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Hamlet Nekrasov
Hamlet Nekrasov

The Power of Neuroplasticity: What You Can Learn from The Brain That Changes Itself


The Brain That Changes Itself: A Book Review




Have you ever wondered if you can change your brain? If you can improve your memory, intelligence, creativity, or mood? If you can recover from brain damage, trauma, or addiction? If you can alter your personality, habits, or behaviors?




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If you answered yes to any of these questions, then you might be interested in reading The Brain That Changes Itself, a bestselling book by Norman Doidge, a psychiatrist and researcher who explores the amazing phenomenon of neuroplasticity.


Neuroplasticity is the ability of the brain to change itself in response to experience, learning, and stimulation. It means that the brain is not fixed or hardwired, but flexible and adaptable. It means that we can shape our brains and our lives by what we do, think, feel, and imagine.


In this book review, I will summarize the main themes, stories, lessons, criticisms, and benefits of reading The Brain That Changes Itself. I will also provide some information on how to get the book in different formats, such as mobi or epub.


The Main Themes of the Book




The book consists of eleven chapters, each focusing on a different aspect of neuroplasticity. Here are some of the main themes that Doidge explores in his book:


Neuroplasticity: How the brain can change itself through experience and learning




Doidge introduces the concept of neuroplasticity in the first chapter, where he explains how scientists discovered that the brain can reorganize itself by forming new connections between neurons. He also explains how this discovery challenged the traditional view of the brain as a static machine that cannot be modified after a certain age.


He shows how neuroplasticity allows us to learn new skills, acquire new knowledge, adapt to new situations, and cope with new challenges. He also shows how neuroplasticity can be influenced by various factors, such as attention, motivation, emotion, stress, diet, exercise, drugs, and environment.


Neurogenesis: How the brain can grow new neurons and connections




Doidge expands on the idea of neuroplasticity in the second chapter, where he discusses the phenomenon of neurogenesis, or the birth of new neurons in the brain. He explains how scientists discovered that the brain can generate new cells throughout life, especially in the hippocampus, a region involved in memory and learning.


He shows how neurogenesis can enhance our cognitive abilities, such as memory, learning, creativity, and problem-solving. He also shows how neurogenesis can be stimulated by various activities, such as physical exercise, mental stimulation, social interaction, and novelty.


Neurorehabilitation: How the brain can recover from injury and disease




Doidge explores the applications of neuroplasticity in the field of neurorehabilitation in the third to sixth chapters, where he presents several stories of people who recovered from various brain conditions, such as stroke, brain injury, Parkinson's disease, chronic pain, and phantom limb syndrome.


He shows how neuroplasticity can help the brain heal and restore itself by using different methods, such as brain exercises, electrical stimulation, biofeedback, virtual reality, and mirror therapy. He also shows how neuroplasticity can help the brain compensate for lost functions by using other regions or senses.


The Main Stories of the Book




The book is full of fascinating stories of people who changed their brains and their lives by using neuroplasticity. Here are some of the main stories that Doidge shares in his book:


The Woman Who Rewired Her Brain: How Barbara Arrowsmith-Young overcame her learning disabilities by creating her own brain exercises




In the fourth chapter, Doidge tells the story of Barbara Arrowsmith-Young, a woman who was born with severe learning disabilities that affected her ability to read, write, speak, understand, and reason. She was labeled as "slow" and "retarded" by her teachers and peers, and struggled to cope with everyday tasks.


However, she refused to give up on herself and decided to study neuroscience to find a way to improve her brain. She discovered that she could use specific brain exercises to target and strengthen her weak areas. She created her own program of cognitive exercises and spent hours every day doing them.


As a result, she was able to rewire her brain and overcome her learning disabilities. She went on to become a successful scholar, teacher, and author. She also founded the Arrowsmith School, where she helps other people with learning difficulties to change their brains and lives.


The Man Who Learned to See: How Michael May regained his vision after being blind for 43 years




In the fifth chapter, Doidge tells the story of Michael May, a man who lost his sight at the age of three due to a chemical explosion. He grew up as a blind person who relied on his other senses to navigate the world. He became a successful entrepreneur, adventurer, and family man.


However, he always wondered what it would be like to see again. When he was 46 years old, he underwent a corneal transplant surgery that restored his eyesight. He was able to see for the first time in 43 years.


However, he soon realized that seeing was not as easy as he expected. He had to learn how to interpret the visual information that his eyes were sending to his brain. He had to train his brain to recognize shapes, colors, distances, movements, faces, and emotions. He had to balance his new sense with his old ones.


He faced many challenges and frustrations along the way, but he also experienced many joys and discoveries. He learned to appreciate the beauty and complexity of vision. He also learned to appreciate his blindness as a part of his identity and history.


