Matthew St-germain's Reviews > The Brain That Changes Itself: Stories of Personal Triumph from the Frontiers of Brain Science

The Brain That Changes Itself by Norman Doidge
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M_50x66
's review
Dec 02, 10

Read in May, 2010

Absolutely fantastic. Doidge is at the forefront of neuroscience, and presents information that for the lay reader might just be overwhelming. Brain plasticity is the book's focus and the mantra "use it or lose it/use it to improve it" is found throughout the book. From Bach-y-Rita's electric spoon treatment or his father's incredible recovery from a stroke, to Edward Taub's incredible stroke therapy, to the punk genius MD/PHD V.S. Ramachandran and his mirror box solution to phantom limb pain, you will walk away from this book blown away by the advances in our understanding of the brain. Probably the single most revelatory moment is the experiment of the monkey who is totally immobilized, and his cognitive map for his right arm has been totally mapped, and though an computer interface connected to the cognitive map, a computer program learns which neurons are firing that end up in certain movements of the arm. After enough training, the monkey can control a mechanized arm, over the Internet in Japan, with just his brain. The monkey thinks it, the mechanized arm does the exact movement. The possibilities for quadriplegics and ALS suffers are staggering. Mind-blowing.
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