The Ghost in My Brain: How a Concussion Stole My Life and How the New Science of Brain Plasticity Helped Me Get It Back

Clark Elliott. Viking, $27.95 (336p) ISBN 978-0-525-42656-1
Elliott, an associate professor of artificial intelligence at DePaul University, delivers a harrowing account of a 13-year-long recovery from a disabling concussion that changed his life, and celebrates the science that came to his rescue. The journey of recovery began more than two years after an auto accident, but Elliott’s “sense of isolation” grew early on, he writes, when an emergency room doctor declared that “everything looks fine” even though he was barely functional. Elliott couldn’t move without someone commanding him, had difficulty making simple choices, and was unable to do more than one thing at a time. “I grew quite crafty about avoiding cognitive and sensory activities that drained my batteries,” he writes. The real recovery started through his partnership with Donalee Markus, a cognitive specialist, and Deborah Zelinsky, an optometrist who focuses on neuro-optometric rehabilitation. Building on recent research into brain plasticity, the doctors taught Elliott mental “exercises” and the use of a special set of corrective lenses he calls “brain glasses” to regain cognitive functioning. In time, he rediscovered “the me that could think, and feel,” declaring: “I was, at last, and once again, human.” Elliott’s transformative tale will be invaluable for patients with traumatic brain injury, families, and caregivers. (June)
Reviewed on: 04/13/2015
Release date: 06/02/2015
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Paperback - 336 pages - 978-0-14-310829-0
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