Wednesday, 21 January, 2004

Juggling makes you smarter?

Researchers at the University of Regensburg in Germany have discovered that learning to juggle can cause changes in the adult brain.  Apparently, mastering juggling increases the amount of "gray matter" in areas of the brain that store and process visual information.  The study apparently proves that new stimuli can alter the brain's structure.  This was previously thought to be impossible.  In addition, brain scans taken three months after the subjects had stopped juggling showed a decrease in the new gray matter.

I'm not sure what all this means.  Does learning to juggle make you smarter?  Can we extend this to mean that learning anything new, not necessarily a complex task requiring hand/eye coordination, create changes in the brain's structure?  It wouldn't surprise me to learn that it does.  The more I read about aging, the more I'm convinced that a large factor in deteriorating mental condition is the lack of new stimuli.  I sum it up as "Keep learning or start losing your mind."