The Brain that Changes Itself: stories of personal triumph from the frontiers of brain science

Norman Doidge

The Brain that Changes Itself: stories of personal triumph from the frontiers of brain science
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The Brain that Changes Itself: stories of personal triumph from the frontiers of brain science

Norman Doidge

‘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

An 'essential primer for anyone who wants to better understand their own brains and the considerable advances in neuroscience of the past two decades.’ Gordon Farrer (Age)

An astonishing new scientific discovery called neuroplasticity is overthrowing the centuries-old notion that the adult human brain is fixed and unchanging. It is, instead, able to change its own structure and function, even into old age.

Psychiatrist and researcher Norman Doidge, MD, travelled around the United States to meet the brilliant scientists championing neuroplasticity, and the people whose lives they’ve transformed - people whose mental limitations or brain damage were previously seen as unalterable, and 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 labelled retarded who cured her deficits with brain exercises and now cures those of others; blind people who learn to see; learning disorders cured; IQs raised; ageing brains rejuvenated; stroke patients recovering their faculties; children with cerebral palsy learning to move more gracefully; entrenched depression and anxiety disappearing; and lifelong character traits changed.

Doidge takes us onto terrain that might seem fantastic. We learn that our thoughts can switch our genes on and off, altering our brain anatomy. We learn how people of average intelligence can, with brain exercises, improve their cognition and perception, develop muscle strength, or learn to play a musical instrument - simply by imagining doing so.

Using personal stories from the heart of this neuroplasticity revolution, 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.

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