Makin stresses that more evidence is needed before we completely rework our ideas of how the brain is structured. In particular, she suggests looking at the brains of children as they learn certain functions, but argues further research could prove highly valuable. “If we, as neuroscientists, could harness this process, we could provide a really powerful tool to better healthcare and society,” she said, citing examples such as controlling prosthetic arms.
The discovery of just how flexible the brain can be, known as neuro-plasticity, has been one of the big scientific developments of recent decades, as it has been shown that brain parts can take on new roles to compensate for damage. Nevertheless, Makin's discovery could take that plasticity to a new level.