting neurons, that have never interacted, to work together. Every human skill, whether it’s, charging the Streif in Kitzbuhel to sewing a button on is created by chains of nerves relaying a small electrical impulse, a simple signal traveling through a circuit.  Imagine being a first time skater. The first time you skate there is no circuit in your brain to tell you what do, what muscles to use. No evolutionary circuit exist to ice skate. No cave man ever needed it to skate away for a tiger.  Now however you are skating, firing neurons together that have never had to before.  You are in every sense building and learning. The neural circuit that now exists is easier to use than building a new circuit the next time you step on the ice. Once the circuit exists the brain then starts to strengthen and reinforce that neural circuit by frequency and recency of use.  This process is called myelination. Myelination is the process of adding a white fatty substance to the circuit that insulates the neuron. Myetion is helping you get better by making your skate circuit faster. Get better, more experience, adding myelin. Myelin’s role is to wrap those nerve fibers in the same way that rubber insulation wraps an extention cord, making the signal clearer, stronger and faster by limiting the electrical impulses from leaking out. A neural circuit that has been myelinated can fire up to 200 times faster than and non-myelinated circuit. Imagine comparing the neural circuit of a beginning skier against the circuit of an schooled and practiced World Champion.  

The animation depicts the difference in speeds that electrical impulses travel between a myelinated (insulated) and a regular non-insulated nerve.

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