A mood-stabilising drug [commonly used for epilepsy] can help you achieve perfect pitch – the ability to identify any note you hear without inferring it from a reference note.
Since this is a skill that is usually acquired only early in life, the discovery is the first evidence that it may be possible to revert the human brain to a childlike state, enabling us to treat disorders and unlock skills that are difficult, if not impossible, to acquire beyond a certain age.
From bilingualism to sporting prowess, many abilities rely on neural circuits that are laid down by our early experiences. Until the age of 7 or so, the brain goes through several “critical periods” during which it can be radically changed by the environment.
Needless to say, there are a lot of cautions that need to applied to this line of research – if a plastic brain was always a good adaptation, it would never change, when in fact it does. Therefore, one of the key goals moving forward is better understanding not only the mechanisms, but the reasons and consequences of the shut-down in critical periods.
Now, once we understand it better, then hell yes, this could be a fantastic way to learn new languages, recover from traumatic stresses, and many other uses.