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OCTOBER 10, 2012
A Book We Love: The Brain That Changes Itself
Author Norman Doidge, MD, is a psychiatrist and researcher who is on the faculty of the University of Toronto and also on the Research faculty of Columbia University. Dr. Doidge has written numerous articles for publications as diverse as research journals and the Wall Street Journal, and he has also appeared on PBS.
 
Dr. Doidge’s well-written and well-researched book, The Brain That Changes Itself: Stories of Personal Triumph from the Frontiers of Brain Science, explores brainmounting evidence the brain has the capacity to change its structure and function through-out life. The discovery, labeled “neuroplasticity,” refutes the long-held belief in an unchanging brain that is incapable of recovery from injury.
 
Instead, the brain has considerable plasticity, and is able to retrain itself given the right opportunities. The book details case histories of people who have suffered brain damage or who have a congenital brain limitation and their progress in overcoming their disabilities.
 
Discoveries featured in The Brain That Changes Itself offer hope for conditions previously thought hopeless. Mental retardation, learning disorders, the aging brain, stroke, blindness and cerebral palsy are all discussed, along with new treatments and therapies.
 
The book offers new insight into how the resilient, healthy brain learns. Examples are cited of people with average intelligence who use brain exercises to improve their cognition and perception, develop muscle strength, or learn to play a musical instrument.
 
The book also covers a wide range of character traits and behaviors -- worrying, depression, sex, love and enculturation to name a few – and the ways people cope and change.
 
Readers will find this book a fascinating peek into the workings of the human brain.

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