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Juggling Can Change Your Brain in a Week

 by Bennett Gordon

Tags: science, juggling, exercise, brain science,

Learning to juggle can have measurable effects on a person’s brain in just seven days, according to new research published in the PLoS One science journal. The study called for 20 volunteers to learn 3-ball cascade juggling, and hooked them up to a brain scan to watch for changes in gray matter. After just 7 days of training, the test subjects’ gray matter in the occipito-temporal cortex had changed. According to the study’s authors, “[n]either performance nor exercise alone could explain these changes.”

The blog Mind Hacks reports that the study’s authors were careful not to specify whether the changes were caused by more neurons, or whether existing neurons had grown in size. It was, however, “an interesting example of rapid 'neuroplasticity', the ability of the brain to adapt structurally to new situations.”