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The Brain That Changes Itself
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About the Author

Norman Doidge, M.D., is a psychiatrist, psychoanalyst, and New York Times bestselling author. He is on the Research Faculty at Columbia University's Center for Psychoanalytic Training and Research, in New York, and on the faculty at the University of Toronto's Department of Psychiatry. He and his work have been profiled and cited in, among others, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Newsweek, International Herald Tribune, The Washington Post, Scientific American Mind, Melbourne Age, The Guardian, The Harvard Review of Psychiatry, Psychology Today, O The Oprah Magazine, and the National Review.

Reviews

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. (Mar. 19) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

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 Reed Business Information.

"The power of positive thinking finally gains scientific credibility. Mind-bending, miracle-making, reality-busting stuff...with implications for all human beings, not to mention human culture, human learning and human history."
-The New York Times

"Brilliant...Doidge has identified a tidal shift in basic science...The implications are monumental."
-The London Times "Fascinating. Doidge's book is a remarkable and hopeful portrait of the endless adaptability of the human brain."
-Oliver Sacks, MD "Two years ago, when the journal Cerebrum at the Dana Foundation in the US updated its list of great books about the brain for the general reader, it found there were already 30,000 brain-related books in English. Aided by scientific advisers and readers, it produced a new list - with The Brain That Changes Itself at No. 1."
-The Melbourne Age "Lucid and absolutely fascinating. It satisfies in equal measure the mind and heart."
-The Chicago Tribune "Doidge turns everything we thought we knew about the brain upside down."
-Publisher's Weekly "Brilliant...This book is a wonderful and engaging way or re-imagining what kind of creatures we are."
-Jeanette Winterson, novelist, Order of the British Empire, Guardian, Best Book of 2008 "Superb. Brilliant. I devoured it."
-V.S. Ramachandran, MD, PHD, Director of the Center for Brain and Cognition, Univeristy of California, San Diego, Author of Phantoms of the Brain "Doidge... is a master ... at explaining science to the rest of us. Doidge is the best possible guide. You don't have to be a brain surgeon to read it, just curious about your brain. Buy this book. Your brain will thank you."
-The Globe and Mail "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"
-Washington Post
"Doidge tells one spell-binding story after another as he travels the globe interviewing the scientists and their subjects who are on the cutting edge of a new age. 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 "The most readable and best general treatment of this subject to date."
- Michael M. Merzenich, Ph.D., Keck Center for Integrative Neurosciences University of California at San Francisco "A riveting, essential book... These stories are most emotionally satisfying. Doidge addresses how cultural influences literally "shape" our brain. [And]....our response to the world around us is not only a social or psychological phenomenon, but often a lasting neurological process."
-- Montreal Gazette, Liam Durcan, MD, Neurologist & Novelist "A hymn to life."
-Panorama Italy "The Brain That Changes Itself...is without question the most important book of the year, and maybe the most important book we have ever read."
-Kiril Sokoloff, 13D Research Inc "This books is like discovering that the earth isn't flat."
-Gretel Killeen, Sun Herald, "The Books That Changed Me" "A rich banquet of brain-mind plasticity, communicated in a brilliantly clear writing style."
-Jaak Panksepp, Ph.D., Head, Affective Neuroscience Research, Falk Center for Molecular Therapeutics, Northwestern University; "A masterfully guided tour through the burgeoning field of neuroplasticity research."
- Discover Magazine "Norman Doidge has shown that what and how we think can change our brains. He has illuminated the foundations of psychological healing."
- Charles Hanly, Ph.D.President, International Psychoanalytical Association "Astonishing. This book will inevitably draw comparisons to the work of Oliver Sacks. Doidge has a prodigious gift for rendering the highly technical highly readable. It's hard to imagine a more exciting topic--or a better introduction to it."
- Kitchener Waterloo Record "Perfect for fans of Oliver Sacks"
-Quill & Quire "Beautifully written and brings life and clarity to a variety of neuropsychiatric problems that affect children and adults... It reads a bit like a science detective story and -you do not need a Ph.D. to benefit from the wisdom imparted here."
- Barbara Milrod, M.D. Psychiatry, Weill Medical College, Cornell University, New York "A panoramic examination of plasticity's profound implications. "
-Toronto Daily Star "An eloquently written book about the boundless potential of the human brain.
- The Jewish Week "Norman Doidge has written a fascinating, highly readable account of the new brain science."
-John Cornwell, Literary Review, England "You really should read this book... this remarkable work will lead us to see ourselves in a new light."
-Mail on Sunday, England "An 'essential primer' for anyone who wants to better understand their own brains and the considerable advances in neuroscience of the past two decades."
-Melbourne Age "A book that everybody should read... it is nothing short of miraculous. Get it!"
-Yoko Ono, Yoko Reads Book Recommendations "Fascinating ... Doidge has accomplished a rare feat. He has written a book that accurately conveys cutting-edge scientific discoveries while simultaneously engaging both scientific and popular audiences."
-Neuro-Psychoanalysis "A remarkable book ... a highly readable exploration of a branch of science that has the potential to change all our lives."
-Hobart Mercury "Why isn't this book on the top of the bestseller list of all time? The recognition that the brain in plastic and can actually change itself with exercise and understanding is a huge leap in the history or mankind, far greater than landing on the moon."
- Jane S. Hall, International Psychoanalysis "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. Doidge's book is a remarkable and hopeful portrait of the endless adaptability of the human brain."
- Oliver Sack, MD, author of The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat

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