Written for The Chariot September 2010
“The brain is capable of changing”, says Norman Doidge, M.D. in his book, The Brain That Changes Itself: Stories of personal triumph from the frontiers of brain science, published by Viking. In his book, Dr. Doidge tells the stories of scientists and the people whose lives they have transformed through their belief in neouroplasticity. The author, a psychiatrist and researcher, investigates the new idea of neuroplasticity by interviewing scientists and the people who prove this concept to be true. Neuroplasticity means that the brain is not hardwired as was believed, but is instead capable of change. Our thoughts can switch our genes on and off changing our brain anatomy. The author takes us on an alluring tour of personal stories that defies the old notion, and illustrates the possibilities of modification of the brain. This fascinating book includes accounts of amazing personal stories and keeps your brain wanting to continue processing this book, for example, the story of a woman who was born with half of a brain that rewired itself to work as a whole. More proof given of neuroplasticity includes blind people learning to see, and stroke patients recovering their faculties. Stories like these bring hope to those of us whose brains are wired differently, but also, brings hope to the baby boomers as demonstrated in the story of aging brains being rejuvenated.