Evidence of Mental Plasticity in Humans

Part of the The Springer Series on Human Exceptionality book series (SSHE)


We have seen evidence of a recent and rapid progressive change in the shape of the human skull – clear and unambiguous evidence of physical plasticity. We have also seen evidence of rapid secular changes in brain volume; change that is far too rapid for evolution to account for and that is consistent with an environmental influence. Insofar as it is possible to infer cause and effect after the fact, physical plasticity is a result of what we call the “medical environment.” This novel concept of the environment subsumes insufficient nutrition, vitamin or nutrient deficiencies, inadequate medical care, unsatisfactory living conditions, environmental pollution, preventable parasites, treatable illnesses, and perhaps even hard physical labor during childhood. Yet so far we have only seen evidence that lead contamination and Giardia infection have an impact on cognition. To make a more compelling case for the medical environment, we must investigate whether other environmental features can also have an effect on cognition. We must carefully weigh the evidence suggesting that the medical environment affects human cognition because a great deal is at stake. Unambiguous evidence that the medical environment harms our children would demand action on our part; ethically, we cannot watch the future of any child tarnished. However, action without evidence is not advisable, since it easily results in resentment and a societal backlash. If social policy is not built upon credible science and careful reasoning, it is a flimsy edifice indeed, vulnerable to a changing economy or shifting priorities.


Cognitive Impairment Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder Iron Deficiency Ptsd Symptom Foster Care 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Medical Communications Consultants, LLCChapel HillUSA

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