This is a wonderful book. If you or loved one or a friend have ever suffered from head injuries or head trauma, as I have, then you will want to read The Brain That Changes Itself by Dr. Norman Doidge.
Norman Doidge, M.D., a psychiatrist and researcher, set out to investigate neuroplasticity and met both the brilliant scientists championing it and the people whose lives they’ve transformed.
The Brain That Changes Itself is a riveting collection of case histories detailing the astonishing progress of people whose conditions had long been dismissed as hopeless. We see a woman born with half a brain that rewired itself to work as a whole, a woman labeled retarded who cured her deficits with brain exercises and now cures those of others, blind people learning to see, learning disorders cured, IQs raised, aging brains rejuvenated, painful phantom limbs erased, stroke patients recovering their faculties, children with cerebral palsy learning to move more gracefully, entrenched depression and anxiety disappearing, and lifelong character traits altered.
“You don’t have to be a brain surgeon to read it — just a person with a curious mind.” — Globe & Mail
Doidge takes us into terrain that might seem fantastic. We learn that our thoughts can switch our genes on and off, altering our brain anatomy. Scientists have developed machines that can follow these physical changes in order to read people’s thoughts, allowing the paralyzed to control computers and electronics just by thinking. We learn how people of average intelligence can, with brain exercises, improve their cognition and perception in order to become savant calculators, develop muscle strength, or learn to play a musical instrument, simply by imagining doing so.
“Only a few decades ago, scientists considered the brain to be fixed or ‘hardwired’ and considered most forms of brain damage, therefore, to be incurable. Dr. Doidge, an eminent psychiatrist and researcher, was struck by how his patients’ own transformations belied this and set out to explore the new science of neuroplasticity by interviewing both scientific pioneers in neuroscience, and patients who have benefited from neuro-rehabilitation. Here he describes in fascinating personal narratives how the brain, far from being fixed, has remarkable powers of changing its own structure and compensating for even the most challenging neurological conditions. Doidge’s book is a remarkable and hopeful portrait of the endless adaptability of the human brain.”
— Oliver Sacks
Using personal stories from the heart of this neuroplasticity revolution, Dr. Doidge explores the profound implications of the changing brain for understanding the mysteries of love, sexual attraction, taste, culture and education in an immensely moving, inspiring book that will permanently alter the way we look at human possibility and human nature.
Lucid and absolutely fascinating…engaging, educational and riveting. It satisfies, in equal measure, the mind and the heart. Doidge is able to explain current research in neuroscience with clarity and thoroughness. He presents the ordeals of the patients about whom he writes- -people born with parts of their brains missing, people with learning disabilities, people recovering from strokes- -with grace and vividness. In the best medical narratives — and the works of Doidge… join that fraternity — the narrow bridge between body and soul is traversed with courage and eloquence.
— Chicago Tribune
The Brain That Changes Itself is available on Amazon.