The Brain That Changes Itself : Stories of Personal Triumph from the Frontiers of Brain Science
An astonishing new science called neuroplasticity is overthrowing the centuries-old notion that the human brain is immutable. Psychiatrist and psychoanalyst, Norman Doidge, M.D., traveled the country to meet both the brilliant scientists championing neuroplasticity and the people whose lives they've transformed people whose mental limitations or brain damage were seen as unalterable. We see a woman born with half a brain that rewired itself to work as a whole, blind people who learn to see, learning disorders cured, IQs raised, aging brains rejuvenated, stroke patients learning to speak, children with cerebral palsy learning to move with more grace, depression and anxiety disorders successfully treated, and lifelong character traits changed. Using these marvelous stories to probe mysteries of the body, emotion, love, sex, culture, and education, Dr. Doidge has written an immensely moving, inspiring book that will permanently alter the way we look at our brains, human nature, and human potential.
For years the doctrine of neuroscientists has been that the brain is a machine: break a part and you lose that function permanently. But more and more evidence is turning up to show that the brain can rewire itself, even in the face of catastrophic trauma: essentially, the functions of the brain can be strengthened just like a weak muscle. Scientists have taught a woman with damaged inner ears, who for five years had had "a sense of perpetual falling," to regain her sense of balance with a sensor on her tongue, and a stroke victim to recover the ability to walk although 97% of the nerves from the cerebral cortex to the spine were destroyed. With detailed case studies reminiscent of Oliver Sachs, combined with extensive interviews with lead researchers, Doidge, a research psychiatrist and psychoanalyst at Columbia and the University of Toronto, slowly turns everything we thought we knew about the brain upside down. He is, perhaps, overenthusiastic about the possibilities, believing that this new science can fix every neurological problem, from learning disabilities to blindness. But Doidge writes interestingly and engagingly about some of the least understood marvels of the brain. (Mar. 19) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information. -- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY.
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1 . Important book, and a great read
Posted April 08, 2009 by DSC , San Antonio, TXDoidge is a researcher and psychiatrist who is shaking up the worlds of brain science and medicine. This book solidifies the revolutionary idea that our brains are not fixed at birth but rather can change (for the better or worse) throughout our lives. Each chapter combines a story about a real person affected by an abnormality in the brain with research on treatments to overcome the problem -- treatments that take advantage of the brain's plasticity.
Doidge is not only a talented researcher and MD, he is also a gifted writer. After reading this book, you will probably be telling other people that they need to read it.
March 13, 2007
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