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What is ‘neural plasticity’ and five tips on how to maintain it as we get older

Humans only truly become adults in their 30s, with the notion of becoming a grown-up aged 18 becoming increasingly incorrect, brain experts say.

Professor Anthony Hannan, head of neural plasticity at the Florey Institute, told Ross and John he thinks that concept is well and truly outdated.

“A lot of this is based on these new brain imaging techniques, essentially you can see the structural changes in parts of the brain particularly prefrontal-cortex up the front which is involved in decision-making and higher thought processes, that part is still maturing right into the 20s,” he said.

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Ross said, he assumed we want more plasticity in our brains, but how do we maintain that?

Neural plasticity refers to the capacity of the nervous system to modify itself, functionally and structurally, in response to experience and injury.

Dr Hannan says these are the five things he advises to maintain our neuroplasticity in the brain:

Mental stimulation

Physical activity

Healthy diet

A good night’s sleep

Managing chronic stress