The Brain That Changes Itself

The Brain That Changes Itself

Stories of Personal Triumph From the Frontiers of Brain Science

Book - 2008
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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 rersearcher Norman Doidge, M.D., 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 labeled 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.
Publisher: Melbourne, Vic. : 2008. Scribe,
ISBN: 9781921372742
Branch Call Number: ANF 612.8 DOID
Characteristics: xvi, 423 p. ; 24 cm


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Jan 21, 2016

Purchased a used copy. Reading as a follow up to his 2nd book to better understand from a self-help standpoint.

Aug 30, 2015

Good Book; Enjoyed it.
Neuroplasticity is real.

WVMLStaffPicks Feb 01, 2015

Reassuring and hopeful, this book shows us that our brain is not a machine; it can heal itself, rewire itself, and with practice we can achieve results that had been thought impossible only a few years ago. Neuroplasticity is the promising ability of our brain to compensate for damaged areas or even to improve what we've got. Doidge's case studies and interviews with neuroscientists give us an exciting look into this new field.

KCLSRecommends Oct 10, 2014

The brain really CAN change: It is a plastic, living organ that can actually change its own structure and function, even into old age. This revolutionary discovery, called neuroplasticity, promises to overthrow the centuries-old notion that the brain is fixed and unchanging.

Interesting introduction to a topic that is still considered fringy by some. Turns some long cherished beliefs about the limits of neural development and recovery after illness or injury on their head. New neurons do indeed form, though not in quite the same number and manner as in embryonic development. Existing neurons can indeed heal and re-wire themselves, though perhaps not quite as good as new. The science is in. Lots of questions remain of course, but that's science for you.

The book is a bit tiresome in the hero-worship and description of trials and tribulations of researchers, clinicians and those who have had "miraculous" recoveries. Adulation aside though, it brings alive some otherwise rather dry research findings and makes you wonder what might be the next big discovery.

HUGE references section for those who might want to base a term paper on this book. Almost as easy as Google. If you do, make sure to credit your sources . . .

Sep 29, 2013

Well-written and fascinating. My favorite combination :)

Feb 12, 2013

I find this book incredibly inspiring.

Doidge is engaging, interesting, and very human - the subject matter may be scientific, but this is definitely not a dry read. In each chapter, Doidge weaves a story that colorfully illustrates the potential of the human brain to heal and improve itself.

Hooray for an author who looks past out-dated scientific dogma and really looks at what the brain can do - which is a lot.

This is honestly one of my favorite books of all time. Besides recommending it to nearly every friend and family member, I have even recommended it to strangers I've met on the bus - the book is just that memorable. :-)

Aug 24, 2012

Accessible book on brain plasticity; interesting stories. Some of the animal testing is disturbing but the information gained was fascinating. Fed my need for science-nerd content! I have some limited experience with FastForWord so I do wonder about the studies/reliability/validity etc. That being said, the individual case studies made for a good read.

May 26, 2012

Be prepared to read about animal testing.

Apr 14, 2012


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Nov 04, 2009

While we have yet to understand exactly how thoughts actually change brain structure, it is now clear that they do, and the firm line that Descartes drew between mind and brain is increasingly a dotted line.

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