The Brain That Changes Itself

ebook stories of personal triumph from the frontiers of brain science

By Norman Doidge

cover image of The Brain That Changes Itself

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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 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.

The Brain That Changes Itself