Our brains have an incredible ability to adapt, and a new study shows structural changes in the brain are associated with a transfer of skills to compensate for injuries.

Researchers looked at ten people with injuries to their right arm requiring a sling for at least two weeks.

During the healing process, the left brain shrunk while the amount of gray and white matter in the right side increased, compensating for the injured side and transferring motor skills to the healthy hand.

"These results are especially interesting for rehabilitation therapy for people who've had strokes or other issues," said study author Nicolas Langer, MSc, with the University of Zurich in Switzerland said in statement on Monday. "One type of therapy restrains the unaffected, or "good," arm to strengthen the affected arm and help the brain learn new pathways. This study shows that there are both positive and negative effects of this type of treatment."

The study is published in the January 17, 2012, print issue of Neurology.