The Brain's Way of Healing: Remarkable Discoveries and Recoveries from the Frontiers of Neuroplasticity Info

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Reviews for The Brain's Way of Healing: Remarkable Discoveries and Recoveries from the Frontiers of Neuroplasticity:

2

Feb 02, 2015

This is the fascinating story of a Toronto neurologist psychiatrist who travels the world fawning over sorcerers and con artists.

Doidge front loads the book with his strongest cases of neuroplasticity, to lure you in, but each successive chapter retreats further from reason and evidence, until you're learning about a wizard who can heal nearly any mental or physical ailment you can name by shining LED lights at you.

I think Doidge means well, and I am down with bleeding-edge science. The trick This is the fascinating story of a Toronto neurologist psychiatrist who travels the world fawning over sorcerers and con artists.

Doidge front loads the book with his strongest cases of neuroplasticity, to lure you in, but each successive chapter retreats further from reason and evidence, until you're learning about a wizard who can heal nearly any mental or physical ailment you can name by shining LED lights at you.

I think Doidge means well, and I am down with bleeding-edge science. The trick is to carefully qualify each therapy and be crystal clear about the limits of what we know. Instead, Doidge spends considerable energy dressing up the most far-fetched anecdotes to make them easier to swallow. Sometimes he seems to be trying to convince himself as much as you.

There are a few significant red flags. Doidge waxes on and on about acupuncture meridian points, explaining that they haven't changed for thousands of years (a textbook argument from antiquity). I kept waiting for the paragraph qualifying that the weight of evidence shows that it doesn't matter where you stick acupuncture needles, or even *if* you stick them. It's nothing but a placebo. Doidge either isn't familiar with the research, or he's constructed one hell of a blindspot for himself. I'm guessing the latter.

He also buries in the end notes his belief that autism and vaccines have a causal relationship. From a doctor engaging in public education, this is inexcusable.

Every warm word he has for woo woo makes him less credible in my mind, which is a shame because he's a clear writer and his subjects have interesting stories, both personal and scientific. In the end, I don't know quite what to make of this book. It might inspire further reading, but I can't take it seriously on its own merits. ...more
4

Sep 22, 2015

To review this book, I have to tell you about my grandmother.

When I bought my house, I was thirty years old and single - with little apparent prospect of that changing (not that I hadn't tried to get married, but all the women I'd asked to marry me - some of whom I even knew - had refused). However, my grandmother, my little Italian Nonna, was living with my parents, ten minutes walk away. It was, as the marketing men say, a no brainer: I asked her to move in with me.

May I say that there is no To review this book, I have to tell you about my grandmother.

When I bought my house, I was thirty years old and single - with little apparent prospect of that changing (not that I hadn't tried to get married, but all the women I'd asked to marry me - some of whom I even knew - had refused). However, my grandmother, my little Italian Nonna, was living with my parents, ten minutes walk away. It was, as the marketing men say, a no brainer: I asked her to move in with me.

May I say that there is no more cushy or comfortable life, for a thirtysomething single male, than having your Italian grandmother living with you. Washing, cooking, cleaning, dusting, ironing, sewing - it was all done. Just so you don't get too jealous of the tempting, mouth watering delights that must have been served up to me each night, I must say that the one area in which Nonna was not all Italian was cooking: she was terrible. Well, maybe that's slightly too strong a word: her risotto and lasagne were good, but out of her two dish comfort zone, things tended to get, well, slabby: I still remember with a slight shudder the thick slices of deep fried polenta, quivering like vulcanised yellow rubber, that she served up at least once a week. But in all other respects, it was a wonderfully cushy life - and it meant I really got to know my Nonna (particularly as she had only recently moved to England).

It was a glorious interlude, and one that lasted four years. But then, I got married (I sprang the proposal on my wife so completely out of the blue that she didn't have time to dodge). Nonna moved out. Wife moved in.

Nonna went back to my parents, taking over many of the housekeeping duties there, while always, whatever the weather, taking a daily constitutional through the park.

Then she had a stroke. A little one. Some weakness in her left arm, a limp, soon recovered from, and half an aspirin daily.

It didn't work. The second stroke was a major one. Hospital, beeping machines, then relief. She would live. It was the left side again, but this time, worse. No movement in her left leg or arm, face pulled down on that side - at least, being the left side, there was no language loss. But she couldn't walk.

Out of danger, they moved Nonna from the general hospital to Finchley Memorial Hospital, which was then devoted to recuperation and physiotherapy. And the physios set about her: exercise, effort, every day for five, six weeks.

By the end of that time, there was a little improvement, but not that much, and we assembled to meet the doctor to hear what the plan was for her continuing treatment.

There wasn't one. They'd done all they could. The first six weeks after stroke were crucial - after that window, there wouldn't be any further improvement. Nonna didn't speak English. The doctor told us to tell Nonna she would never walk again. As he got up to leave, he told us to set about arranging moving her into a nursing home. And that was it.

