Epilepsy drug turns out to help adults acquire perfect pitch and learn language like kids
A team of researchers from across the globe believe they have discovered a means of re-opening “critical periods” in brain development, allowing adults to acquire abilities — such as perfect pitch or fluency in language — that could previously only be acquired early in life.
According to the study in Frontiers in Systems Neuroscience, the mood-stabilizing drug valproate allows the adult brain to absorb new information as effortlessly as it did during critical windows in childhood.
A critical period is “a fixed window of time, usually early in an organism’s lifespan, during which experience has lasting effects on the development of brain function and behavior.” They are, for example, what allows children to enter into language without any formal training in grammar or vocabulary.
The researchers postulated that because....