Leave it to those Canadians. My Dad being from Montreal, my aunt teaching at McGill University, my niece studying at McGill, my appendix left at Jewish General Hospital in Montreal when I was 15,  and family still in Montreal always has me interested in anything Canadian.  

The latest development out of McGill University is a modification of the important Hebbian Theory summarized as “Cells that fire together, wire together. Cells that fire out of sync, lose their link.” Neighbor nerves which fire at the same time will cooperatively form strong, stable connections onto its partner cells.  But nerve cells that fire out of synchrony with its neighbors will end up destabilizing and withdrawing its connections to the others.

The new news  is the discovery that this asynchronous firing not only caused brain cells to lose their ability to make other cells fire, but also caused them to dramatically increase their regeneration  of new branches in search of better matched partners.

We used to think that nerves were unable to regenerate but this study shows there is a 60% increase in axon branches that are exploring the environment looking to strengthen their connections. These studies also show that this process is not long-lived.

Why are the Canadians so involved in this process? Astoundingly, nearly one out of every 100 Canadians suffers from autism, schizophrenia and other neurodevelopmental disorders. It is estimated to cost the Canadian economy over $10 billion annually in caring for these patients, not to mention the devastating impact on the patients and their families.

Way to go Canada! Put your money where your mouth is!!