For a year, Nonna sat in the lounge in the nursing home, watching television she didn't understand, and I'd visit her each day and talk to her - the despairing small talk of family and friends and weather that substituted for hope. According to the doctors, there wasn't any.

I think it was anger, the slowly nurtured anger at helplessness and fate and God, that did it. The doctors might not want to do anything, but anything was better than this waiting room of death (the staff were lovely and caring, but that is what the place was).

So what if the doctors said they wouldn't do anything. We would. We found a physiotherapist who spoke Italian, and paid for her to visit Nonna and work with her. And, you know, there was something - some small improvement. Nonna began to be able to move her left hand, and then her arm.

And then the cavalry arrived, in the small, squashy shape of our first child, Theo - Nonna's great grandson.

Nonna loved Theo. She brightened, she cooed, she came alive when we brought him to see her. And, when I held him, dangling, just out of reach as the physio worked on her standing and posture, Nonna pushed herself up, unthinking, focused on him and not on what she could not do, and she began, she began to stand.

Nonna was going to be the first resident of the nursing home to walk out of there on her own two feet, rather than being carried out in a box.

I still remember her chuckling laugh as she reached out to chaff Theo's cheek, standing and not even realising it, and wishing we had started this so much earlier.

Then Nonna had a third stroke. She was reduced to a pair of wandering eyes, rolling without control, in a shell of flesh without any movement at all. She didn't walk out of the nursing home. Six months later, she went out in the box.

I wish I'd read this book then, before all this happened. But it hadn't been written. Back then, the six weeks window was all there was. The brain was a hard-wired thinking machine: break it, and it stayed broke.

This is the mistake of metaphor. We've learned to understand the body and the mind through our inventions: clocks and hydraulics, circuits and computers. Mechanical, fixed things. But the brain is alive; it's not caught by these metaphors. And what we see in this remarkable book is the dawning realisation among researchers and doctors that brain and body, mind and effort are all intimately, and directly, connected. Unlike an electronic circuit, the brain can find new connections, fresh ways of doing things, particularly when reinforcing the new connections with physical learning.

It's an insight that some people seem uncomfortable with. A quite remarkable (in all the wrong ways) review, by Jonathan Ree, of The Brain's Way of Healing in The Guardian concludes thus:

The publicity tells us that The Brain’s Way of Healing will provide new hope for millions of unlucky sufferers. Hope is a tricky commodity however, and while some of us may find it heartening, for others it could be another turn of the fatal screw. The neuroplastic revolution is part of a contemporary stampede towards the moralisation of medicine: patients are encouraged to blame themselves for their sufferings, and to think that their chances of recovery depend not on random tricks of fate, or the luck or good judgment of their doctors, but on their own willpower and moral fibre. Sick people need to be cared for, but they also have a right to be left in peace.

This is the judgement that condemned Nonna after six weeks; this is the end of hope and the acceptance of the TV lounge; this is morally stupid and intellectually offensive. Why should hope and effort be placed in opposition to care and medicine? Only in the judgement of the reviewer. For myself, I wish this book had been written then. Maybe Nonna would still have left the nursing home in a box, but the stay would have been a battle, and not a defeat.

Hope emerged last from Pandora's box. After all else is gone, hope remains. ...more
3

Jan 27, 2015

The information Doidge provides on the brain's ability to heal itself, and thereby the body, is both fascinating and compelling. This flies in the face of our current mainstream view of the damage from brain injuries and certain chronic illnesses being permanent, with no hope of recovery. Our brains are far more resilient than science has, so far, understood.

That being said, I have some problems with the overall structure and content. The important nuggets of information often get lost within The information Doidge provides on the brain's ability to heal itself, and thereby the body, is both fascinating and compelling. This flies in the face of our current mainstream view of the damage from brain injuries and certain chronic illnesses being permanent, with no hope of recovery. Our brains are far more resilient than science has, so far, understood.

That being said, I have some problems with the overall structure and content. The important nuggets of information often get lost within repetitive information and long-winded stories. Consequently, I'm not sure this book will go over well with readers looking for a more science-based read.

The book opens with a case study of a man with Parkinson's disease. This is quite a lengthy section, as we follow this one man throughout his life, his disease, his determination to heal himself, his setbacks, and his healing. We're given a lot of personal information, far more than necessary for me. This section has the feel of a memoir or biography, more so than a book on brain science.

There is also a lengthy section on Moshe Feldenkrais. While interesting, this feels far more like a history lesson. We follow him from Nazi-occupied Paris. We learn about his work with Irene Joliot-Curie, the famous Madame Curie's daughter. We learn about Feldenkrais's work, while also learning about how the State of Israel was formed. All of this feels like it belongs in a different book.

Finally, while I appreciate Doidge's enthusiasm, I'm troubled by the fact that each case cited here had near miraculous results. Were there any patients who simply did not do well, or even as well, with the treatments discussed?

I do think there is important information to gain here on the brain's healing ability, making this book worth reading.

