This work describes in detail the marvelous
plasticity of the brain in healing and
compensating for residual damages from
serious injuries. Doidge describes ways
stroke victims learn to move unmovable limbs
after making new connectiong pathways.
Doidge indicates that pain is the dark side
of plasticity. Senses have a plastic nature
which implies that when one is damaged-another
takes over in a process called sensory substitution.
A related concept is that the brain can reorganize
itself to make substitutions and recover functionality.
There are specific modalities like tracing exercises
to improve speaking, writing and reading. In addition,
the cerebral cortex is a center which learns how to
learn. The author explains that brain topology is
The book explains that the loss of part of the body
triggers the surviving brain map into seeking
stimulation such that nerve growth factors are released
inviting neutrons from nearby maps to send new sprouts
to take hold. In addition, Doidge explains how the
neuronal stem cells play a key role in rejuvenating the
The author documents the existence of the Taub Therapy
Clinic for stroke victims. In this clinic, patients do
things like stretching variable sized rubber bands to
simulate renewed plasticity in the fingers of stroke
victims. In closing, "The Brain That Changes Itself"
is an important contribution to brain science. The
author describes some cutting-edge research like
"Basic Problems of Neurolinguistics" by Luria to
provide foundations for further discussion.
First Published on Amazon