Adaptation: A Phenomena as Constant as Cell and Tissue Renewal
While we are healthy, we all assume that we are not adapting or compensating. However, human cognition and biomechanics are constantly adapting from the time we are born and throughout our lives. Those adaptations that are repeated over a longer period and perhaps with more intensity become ingrained in our central nervous system and hence, affects our movement and mind. How we age is determined by whether we are adapting in a beneficial direction or not. Mal-adaptations occur more dramatically once a person is hit by a sudden, debilitating event, such as stroke or traumatic brain injury.
What do we not know about Adaptation?
Most of us are aware of conscious adaptations that we all make, such as trying to break a habit or performing an action out of choice in a particular manner to achieve a desirable outcome. While actions and choices constitute conscious adaptation, unknown brain-muscle responses at a non-obvious level constitute unconscious adaptations. These electrical responses sometimes support the conscious adaptation, making it easier to achieve while in many cases, particularly in the ill and disabled, they actually serve as “controllers”, opposing the improvements in mobility and function that a person is trying hard to re-learn. These become evident later as inappropriate muscle tone, spasticity, chronic idiopathic pain, and the like, all leading to “plateaus” in recovery.
This is often referred to as the dark side of neuroplasticity, a term that represents the ever-changing nature of the human brain.
From the Unconscious to the Conscious
Technology can now make such unconscious adaptations visible in real-time, using high resolution analysis of brain and muscle signals while a person is attempting to carry out any activity or task. For an impaired person, it can highlight those reactions that are hampering recovery. Simple exercise interventions can then help them “self-correct” these reactions, break out of such plateaus and once more, embark on the journey to recovery.
As we grow older, demands on the brain-muscle complex changes. Such technology can therefore be used throughout one’s life to remain mentally and physically functional and independent, especially for lifelong conditions like cerebral palsy.
SynPhne is the world’s first such tool that helps a person conquer the dark side of neuroplasticity.