*I was given a copy of this book by Penguin Group via Netgalley in exchange for my honest review.* ...more
4

Jul 22, 2015

From this book you learn of amazing new developments in neurology. The brain is plastic. What this means in simple terms is that we can do things to change it. Plastic means mold-able. It was previously thought that the brain directed the body, but now we learn that the body too changes the brain. Neurons that before have been classified as dead and useless are not dead. This has huge implications for treatment of:

-stroke
-Parkinson's disease
-Alzheimer's
-chronic pain
-multiple sclerosis
-traumatic From this book you learn of amazing new developments in neurology. The brain is plastic. What this means in simple terms is that we can do things to change it. Plastic means mold-able. It was previously thought that the brain directed the body, but now we learn that the body too changes the brain. Neurons that before have been classified as dead and useless are not dead. This has huge implications for treatment of:

-stroke
-Parkinson's disease
-Alzheimer's
-chronic pain
-multiple sclerosis
-traumatic brain injuries
-osteoarthritis
-premature infants
-autism
-dyslexia
-ADD and ADHD

You follow specific people with the above health problems. Each is detailed and specific. Through these examples you lean of today’s cutting edge techniques. These people have what seem to be incurable, absolutely hopeless problems. Any adult of some age will be made uncomfortable following these individuals, regardless of the fact that their progress is utterly amazing. It isn't hard to imagine that such could happen to yourself. It is nice that the book focuses upon the most hopeful advances in our imminent future at the end of the book. It leaves you hopeful rather than depressed.

Seriously, it is important to read this book so you know of alternative methods that are being developed. The methods are holistic. Treatments shy away from medicines when possible. It is interesting to see how ancient Eastern treatments are being woven into new treatments and are validated by testing.

The techniques are clearly described, BUT one gets to a point where so much is thrown at you that you need to reread and absorb before you go on. I found myself following the text and even if I "understood", I would ask myself how exactly is that possible? The results are so astounding you step back and have a hard time believing. Even if it all makes sense. The section at the end on music therapy and the "electronic ear device" became diffuse in my head.

Doctors’ names are clearly stated. Also where they work. More information is said to be available at the author's home page: http://www.normandoidge.com/ I plan on seeking further information.

The audiobook is wonderfully narrated by George Newbern. Slowly and clearly. Even the appendices are read. They are also available as PDFs with the audiobook. However it is hard in an audiobook to backtrack to a particular chapter. Often it will be said, "as presented in chapter X." Going back to that is not easy. For this reason alone, I recommend the paper book.

There are some absolutely wonderful things ahead to be further investigated. If you run into any of the above problems do check out this book. The next problem is finding someone who can help you. That could be difficult. This is cutting-edge technology.
...more
4

Apr 30, 2017

It's not that long ago that the idea of neuroplasticity was seen as fringe fantasy, though it is now widely accepted (though like climate change, it has its sceptics).
In his second book on the subject, Doidge covers several techniques that are being used to change neural pathways to manage pain, recover lost movement, reduce symptoms of Parkinson's and other conditions. One of his main messages is that the body and the mind (brain) can't be seen as separate, the two work together in infinite It's not that long ago that the idea of neuroplasticity was seen as fringe fantasy, though it is now widely accepted (though like climate change, it has its sceptics).
In his second book on the subject, Doidge covers several techniques that are being used to change neural pathways to manage pain, recover lost movement, reduce symptoms of Parkinson's and other conditions. One of his main messages is that the body and the mind (brain) can't be seen as separate, the two work together in infinite feedback loops (my image, not his).
He wants to reach a wide audience, which no doubt accounts for the great weight of case studies over theory. If you want the theory, you have to dig for it, and follow through in the journal literature if you want more.
For our book club, the balance was pretty well right, given our diverse backgrounds. Between us we were familiar with the power of focused meditation, visualisation, mindful exercise, music therapy and Feldenkrais awareness through movement techniques.
None of us knew of the tongue stimulation techniques used by one practice in the US, which seems to have been very successful for those with the commitment to persist with exercises. I learned from that chapter that neck injury can affect the brain; and that repeated injury can mean you lose what you recovered and have to start rehab again.
Doidge has helped me understand the dysfunctional loops of chronic pain following neck injury (I've had multiples) and I've begun to combine several of the techniques he discusses to help me manage muscle cramps, pain and improve my sleep. I've been going to Feldenkrais classes for several years; know enough to be able to focus on specific muscle groups and work on them. I now combine it with music (Mozart is recommended) and visualisation as I go to bed, and for the last two weeks I've slept better than I have for a long time. It's having other benefits as well, as I get better at managing my brain activity. Hooray! .
Thank you Norman Doidge, and thank you book group for another fascinating discussion. ...more
2

