“Recent findings and the revised concepts of how adaptive and maladaptive plasticity occur in the adult human brain after injury clearly demonstrate that the adult Central Nervous System is capable of much more dynamic change in function and structure than had been thought over the last few decades of research in this area.” D.G. Stein, Concepts of CNS plasticity and their implications for understanding recovery after brain damage (2006).
Dr Adriana Galvan, of the UCLA Brain Research Institute, states that while prediction error learning (learning by trial and error) is a form of environmental adaptation across development, neural plasticity that arises from it differs. In the young infant, this plasticity will influence the basic architecture of the neural system (i.e. how the brain is going to be organized) while in the adult, this plasticity is modifying the existing architecture of the brain (i.e. reorganizing and modifying but not laying the groundwork). This dichotomy is analogous to building a house, where building a brand new house represents developmental plasticity and a house remodel represents plasticity in the mature system. The tools and mechanisms are identical, but the environment in which the change is occurring is vastly different.
Stages of normal development still applicable to traumatic brain injury therapy. Attempts to redevelop the brain following traumatic brain injury should, wherever possible, adhere to the brain's original design principles. The master plan does not get destroyed by the brain injury.