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The Brain That Changes Itself
Cover of The Brain That Changes Itself
The Brain That Changes Itself
Stories of Personal Triumph from the Frontiers of Brain Science
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What is neuroplasticity? Is it possible to change your brain? Norman Doidge's inspiring guide to the new brain science explains all of this and more
An astonishing new science called neuroplasticity is overthrowing the centuries-old notion that the human brain is immutable, and proving that it is, in fact, possible to change your brain. Psychoanalyst, Norman Doidge, M.D., traveled the country to meet both the brilliant scientists championing neuroplasticity, its healing powers, and the people whose lives they've transformed—people whose mental limitations, brain damage or brain trauma 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.


From the Trade Paperback edition.

What is neuroplasticity? Is it possible to change your brain? Norman Doidge's inspiring guide to the new brain science explains all of this and more
An astonishing new science called neuroplasticity is overthrowing the centuries-old notion that the human brain is immutable, and proving that it is, in fact, possible to change your brain. Psychoanalyst, Norman Doidge, M.D., traveled the country to meet both the brilliant scientists championing neuroplasticity, its healing powers, and the people whose lives they've transformed—people whose mental limitations, brain damage or brain trauma 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.


From the Trade Paperback edition.
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    PENGUIN BOOKS

    THE BRAIN THAT CHANGES ITSELF

    Norman Doidge, M.D., is a psychiatrist, psychoanalyst, and researcher on the faculty at the Columbia University Center for Psychoanalytic Training and Research in New York and the University of Toronto's department of psychiatry, as well as an author, essayist, and poet. He is a four-time recipient of Canada's National Magazine Gold Award. He divides his time between Toronto and New York.

    A Slate Pick for a Best Book of the Year

    A Globe & Mail Best Book of the Year

    Praise for The Brain That Changes Itself

    "Doidge's book is a remarkable and hopeful portrait of the endless adaptability of the human brain. . . . 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 neurorehabilitation. 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."

    —Oliver Sacks

    "In bookstores, the science aisle generally lies well away from the self-help section, with hard reality on one set of shelves and wishful thinking on the other. But Norman Doidge's fascinating synopsis of the current revolution in neuroscience straddles this gap: the age-old distinction between the brain and the mind is crumbling fast as the power of positive thinking finally gains scientific credibility. Mind-bending, miracle-working, reality-busting stuff, with implications . . . not only for individual patients with neurologic disease but for all human beings, not to mention human culture, human learning and human history."

    The New York Times

    "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

    "Readers will want to read entire sections aloud and pass the book on to someone who can benefit from it. [Doidge] links scientific experimentation with personal triumph in a way that inspires awe for the brain, and for these scientists' faith in its capacity."

    The Washington Post

    "Doidge tells one spellbinding story after another as he travels the globe interviewing the scientists and their subjects who are on the cutting edge of a new age. Each story is interwoven with the latest in brain science, told in a manner that is both simple and compelling. It may be hard to imagine that a book so rich in science can also be a page-turner, but this one is hard to set down."

    —Jeff Zimman, Posit Science, e-newsletter

    "It takes a rare talent to explain science to the rest of us. Oliver Sacks is a master at this. So was the late Stephen Jay Gould. And now there is Norman Doidge. A terrific book. You don't...

Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    December 4, 2006
    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.

  • Library Journal

    February 15, 2007
    The newest buzzword in brain science seems to be "neuroplasticity"the idea that the adult brain is capable of positive change. For decades, scientists and doctors thought little could be done for victims of strokes and accidents because brain cells in adults were locked into specific functions and didn't change or grow. Doidge (psychoanalysis, Columbia Univ. Psychoanalytic Ctr.) tells the story of the scientists whose work has proven that neuroplasticity is, in fact, possible, with examples of patients suffering from strokes, paralysis, obsessive-compulsive disorder, blindness, learning disabilities, and other neurological and psychiatric problems who have been helped. Sharon Begley covers the same ground in her upcoming "Train Your Mind, Change Your Brain: How a New Science Reveals Our Extraordinary Potential To Transform Ourselves", but Begley actually demonstrates how the topic is important to the average person. With stories of those whose lives have been saved or improved through training based on neuroplastic theories, Doidge's book is much more engaging for lay readers. Recommended for most libraries.Mary Ann Hughes, Neill P.L., Pullman, WA

    Copyright 2007 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

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The Brain That Changes Itself
The Brain That Changes Itself
Stories of Personal Triumph from the Frontiers of Brain Science
Norman Doidge
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