Mar 03, 2015

This book was more disappointing than I think I can possibly convey. The Brain That Changes Itself was one of my favourite books and I have recommended it to all my friends, so I was very excited about reading the sequel. In this book Norman Doidge basically does the same as the first book, he gives examples of people with very serious illnesses who have had amazing cures. However for this book he has abandoned the scientific and fully embraced the pseudoscientific. I am certainly not an expert This book was more disappointing than I think I can possibly convey. The Brain That Changes Itself was one of my favourite books and I have recommended it to all my friends, so I was very excited about reading the sequel. In this book Norman Doidge basically does the same as the first book, he gives examples of people with very serious illnesses who have had amazing cures. However for this book he has abandoned the scientific and fully embraced the pseudoscientific. I am certainly not an expert on anything to do with the human body but I started to get skeptical once he basically wrote that 'sunlight is good so lasers must be better'. He thens proceeds to give a list of things that low level skin laser treatment can heal and it reads exactly like the worst pseudoscientific garbage. Essentially he says it is a miracle cure for everything from depression to cancer. I was still willing to give him the benefit of the doubt so I read as many medical papers on laser treatment as I could find and they all bore out my suspicions. Laser treatment has little, if any benefit over a placebo. This then followed for every single example for the rest of the book, with the worst example being the exercises that can improve eyesight. From my research, this has been debunked for decades and can be actually damaging to your eyes! Using one miraculous cure as an example of how well a treatment works is certainly not a good scientific method.

In a word, avoid. ...more
4

Nov 17, 2015

The Plastic Brain

When I expressed interest in understanding more about the neurobiology of mental health, a psychologist friend recommended The Brain That Changes Itself: Stories of Personal Triumph from the Frontiers of Brain Science. When I looked up that book, I found this more recent book by the same author, so started with this first.

Did you know scientists didn't fully appreciate the plasticity of the brain until 2000? That wasn't so long ago, and we are on a steep learning curve to The Plastic Brain

When I expressed interest in understanding more about the neurobiology of mental health, a psychologist friend recommended The Brain That Changes Itself: Stories of Personal Triumph from the Frontiers of Brain Science. When I looked up that book, I found this more recent book by the same author, so started with this first.

Did you know scientists didn't fully appreciate the plasticity of the brain until 2000? That wasn't so long ago, and we are on a steep learning curve to understand how the brain can grow and change like any other organ.

I didn't have a chance to read the entire book, but the chapters I did read were fascinating:

In Physician Hurt, Then Heal Thyself, physician Michael Moskowitz suffered from debilitating chronic pain. If you've ever had chronic pain, you know how hopeless and irritable you feel. But instead of resting and bemoaning his pain, he found a way to stop it.

He learned about the brain areas that light up when damaged neurons send false alarms (as with chronic pain). Knowing "neurons that fire together, wire together", with chronic pain the cells in the pain system begin to fire more easily, and the pain maps enlarge their receptive field due to the damaged neurons.

The more often Moskowitz felt twinges of neck pain, the more easily his brain's neurons recognized it, and the more intense it got. The name for this process is wind-up pain, because the more the receptors in the pain system fire, the more sensitive they become.

Moskowitz also knew that "neurons that fire apart wire apart". Could he start to weaken links that had formed in his pain maps?

What if, when he was in pain, he could try to override the natural tendency to retreat, lie down, rest, stop thinking, and nurse himself? The brain needed a counter-stimulation.

He decided to rewire his brain by visualizing the involved brain areas shrinking every time he felt pain. By six weeks, his pain was severely diminished, and by one year, it was gone.

Kewl.

A Man Walks Off His Parkinsonian Symptoms demonstrates the magical effects of exercise on the brain. John Pepper is a South African man who reversed Parkinson's Disease through walking.

There are also chapters on treating ADHD with music, blindness with eye exercises, and multiple sclerosis with a device that stimulates the tongue and therefore the brain.

The writing style is engaging. Quite an interesting read!
...more
0

Oct 18, 2016

The Brains Way of Healing is the sequel to Doidges earlier introduction to the science of neuroplasticity, The Brain That Changes Itself. While that book took a more general look at the subject, this book hones in on the specific ways that harnessing the brains ability to rewire itself can result in remarkable recoveries from stroke and other traumatic brain injury, and halt or slow the progression of diseases like Parkinsons and MS. This is some of the most exciting science of the twenty-first The Brain’s Way of Healing is the sequel to Doidge’s earlier introduction to the science of neuroplasticity, The Brain That Changes Itself. While that book took a more general look at the subject, this book hones in on the specific ways that harnessing the brain’s ability to rewire itself can result in remarkable recoveries from stroke and other traumatic brain injury, and halt or slow the progression of diseases like Parkinson’s and MS. This is some of the most exciting science of the twenty-first century, and Doidge does an amazing job of making it accessible to the average reader without dumbing it down. If you own a brain, you need to read this book.

–Kate Scott



from The Best Books We Read In September 2016: http://bookriot.com/2016/10/03/riot-r... ...more
1

Sep 02, 2015

Anecdotal and ignorant of scientific method. I found it hard to credit anything Doidge wrote after his random prattling about the action of laser light inside cells.

This is not Oliver Sacks style "here is an interesting case and this is what it might tell us about how things might work" or "here are some new developments being trialled" it is a string of "Bob had a brain problem, by application of X he got better!" type stories where X varies from exercise to mindfulness to lasers.

