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Specifically I am looking at reopening of the critical period of plasticity.

Modern neuroscience has started to unlock the secret of neuroplasticity.

A common experimental setup is with mice. They have a critical period between days 20 and 32 when they learn binocular vision. And if you cover one eye during this period, they never learn to use it properly. Covering the eye even for extended periods outside of this window has no long term effect.

Scientists can then test out various plasticity hypotheses. And they had indeed found several mechanisms that can restore binocular vision to adult mice.

You can find a list towards the bottom of this paper: Autism -- A 'Critical Period' disorder?

  • enzymatic degradation of PNNs
  • SSRI
  • HDAC inhibitors (which are suggested to knock out Nogo-66 receptor)
  • AcetylCholineSterase inhibitors

It is suggested that there is an underlying pattern of excitation/inhibition (E/I) balance that all of these 4 techniques perturb.

Where can I read about this E/I balance in detail? The Wikipedia page on NeuroPlasticity (here) appears to be a dead-end.

I am looking for an overview, rather than technical scientific papers that explore a particular aspect, already assuming familiarity with the big picture.

How to get the big picture?

EDIT: T K Hensch seems to be a world leader in this research, and his papers answering my questions, for example http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24439367

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  • $\begingroup$ a bit strange you call the long wikipedia article with many related links a "dead end". there are probably many different biological mechanisms for neuroplasticity. note that new synaptic changes/ growth are a part of the puzzle. see also growth cone $\endgroup$ – vzn Aug 6 '14 at 15:02
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This is a good first source which suggests further references:

http://www.scholarpedia.org/article/Balance_of_excitation_and_inhibition

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