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The Brain That Changes Itself: Stories of Personal Triumph from the Frontiers of Brain Science
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The Brain That Changes Itself: Stories of Personal Triumph from the Frontiers of Brain Science [Format Kindle]

Norman Doidge
5.0 étoiles sur 5  Voir tous les commentaires (1 commentaire client)

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From Publishers Weekly

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 © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Revue de presse

“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 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.”

“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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Commentaires client les plus utiles
5.0 étoiles sur 5 vulgarisation scientifique 26 novembre 2009
Peut-etre le meilleur livre abordable aupres des non scientifiques et un delice a ceux qui sont deja ds le bain !
Facile a lire et essentiel pr introduire une differente perspective de notre perception, memoire..
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Commentaires client les plus utiles sur (beta) 4.6 étoiles sur 5  488 commentaires
677 internautes sur 697 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 The Leopard Can Change His Spots 26 mars 2007
Par Dr. Richard G. Petty - Publié sur
Format:Relié|Achat vérifié
Neuroplasticity has recently become a bit of a buzzword. Long the preserve of neuroscientists, this is one of a number of new books on the topic written for the public.

I recently reviewed Sharon Begley's superb book - Train Your Mind, Change Your Brain - and this one is in a similar vein. Though it is rather different from Sharon's book in which the main focus was on the changes wrought in the brains of meditators, while this one looks at the extraordinary responses of the brain to injury or congenital absence of sensory organs. Since this book went to press, yet another study, this time from India, has shown that some blind children may be able to regain their sight, an observation that is helping turn a lot of neurology on its head.

Neuroplasticity is a topic of enormous practical importance. The increasing evidence that the brain is a highly adaptable structure that undergoes constant change throughout life is a far cry from the idea that we are simply the product of our genes or our environment. Our genes help determine how we can respond to the environment; they do not make us who we are. And we all have untapped potential. This is more than the old nature/nurture debate in a new bottle. It has implications for human potential: how much can you develop your own brain and mind? Can you really teach a child to be a kind, loving person who can dramatically exceed his or her potential? Can psychotherapy really help change your brain for the better? Can we help re-wire the brain of a psychopath? Do we have the right to try?

The author is both a research psychiatrist and a psychoanalyst who has interviewed many experts in the field. His book is full of well chosen and detailed stories about scientists and their discoveries as well as case reports of triumph over unbelievable adversity. There is also a good discussion of people who have remarkable abilities despite the absence of key regions of the brain.

This book is a good complement to Sharon Begley's and if you can afford it, then I strongly recommend that you get both books. If your interest is more in personal development and its effects on the brain, then Sharon's book will be the one for you. If you are more interested in the science and anecdotes about scientists and some amazing patients, then this book may be the one to go for.

Highly recommended.

Richard G. Petty, MD, author of Healing, Meaning and Purpose: The Magical Power of the Emerging Laws of Life
331 internautes sur 341 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Excellent balance of case history, theory, and empirical research 11 juillet 2007
Par Cory Kerens - Publié sur
This is one of the most interesting nonfiction books that I have *ever* read. I found the book fascinating, but lest that be chalked up to my being a psychologist, my husband the computer scientist found it fascinating, too.

Scientists used to believe that the brain was relatively fixed and unchanging -- some of them still believe that -- but recent research shows that the brain is much more mutable than biologists, psychologists, physicians (and any other scientists who studied brains) had ever thought.

For example, anecdotal evidence had long supported the idea that blind people hear better than sighted people, but scientists pooh-poohed this idea, saying that there was no mechanism for that to occur. Well, they recently discovered that the area of the brain usually called the visual cortex is taken over for auditory processing in blind people. So blind folks have twice as much brain space devoted to processing sounds, which means that they really do hear better, and now we know why. Scientists were astounded to discover that the "visual" cortex was really just brain space that could be used for anything.

Psych 101 and Bio 101 textbooks often have a picture in them that shows which areas of the brain control which bodily functions, and this is all presented as fixed and unchanging. Imagine our surprise to learn that the brain can make fairly large shifts in just a few days -- for example, if you blindfold somebody for five days, the area of their brains that's usually called the visual cortex starts using large sections of itself to process touch and sound, and this change is made in as little as two days. Two days!