Quackery for Anecdotal and ignorant of scientific method. I found it hard to credit anything Doidge wrote after his random prattling about the action of laser light inside cells.

This is not Oliver Sacks style "here is an interesting case and this is what it might tell us about how things might work" or "here are some new developments being trialled" it is a string of "Bob had a brain problem, by application of X he got better!" type stories where X varies from exercise to mindfulness to lasers.

Quackery for those desperate to believe in miracle cures. Sad, because the area of brain plasticity is very interesting while cherry picked anecdotes in isolation are not.
...more
5

Feb 25, 2016

excellent stuff.
especially if you have any disability, cognitive issues, adhd, dyslexia, blindness, deafness, tbi, ptsd etc.
a lit about brain and how to train it - much better than the overreliance on psychiatric drugs.
interesting stories.
5

Dec 31, 2014

A while ago I read and reviewed this authors first book The brain that changes itself and found it fascinating. I deem the present book to be even more so.

First we learn of the case of the psychiatrist/pain specialist Michael Moskowitz, who after a horrific accident, had chronic pain for 13 years, He got rid of the pain by visualizing that the areas of his brain producing it are shrinking, after discovering that two brain areas process both visual information and pain. The assumption is that A while ago I read and reviewed this author´s first book “The brain that changes itself” and found it fascinating. I deem the present book to be even more so.

First we learn of the case of the psychiatrist/pain specialist Michael Moskowitz, who after a horrific accident, had chronic pain for 13 years, He got rid of the pain by visualizing that the areas of his brain producing it are shrinking, after discovering that two brain areas process both visual information and pain. The assumption is that these areas cannot process pain and visualize at the same time. He teaches his patients to use the same method to dissolve their chronic pain.

In fact, though, I do not see that these cases prove anything, since it is known that all visualization can work, even visualization that has nothing to do with pain. It would have been interesting if the author could also have explained to us how visualization in general works.

Other scientists have found that patients can “shrink” their body image to rewire their brains. When patients with chronic hand pain looked through binoculars at their hands and thus magnified them, pain was increased; when they looked through the wrong end of the binoculars so their hands looked smaller, pain decreased.

A Parkinson´s patient, John Pepper, learnt how to reverse his major symptoms and walk normally by a system he devised to exercise conscious control over his walking. He formed a Parkinson´s support group and taught hundreds of other such patients to drop their shuffling gait and move more freely and effectively. After mastering walking he began to take conscious control over his tremor.

A chapter on rewiring the brain with light tells us how sunlight heals babies with jaundice. Florence Nightingale exposed her patients to as much sun as possible and thereby ensured their healing.

Fred Kahn was healed of a rotator cuff injury by laser treatment (as I myself was), and began using low-intensity laser treatments to heal horrific wounds, diabetic ulcers, burns, psoriasis, black, gangrenous limbs, etc. etc. ; also rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia, some psychiatric disorders, nerve injuries and traumatic brain injuries (TBI) can be healed in this way.

We are told how LED lights, in the red and infrared range, which have laser-like properties, were used on eight areas of the head of a woman with disabling TBI symptoms. She couldn´t concentrate or sleep, became easily exhausted, couldn´t complete tasks and had lost her ability to speak two foreign languages. After her first treatment she slept 18 hours and began improving significantly.

A Boston group has found laser treatment helpful in TBI. “Laser acupuncture” was used by placing light on acupuncture points. Lasers harmlessly and painlessly pass light energy into meridians. In China lasers are used to treat paralysis in stroke patients, resulting in significant improvements.

The case of Gabrielle is described; following removal of a life-threatening brain tumour she had trouble swallowing and eating, was constantly nauseous, had balance problems and difficulty walking. People could hardly hear her speak; she used the wrong words, like “fork” instead of “knife”, and couldn´t multi-task; she had lost her short-term memory, couldn´t recognize objects and could see only what was directly in front of her; she was hypersensitive to all sounds, which seemed unbearably loud; she was chronically exhausted.

Fred Kahn rewired Gabrielle´s brain with light by means of his laser treatments, and she was healed.

Lasers were used successfully by Kahn and others to heal other brain problems, together with cardiovascular problems.

Light therapy is also being used to improve damaged connections between neurons in Alzheimer´s.

There is a great chapter on the work of Moshe Feldenkrais with healing serious brain problems through mental awareness of movement.

These various healers came to their discoveries through working on and mastering their own severe health problems.

A baby girl missing part of her brain, a third of her cerebellum, who could neither sit up nor crawl, and whose parents were told the best they could hope for was “profound retardation” was healed by Feldenkrais´s special techniques. He pronounced that the girl would dance at her wedding. She now has two graduate degrees from major universities, is a voracious reader, and did indeed dance at her wedding.

There´s a chapter entitled “A Blind Man Learns to See” about a man called Webber who lost his sight owing to uveitis, an autoimmune disease. He was healed by doing exercises recommended by Feldenkrais which were similar to four ancient Buddhist exercises and also to Bates´ techniques.

