The Brain That Changes Itself is a highly readable book with many accounts of how people have changed their brains. While science and scientists were reluctant to accept the idea of neuroplasticity, neuroplasticity is now dictating how stroke patients, learning disabled students, autistic children, and those suffering from disorders like cerebral palsy are being treated and rehabilitated.
These stories of personal triumph from the frontiers of brain science are not just about stroke patients making unprecedented recoveries, or autistic children who are now able to make eye contact; these stories are about a diverse group of people who are living proof of neuroplasticity and the amazing abilities of the mind to rewire itself to accomplish what was once thought impossible.
Each chapter reviews part of the history of neuroplasticity and how it became accepted within the scientific community before moving on to a specific example of how neuroplasticity positively changed someone’s life even if it means doing so with brain pills. The stories range from the heartwrenching tale of a child with cerebral palsy learning how to walk and to use his right hand to swing a bat so he can join Little League, to the mundane story of a man suffering from an addiction to pornography which inhibits his relationships with women. However, what the stories all share is the triumph of the mind through neuroplasticity.
The proof of neuroplasticity may instigate an educational revolution. Students who were previously dismissed as too stupid or too slow may actually be suffering from a neurological disorder that can be mitigated through neuroplastic cognitive therapies, like Fast ForWord, allowing the brain to be remapped.
The same idea of remapping is being used in constraint-induced (CI) therapy, beginning a revolution in physical therapy and rehabilitation. These therapies aren’t just being used in people who have recently become paralyzed; they are also being successfully used with patients that have had strokes eight years in the past, people who were told that there was no hope of recovery. With the advent of support for neuroplasticity, coupled with recent advances in science and technology, stroke victims are able to make astonishing recoveries.
Although The Brain That Changes Itself is firmly rooted in science, its passages are easy to read because of the clear and plain English explanations of all scientific terms used as well as the individual narrative structure each chapter contains.
This book is great reading for those considering a career in science and wondering what the possibilities are, those interested in psychotherapy and exploring why humans behave the way we do, or those who know someone suffering from a neurological condition and are looking for personal accounts of alternative treatments.
This book is not recommended for those are sensitive to animal testing as there are detailed, but brief, accounts of the neuroplasticity research done on animals.