The Brain’s Way of Healing: Remarkable Discoveries and Recoveries from the Frontiers of Neuroplasticity

Norman Doidge, M.D. Viking, $29.95 (432p) ISBN 978-0-670-02550-3
Doidge (The Brain That Changes Itself) explores the idea of “using the body to treat the brain” by surveying specialists and patients who’ve personally experienced the power of neuroplasticity—the brain’s ability to reorganize itself and heal in cases of injury or deprivation. He offers personal accounts: a psychiatrist who used his own leg fracture to map how the brain processes pain, discovering that visualizing those areas helped beat his chronic pain; a Parkinson’s patient who rigorously walks to control his debilitating symptoms; and a severely dyslexic boy whose communication, among other mental activities, miraculously improved after aural stimulation. Doidge also explores the medical breakthroughs concerning electric stimulation, such as the discovery of how to activate the tongue’s sensory receptors to send “‘spikes’ to balance neurons” throughout the brain (greatly aiding Parkinson’s, stroke, and multiple sclerosis patients) and the use of stimulation in a device coined the “electronic ear” that has been fundamental in listening therapy to help children with autism. Each new therapy gives reason for hope, but, Doidge asserts, the “true marvel is less the techniques themselves than the way that... the brain has evolved neuroplastic abilities and a mind that can direct its own unique restorative process of growth.” (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 11/03/2014
Release date: 01/27/2015
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 456 pages - 978-957-32-7786-6
Paperback - 448 pages - 978-0-14-312837-3
Compact Disc - 12 pages - 978-1-61176-382-9
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Audio book sample courtesy of Penguin Random House Audio
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