The book is not just theoretical, though -- the author is interested in the theory, but he's even more interested in how all of this can be applied to better the lives of real people. He talks about people with strokes who've learned to walk again, people with vestibular problems who've learned to substitute something else for their missing vestibular system, people who've been helped with ADHD, autism, retardation, and many other "incurable" conditions by altering their brains.

The downside of the book is that the author is a Freudian, so there are some annoying comments about how Freud knew it all along, but if you can overlook that, it's all fascinating. The author does an excellent job of drawing the reader in with a story about a real person, then elaborating on the ideas by talking about studies that show the basic principles and their implications, then explaining how this can be used to ameliorate or even cure conditions that were considered incurable.

This book blew me away!

The chapter titles will give you more information about the subject matter:

1. A Woman Perpetually Falling...: Rescued by the Man Who Discovered the Plasticity of Our Senses
2. Building Herself a Better Brain: A Woman Labeled "Retarded" Discovers How to Heal Herself
3. Redesigning the Brain: A Scientist Changes Brains to Sharpen Perception and Memory, Increase Speed of Thought, and Heal Learning Problems
4. Acquiring Tastes and Loves: What Neuroplasticity Teaches Us About Sexual Attraction and Love
5. Midnight Resurrections: Stroke Victims Learn to Move and Speak Again
6. Brain Lock Unlocked: Using Plasticity to Stop Worries, Obsessions, Compulsions, and Bad Habits
7. Pain: The Dark Side of Plasticity
8. Imagination: How Thinking Makes It So
9. Turning Our Ghosts into Ancestors: Psychotherapy as a Neuroplastic Therapy
10. Rejuvenation: The Discovery of the Neuronal Stem Cell and Lessons for Preserving Our Brains
11. More than the Sum of Her Parts: A Woman Shows Us How Radically Plastic the Brain Can Be
Appendix 1: The Culturally Modified Brain
Appendix 2: Plasticity and the Idea of Progress

Highly recommended!
513 internautes sur 547 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
3.0 étoiles sur 5 worth reading, with caveats 7 juillet 2008
Par A. M. Guest - Publié sur
I have a general professional interest in psychology and brain science, which often leads me to be frustrated by the tendency towards reductionism and exaggeration. This book looked promising to me because the author is advertised as a psychoanalyst--something that usually does not mesh well with neuroscience. I was intrigued to see how Freud might think about modern psychology's biological determinism. On that score, I found The Brain That Changes Itself reasonably satisfying; the chapter on how neural plasticity can help us understand the impact of psychotherapy was among the best in the book. I very much appreciate the emphasis on how experience (including talk therapy) and culture, not just genes and drugs, shape the brain. That is something that is easy to miss in viewing the pretty brain scans of contemporary popular science. I also found the appendix on how culture works through neural plasticity interesting, although I don't find it helpful to define culture as Doidge seems to--something akin to cultivation and taste (a definition that leads to a problematic hierarchy of cultures based on somewhat arbitrary criteria). It is, however, important to recognize that culture and the brain have a reciprocal relationship.

My main concern with the book is that much of the argument seems to imply that the brain is infinitely malleable with the right exercises and effort. Though Doidge does note at points that plasticity is not infinite, he also seems to endorse the very American cultural script that individuals have total control over everything that happens to them. If babies are properly stimulated they will all be geniuses! If ADHD children go through the proper attentional exercises they will suddenly excel! If the elderly go to brain gyms they will never lose their memory! These, unfortunately, are primarily openings for marketers rather than scientific realities. Of course we have some control, and the key findings of neural plasticity research have been helpful in supporting that, but there are some things that are not just about effort--but also about care and community. Overall, I did find this book interesting and worth reading, but also found myself worried about what seemed to me strategic exaggeration.
102 internautes sur 109 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Helpful, hopeful, heartwarming 17 avril 2007
Par Atheen M. Wilson - Publié sur
Format:Relié|Achat vérifié
I have taken an interest in mind/brain science over the past several months. Having started my nursing career on a medical neurology ward, I "grew up" with the localizationist interpretation of brain function and of the irreversible nature of brain damage. One couldn't help, however, having seen evidence in the course of ones practice that overwhelmingly contradicted the accepted view, so I was very pleased to see that so much has been done lately in researching the plasticity of the brain and its ability to "fix" or at least bypass damage to its structure.

