Enrich the environment to empower the brain

Trends Neurosci. 2009 Apr;32(4):233-9. doi: 10.1016/j.tins.2008.12.004. Epub 2009 Mar 4.


Environmental enrichment (EE) has long been exploited to investigate the influence of the environment on brain structure and function. Robust morphological and functional effects elicited by EE at the neuronal level have been reported to be accompanied by improvements in cognitive performance. Recently, EE has been shown to accelerate the development of the visual system and to enhance visual-cortex plasticity in adulthood. These new findings highlight the potential of EE as a promising non-invasive strategy to ameliorate deficits in the maturation of the nervous system and to promote recovery of normal sensory functions in pathological conditions affecting the adult brain.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain / cytology
  • Brain / physiology*
  • Environment*
  • Humans
  • Neurons / physiology
  • Visual Pathways / growth & development