Webber needed help from Feldenkrais to be cured, but the four basic techniques which helped were as follows:

1) Meditate on the colour blue-black for a few hours a day.
2) Move the eyes up, down, left and right, and around in circles, as well as on diagonals.
3) Blink frequently.
4) Sun your eyes. Sit with eyes closed in the morning or late afternoon and let the warmth and light of the sun penetrate through the eye tissues ten to twenty minutes a day.

Deep relaxation of the eyes is essential.

We learn about an amazing device called the PoNS that healed a singer called Ron who could no longer sing because of MS, had trouble swallowing and suffered from unrelenting exhaustion. PoNS stands for Portable Neuromodulation Stimulator. You put the device in your mouth where it painlessly stimulates the tongue and its sensory receptors “with waves of gentle signals”. After thirty years of steadily worsening symptoms Ron´s improvement was rapid and vast. All his MS symptoms improved.

There are 48 different kinds of sensory receptors on the tongue and these receptors pass electrical signals to nerve fibres, then on to the brain.

The PoNS device sits on the front two-thirds of the tongue. After 400-600 milliseconds brain waves are stabilized and all parts of the brain start to react, firing together. The tongue stimulation activates the whole brain. While using the device the patient at the same time does an appropriate exercise. A person with difficulty walking should try to walk, then run, on a treadmill when using the PoNS. The device resets the brain.

We are provided with case histories of persons with both Parkinson´s and MS who were healed by the PoNS, together with persons severely brain injured in car accidents.

We hear about Tomatis´s Electronic Ear, which helped struggling singers who were not hearing high frequencies well. Once they could hear properly, they could sing properly. Tomatis trained the brain by stimulating the ear. We are given the case history of a boy born prematurely who had severe developmental problems and who was heled by using the Electronic Ear. This listening therapy is also effective against autism.

It is said that the core feature of autism is an inability “to empathize and apprehend the existence of other minds”. This is not true, however. A more precise explanation is as follows: “Battered by sound, these children remain in fight-or flight and cannot turn on the social engagement system”.

This is not only an amazing, enlightening book informing us of many not generally known ways of healing all sorts of severe brain problems, but the author writes in an engaging manner, including many personal details and descriptions of the various therapists and their healed clients, so we feel we know them personally.

Though this is obviously a scientific book comprising innumerable technical details, I found it to be easy to read. I would say that it is the most informative, useful and enlightening book I have read for at least a decade, and I have read many such books. I would wish that all those with brain injuries and problems could have access to one or more of the exciting treatments mentioned. ...more
5

Nov 13, 2014

This is my first-read win. This was a great book, fascinating, learning many different ways that the brain can heal itself.A great resource book. I will be using the eye exercises to improve my eyesight & maybe get rid of my glasses. Now, I need to read The Brain That Changes Itself.
5

Nov 26, 2014

Absolutely loved the book, its about the way the brain recovers and embarks on a journey of discovery, how a brain can recover with light and awaken damaged neural circuits, how it can turn off when pain is in the body releasing endorphin's to quell pain and the role of neurons and pain through research. a very indepth and fascinating and educational book.
2

Jun 03, 2015

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisf...

This article sums up exactly what disturbs me about this book. After hearing several of his interviews and being fascinated by their content I bought Norman Doidge's latest book. Only a few pages in I lost faith with him. Peddling false hope with dubious science and worse, encouraging irrational fears that will cause actual harm to people. So disappointing.
5

Feb 21, 2019

Definitely worth a read. I didn't manage to finish the last few chapters but the first few I read were very interesting and illuminating.

The first case study involves the author following a man with Parkinson's and detailing his recovery process. We learn about "laser light healing" - a form of treatment which basically involves applying a low-level laser or light-emitting diode to the surface of the body in order to stimulate the body's cells to heal faster.

The science behind this is based on Definitely worth a read. I didn't manage to finish the last few chapters but the first few I read were very interesting and illuminating.

The first case study involves the author following a man with Parkinson's and detailing his recovery process. We learn about "laser light healing" - a form of treatment which basically involves applying a low-level laser or light-emitting diode to the surface of the body in order to stimulate the body's cells to heal faster.

The science behind this is based on the fact that the human body contains light-receptive cells throughout (and not just in our eyes, as most of us might think) - even in internal organs which never see the light of day.

Below you can read more about these light-sensing cells in the human body:

- https://www.scientificamerican.com/ar...
- https://www.chemistryworld.com/news/h...

The author details research findings by other scientists and researchers showing that when these cells are exposed to light, they are "triggered" into starting the healing process, thereby bringing about rapid healing. Experiments on mice showed that the control group which had not received the same targeted light exposure healed much slower, and less healing took place (measured by the size of the injury site).

The author describes how several people have had success with laser light therapy, which simulates the effect of sunlight on cells by focusing a beam directly onto the subject's injury area. If the injury is on an internal organ or other internal part of the body, surgery may be required in order to allow the beam to be shone directly onto the organ itself and not just the outer (epidermal) skin covering it.