The author, a psychologist with a practice in Canada, approaches his narrative almost as a journalist. He has researched the field and interviewed many of those who have been responsible for breakthroughs in mind/brain science. He gives a brief personal biography and characterization of the scientist as an individual, and then goes on to report the results of their research and the contributions that the work has provided individual patients. Here too the persons' lives and experiences are provided so that each becomes real to the reader. In this way the actual advances are given very personal meaning and significance.

In my opinion, the book should be a must read for neurology residents--if it or something like it has not already been added to the core curriculum. The research and the individual representative cases provided are an amazing illustration of what has and may be done in the near future of neurological diseases and disorders. Certainly anyone with a neurological disorder will find the information inspiring and hopeful. No longer is he or she expected to learn to "accept" their disability or to "learn to live with it." More active approaches to treatment seem to work far better than had been believed by earlier generations of neuroscientists and physiotherapists. Most important is the issue of providing treatment for disabilities, of extending and intensifying therapies not just to a fixed time decided upon arbitrarily but to a point when actual change and improvement are seen to occur. Some of the illustrative cases are certainly exceptional, maybe even just "lucky" individuals, but many of them derived considerable benefit from the approaches used to treat their disability by researchers.

Among the most amazing stories are those of stroke victims who have recovered almost entirely from their neurological damage and returned to an active life. Others are about new technologies for providing sight to the blind, hearing to the deaf, and greater autonomy to the movement impaired. Some of the findings about the aging brain are especially interesting and hopeful. In fact I was so impressed with some of it, that I gave the book to a friend who also worked in neurology in "the old days" and who is now dealing with the issues of living with her mother whose memory is gradually failing and whose everyday life is getting to be more and more difficult and complicated.

A superb book.
189 internautes sur 216 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
1.0 étoiles sur 5 Seriously flawed 3 novembre 2009
Par Mortimer Duke - Publié sur
The most fascinating thing about this book is the nearly complete lack of honest critical response to Doidge's book.

Doidge, a Freudian psychoanalyst, has no training in neurobiology, and prior to this book has published next to nothing relevant to the topic. He makes two fundamental errors in the way he tells his story.

The first of these is the division he makes between "localizationists" and "neuroplasticians". No one working in neuroscience would take seriously the straw man position that Doidge puts forth for localizationists, that there is "one location, one function" and that the brain operates as an unchangeable machine. It is one of the most fundamental axioms of neuroscience that neural changes underlie any learning mechanism. No one would seriously postulate that brains *don't* change a great deal during the life of an organism. Even those involved in the practice of understanding how functions are localized (e.g., speech in the left hemisphere) would not suggest that there is anything special or unchangeable about the physical location, that this location couldn't change after brain injury. Mainstream neuroscience, not a marginalized fringe, has long been aware of the adaptations and plasticity that can happen after a stroke or other brain damage. Doidge seriously misrepresents himself as the champion of a movement.

The second error is the implication that brains are infinitely malleable. He presents a cherry-picked set of case studies and select experiments that might suggest that this is the case, but there is plenty of evidence to suggest exactly the opposite conclusion. Doidge even goes as far as to intimate that any neurological condition can be fixed with the right training. Autism, dyslexia, maybe even Alzheimer's. This is seriously misleading at best.

One of the traps that Doidge falls into is the excessive use of "brainspeak". Many of the examples and implications that he talks about are behavioral, and a brain description is really not the appropriate level. After a while, the term "brain map" has lost a good deal of it's punch as it's applied to anything at all. He suggests that Freud was ahead of his time because, in essence, psychotherapy is "changing your brain maps". Well, yes. But so is any learning at all; there's no privileged place for psychoanalysis. In essence, Doidge is trying to convince you that evidence for brain plasticity should let you know that YOUR brain (and life) can be changed. But in many ways the brainspeak is an unnecessary diversion. The world is full of stories of personal triumph, and those enough are evidence that personal triumph is possible.
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