The extremely labile nature of the nervous system has proved an intriguing area of research for over thirty years. From the earliest stages of neuronal growth during development, both the morphology and strength of neuronal connections within the central nervous system are shaped and modified by experience. While connections between neurons that are continually stimulated are strengthened, redundant connections weaken and are eventually lost.
The Mutable Brain provides a comprehensive introduction to plasticity of the brain and neural circuits whilst covering the history of neurological research, from early work on the developing visual system, right through to current state-of-the-art molecular techniques. Authored by leading researchers in the field, it address a range of research areas, including ongoing research on the behavioural significance of hippocampal plasticity, the mediation of avian vocal learning by neural plasticity and the dynamicity of the somatosensory system with its multi-hierarchical interactions. Together, these chapters provide a broad, introductory overview of current views on neuronal plasticity.
Developmental plasticity in the mammalian visual system. Activity-dependant plasticity of glutamatergic synaptic transmission in the cerebral cortex. Neural ensemble dynamics and their contributions to short-term plasticity in the somatosensory system. Sensorimotor plasticity in the rodent vibrissa system. Reorganization of sensory and motor systems in adult mammals after injury. Crossmodal expansion of cortical maps in early blindness. Behavioural significance of hippocampal plasticity. Neural plasticity during vocal learning in birds. Modifiability of neocortical connections and function during development.