Laser light therapy was effective in helping reverse cognitive decline/damage in at least 2 individuals which the book showcased. The implications of this method as a form of healing are immense, especially in diseases such as Parkinson's for which there is no known cure.

I will pick this book up again in the future to see what the remaining chapters discuss. ...more
4

May 12, 2015

Boy, when they say "remarkable" they mean remarkable. I was astounded by these recovery stories based on therapies I'd never heard of before. The book is a fascinating read, and I ended up just buying it as a reference when I got near the end of it. I found a lot of information that had potential applications for myself or my loved ones.
I've been hearing references to neuroplasticity for about a year now, and this is the first book I've read about it. It does get rather in-depth in spots, Boy, when they say "remarkable" they mean remarkable. I was astounded by these recovery stories based on therapies I'd never heard of before. The book is a fascinating read, and I ended up just buying it as a reference when I got near the end of it. I found a lot of information that had potential applications for myself or my loved ones.
I've been hearing references to neuroplasticity for about a year now, and this is the first book I've read about it. It does get rather in-depth in spots, alternating between technical details and anecdotal examples. Science is not my strongest subject, but I was still able to follow.
I have two complaints. The first one is that he kept referencing his other book The Brain That Changes Itself: Stories of Personal Triumph from the Frontiers of Brain Science, which I plan to eventually read, but I didn't need to be reminded of so often. The second complaint is the animal testing that was spoken of with absolutely no empathy or apology. There has to be a better way to test a therapy than dropping a magnet on a mouse's head to simulate a brain injury, or severing a rat's spinal cord, or sewing a monkey's fingers together. That mouse one particularly, on top of being cruel, didn't even seem like it would guarantee any accuracy. I should clarify that the author wrote about this testing but wasn't the one actually performing any of these tests himself. I just didn't appreciate that it was presented so prosaically.
Still a good book though, and highly recommended.
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1

Dec 27, 2015

The preface promises miracles... but there sure isn't a lot of primary literature cited. >_< so disappointed this seems to be a bunch of pseudoscience... I can't bring myself to read it fully after skimming the references. Naturopaths? Osteopaths? Chiropractors? Seriously?? If this book wasn't claiming to be scientifically sound, I'd be way less annoyed. Quite frankly, it's misleading people to believe a lot of these therapies are medically and scientifically sound.

Doidge's first book, The preface promises miracles... but there sure isn't a lot of primary literature cited. >_< so disappointed this seems to be a bunch of pseudoscience... I can't bring myself to read it fully after skimming the references. Naturopaths? Osteopaths? Chiropractors? Seriously?? If this book wasn't claiming to be scientifically sound, I'd be way less annoyed. Quite frankly, it's misleading people to believe a lot of these therapies are medically and scientifically sound.

Doidge's first book, The Brain that Changes Itself, inspired me to study neuroscience! I'm saddened this book appears to be quackery.

I might revisit it later and fact-check it chapter-by-chapter, but I definitely read enough to get a good whiff of baloney. ...more
2

Oct 03, 2019

I previously read The Brain that Changes Itself, and liked the writing. That book was exciting because it was presenting the intellectual revolution of adult brain plasticity, and the first studies utilizing this new principle were emerging. Doige likes to get personal with his stories, often spending extended periods of time with those he writes about, thus giving his books a compassionate and human feeling. This new book is a follow up in the same vein, investigating the newest and most I previously read The Brain that Changes Itself, and liked the writing. That book was exciting because it was presenting the “intellectual revolution” of adult brain plasticity, and the first studies utilizing this new principle were emerging. Doige likes to get personal with his stories, often spending extended periods of time with those he writes about, thus giving his books a compassionate and human feeling. This new book is a follow up in the same vein, investigating the newest and most exciting applications of adult neuroplasticity. The stories are all interesting (although in my opinion would have been far more interesting at roughly half the length) but there are a few central problems that keep this book from being one I would recommend.
1. He never even discusses the idea of a base rate. In order to evaluate any of the treatments he writes about, we need to know the expected rate of people in that population to spontaneously recover.
2. Very little discussion of contrary evidence to his miraculous claims. In a couple of chapters he briefly discusses a criticism from a mainstream physician, only to dismiss it out of hand. Not at all a balanced book.
I would describe this book as more self-help, or religion, than science. Like self-help and religion, I’m sure it’s brought hope to many people, so that’s a positive. It’s also pretty interesting, the section on laser therapy was especially intriguing as it was the one I knew the least about. But it’s dangerous in many ways to masquerade as a science book if you’re not going to follow the scientific method. I understand and agree with Doidge that mainstream science is subject to flaws and biases, but I completely disagree with him that that means we should instead put our faith in miraculous anecdotes.
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0

Mar 28, 2017

I found this book very interesting. I'm going to try to meditate to Gregorian chants and get back into my yoga. It inspired me to try something different.
5

Feb 20, 2017

Inspiring and informative. I am more than ever convinced
that we are wonderfully designed and created by God. This book
will offer hope to many who are struggling with "brain"
problems of all kinds, and leave the general reader in awe!
5

Jul 21, 2019

This is a very very good book, and reading it improved my life, the lives of my kids, my wife, and my friends kids.

