Narrator: This is Science Today. A brain at any
age benefits from enrichment. Marian Diamond, a professor
and brain researcher at the University of California,
Berkeley, says that's because dendrites - the branches
on nerve cells - flourish with stimulation.
Diamond: When we stimulate a nerve cell, the
branches grow just like the fingers unwinding from
a folded hand and when we cut out the input to that
nerve cell, you lose those branches.
Narrator: Diamond has studied the brains of
rats for over 30 years and although the young benefit
the most, rats of all ages grow these new branches
Diamond: Providing they were healthy, had good
diets, had clean conditions and so forth and a minimum
of stress as far as we know, we could stimulate the
branches of the nerve cells which receive the stimuli
that are coming in. These are the receptive surface,
so the more branches that you have, the more options
the nerve cell can take.
Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.