On this website I talk a lot about neuroplasticity in the context of brain fitness and brain training. I describe it often as a process which can be consciously harnessed and used to better ourselves. I sometimes also speak of an unconscious process that goes on behind the scenes in which we are constantly shaping our minds through our thoughts and experiences. However, I rarely mention the most demonstrative and well publicized role of neuroplasticity, its role in healing/recovery from brain trauma. Not long ago victims of strokes and other traumatic brain injuries were considered lost causes. But these days, it seems like there are few limits to what the brain can recover if left with enough healthy tissue and connections. Whole regions of the brain that were destroyed can be reassigned to other areas over time through the magic of neuroplasticity. These things take time and effort, but amazing recoveries are becoming more and more commonplace.
I bring this all up because I just read an article on the role of neuroplasticity in the case of Rep Gabrielle Giffords and her gunshot wound to the head. It goes through different areas that may have experienced damage and explains the prognosis for recovery in each case. Poor woman has a long road ahead of her but as the article points out she has a lot going for her.