Chapter 8, listening therapies and Tomatis, helped my son significantly reduce his hearing sensitivity. It also helped his balance an overall temperament. My daughters motor control improved. My friends sons ASD/ADHD emotional control has improved, and his hearing sensitivity is reducing. Treatments are ongoing.

I may never have heard of this treatment, if not for this book.

An added This is a very very good book, and reading it improved my life, the lives of my kids, my wife, and my friends kids.

Chapter 8, listening therapies and Tomatis, helped my son significantly reduce his hearing sensitivity. It also helped his balance an overall temperament. My daughter’s motor control improved. My friend’s son’s ASD/ADHD emotional control has improved, and his hearing sensitivity is reducing. Treatments are ongoing.

I may never have heard of this treatment, if not for this book.

An added bonus is that, from the chapter on light, and the use of lasers, we found reputable laser equipment and a medical professional to heal the cartilage in my wife’s wrist that the surgeon said would never fully heal, post op. I know, the book is about brains, but it gives a lot of background that we could use to find practitioners in Australia.

If you or someone you love has any brain related medical problems, I would strongly recommend a read. Pain, Parkinsons, brain injury, Autism, ASD, ADD, ADHD, cerebral palsy, stroke, etc.

Yes, some of what is discussed is cutting edge stuff, but much of it is accessible, and gives you an idea where to get help.

I found this book very difficult to finish. Not because it’s not good, but because I kept spinning myself off into side investigations (Tomatis, for example, and PoNS device, lasers, and Neurofeedback for ADD, ADHD) that I found interesting to our kids, my wife, and friends.

For most things I looked at, we found local practitioners in (or accessible from) BRISBANE, Australia. Tomatis, lasers, neurofeedback. Others are more cutting edge, or I had no need to look up.

You must read this book. It changed our life for the better.
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4

Jun 10, 2016

A fascinating update on several diverse medical applications depending on neuroplasticity that can mitigate or heal heretofore intractable health problems, like chronic pain, Parkinson's, MS, brain trauma, dyslexia, certain vision problems, etc. These approaches to medical treatment of serious conditions, generally considered chronic, sometimes involve understanding how older systems work (Tomatis, Feldenkrais), while others are very recent developments. Some treatments rely on the mind/body A fascinating update on several diverse medical applications depending on neuroplasticity that can mitigate or heal heretofore intractable health problems, like chronic pain, Parkinson's, MS, brain trauma, dyslexia, certain vision problems, etc. These approaches to medical treatment of serious conditions, generally considered chronic, sometimes involve understanding how older systems work (Tomatis, Feldenkrais), while others are very recent developments. Some treatments rely on the mind/body alone, others use technology such as lasers and neuromodulation stimulators. Together such approaches represent a few of the inspiring first fruits of our current golden age of neuroscience. ...more
5

Aug 02, 2015

Not a 'light' read and will have to revisit periodically. Some of Norman Doidge case studies seem a little flaky at first but he back everything up with science - good science! I was interested to see a fairly large section on Moshe Feldenkrais, Awareness Through Movement. I have been a long time advocate for Feldenkrais methods and this book has reinforced my understanding of the science behind them.

I highly recommend this book to anyone who suffers from chronic pain, ME, Parkinsons, Multiple Not a 'light' read and will have to revisit periodically. Some of Norman Doidge case studies seem a little flaky at first but he back everything up with science - good science! I was interested to see a fairly large section on Moshe Feldenkrais, Awareness Through Movement. I have been a long time advocate for Feldenkrais methods and this book has reinforced my understanding of the science behind them.

I highly recommend this book to anyone who suffers from chronic pain, ME, Parkinsons, Multiple Sclerosis and many other long term physical and mental problems. ...more
4

Jan 01, 2015

Deeply fascinating and important information shared in this book. I hesitate to give five stars though because sometimes the promises of healing with the therapies described really sound too good to be true particularly the chapter on light and laser therapy which makes it sound like a cure-all. Most of these therapies will probably not harm a person physically, but I am greatly concerned about the financial havoc which could be wrought. The possibilities are exciting though in what people are Deeply fascinating and important information shared in this book. I hesitate to give five stars though because sometimes the promises of healing with the therapies described really sound too good to be true particularly the chapter on light and laser therapy which makes it sound like a cure-all. Most of these therapies will probably not harm a person physically, but I am greatly concerned about the financial havoc which could be wrought. The possibilities are exciting though in what people are learning about the brain. ...more
1

July 6, 2018

Unlike his first book, total quackery. Not science based. Goes way overboard with wild claims in many cases. I can't trust this book. Very unfortunate because I loved the first one. It is also immediately apparent that he wrote this book to shock and awe (fantastic stories and more of a biograph...Full Review

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