Environmental Enrichment

"Environmental enrichment may protect against brain atrophy in the chronic stages of traumatic brain injury," was published September 24 in Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, by Dr. Robin Green.

Dr. Green has been studying the brain surrounding areas that were previously damaged.  She finds that among the damaged areas are healthy areas interspersed.  The healthy areas however remain under stimulated by the surrounding damaged areas.  Eventually the healthy areas become damaged.  They deteriorate.  

"People with moderate-severe TBI are commonly unable to return to the same level of engagement in their work, school or social lives as before the injury," said Dr. Green. "However, those with greater environmental enrichment may be keeping vulnerable areas stimulated. Environmental enrichment is also known to increase production of neurons in the hippocampus and to promote their integration into existing brain networks."

Based on the findings from their study, Green’s team is now engaged in research designed to proactively offset deterioration, which includes the delivery of environmental enrichment to patients.

"Although the brains of patients are showing negative changes, patients are still showing recovery of their functioning in spite of it," said Dr. Green. "If we are able to offset the negative brain changes through the treatments we are developing, we may be able to very significantly improve patients’ recovery and the quality of their aging with a brain injury."

Interesting stuff coming from the brains of those who study brains.