The Brain That Changes Itself: stories of personal triumph from the frontiers of brain science

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Scribe Publications Pty Limited, Mar 3, 2008 - Science - 448 pages
22 Reviews

An astonishing new scientific discovery called neuroplasticity is overthrowing the centuries-old notion that the adult human brain is fixed and unchanging. It is, instead, able to change its own structure and function, even into old age.

Psychiatrist and researcher Norman Doidge, MD, travelled around the United States to meet the brilliant scientists championing neuroplasticity, and the people whose lives they’ve transformed — people whose mental limitations or brain damage were previously seen as unalterable, and whose conditions had long been dismissed as hopeless.

We see a woman born with half a brain that rewired itself to work as a whole; a woman labelled retarded who cured her deficits with brain exercises and now cures those of others; blind people who learn to see; learning disorders cured; IQs raised; ageing brains rejuvenated; stroke patients recovering their faculties; children with cerebral palsy learning to move more gracefully; entrenched depression and anxiety disappearing; and lifelong character traits changed.

Doidge takes us onto terrain that might seem fantastic. We learn that our thoughts can switch our genes on and off, altering our brain anatomy. We learn how people of average intelligence can, with brain exercises, improve their cognition and perception, develop muscle strength, or learn to play a musical instrument — simply by imagining doing so.

Using personal stories from the heart of this neuroplasticity revolution, Dr Doidge has written an immensely moving, inspiring book that will permanently alter the way we look at our brains, human nature, and human potential.

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - kaiser_matias - LibraryThing

The book presents what happened in Nazi-ruled Europe. Every chapter is set up about one topic, almost like self-contained essays, so it really doesn't need to be read front to back. This allows for ... Read full review

Hope For Positive Personal Change

User Review  - E Po - Borders

Norman Doidge has written the perfect mix of scientific research with stories of how people have utilized the new "brain plasticity" science to engage the reader in a journey that provides not only a ... Read full review

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About the author (2008)

Norman Doidge, MD, is the author of the best-selling book, The Brain That Changes Itself: personal triumph from the frontiers of brain science, which has sold over one million copies worldwide. Dr Doidge is a psychiatrist, psychoanalyst, researcher, author, essayist and poet. He is on the Research Faculty at Columbia University’s Center for Psychoanalytic Training and Research, in New York, and the University of Toronto’s Department of Psychiatry. He is a native of Toronto. Visit him at

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