The Man Who Grew a New Brain: How Edward Taub helped stroke patients regain movement by using constraint-induced therapy




In the sixth chapter, Doidge tells the story of Edward Taub, a neuroscientist who developed a revolutionary method of treating stroke patients who lost movement in their limbs. He discovered that he could use constraint-induced therapy (CIT) to rewire their brains and restore their functions.


CIT involves restraining the unaffected limb and forcing the affected limb to perform various tasks for several hours a day. This creates a demand for the affected limb and stimulates the brain to form new connections and pathways. It also prevents learned non-use syndrome, where the patient stops using the affected limb due to lack of feedback or reward.


The Woman Who Changed Her Personality: How Sharon Begley transformed her mind by practicing Buddhist meditation




In the ninth chapter, Doidge tells the story of Sharon Begley, a science journalist who was interested in the effects of meditation on the brain. She participated in a study conducted by Richard Davidson, a neuroscientist who measured the brain activity of meditators and non-meditators.


She learned that meditation can change the brain in many ways, such as increasing the activity of the left prefrontal cortex, a region associated with positive emotions and well-being. She also learned that meditation can reduce the activity of the amygdala, a region associated with negative emotions and stress.


She decided to try meditation for herself and see if it could change her personality. She was a self-described pessimist who suffered from anxiety and depression. She hoped that meditation could make her happier and more resilient.


She enrolled in a retreat led by Matthieu Ricard, a Buddhist monk who was known as the happiest man in the world. She practiced various types of meditation, such as mindfulness, compassion, and loving-kindness. She noticed that her mood improved and her thoughts became more positive. She also noticed that her behavior changed and she became more kind and generous.


She realized that meditation had changed her brain and her personality. She became more optimistic, calm, and joyful. She also became more curious and open-minded about other cultures and beliefs.


The Main Lessons of the Book




The book is full of valuable lessons that can help us understand ourselves and our potential better. Here are some of the main lessons that Doidge teaches us in his book:


The brain is not fixed, but flexible and adaptable




One of the most important lessons of the book is that the brain is not a rigid or immutable organ that cannot be changed after a certain age or stage. Rather, the brain is a dynamic and malleable organ that can change throughout life in response to experience, learning, and stimulation.


This means that we are not stuck with the brain or the abilities that we are born with or that we have acquired. We can always improve our brain and our abilities by engaging in activities that challenge and stimulate our brain. We can also prevent or reverse the decline of our brain and our abilities by avoiding activities that damage or dull our brain.


The brain can be trained and improved through mental exercises and challenges




Another important lesson of the book is that the brain can be trained and improved through mental exercises and challenges that target specific areas or functions. Just like we can train our muscles by doing physical exercises, we can train our brain by doing mental exercises.


This means that we can enhance our cognitive abilities, such as memory, learning, creativity, problem-solving, attention, concentration, language, logic, etc., by doing tasks that require us to use these abilities. We can also improve our emotional abilities, such as mood, motivation, confidence, empathy, etc., by doing tasks that involve these abilities.


Some examples of mental exercises and challenges that Doidge suggests in his book are: playing chess or sudoku, learning a new language or instrument, reading a challenging book or article, solving a puzzle or riddle, writing a story or poem, meditating or praying, etc.


The brain can heal and restore itself with the right stimulation and support




A third important lesson of the book is that the brain can heal and restore itself with the right stimulation and support after suffering from injury or disease. The brain has an amazing capacity to recover from damage by using its own resources or by recruiting other regions or senses.


This means that we can help our brain heal and restore itself by providing it with the appropriate stimulation and support. We can stimulate our brain by exposing it to novel and diverse stimuli that activate different regions or senses. We can support our brain by giving it positive feedback and reward that encourage its growth and development.


Some examples of stimulation and support that Doidge recommends in his book are: using electrical stimulation or biofeedback devices, using virtual reality or mirror therapy systems, using music or art therapy techniques, using cognitive behavioral therapy or mindfulness-based therapy methods, using social support or peer support networks, etc.


The Main Criticisms of the Book




The book is not without its flaws and limitations. Here are some of the main criticisms that have been raised against the book:


The book is too optimistic and ignores the limitations and risks of neuroplasticity




Some critics have argued that the book is too optimistic and ignores the limitations and risks of neuroplasticity. They claim that the book exaggerates the benefits and possibilities of neuroplasticity and downplays the challenges and difficulties of changing the brain.


They point out that neuroplasticity is not always positive or beneficial, but can also be negative or harmful. For example, neuroplasticity can lead to maladaptive changes in the brain, such as addiction, chronic pain, phantom limb syndrome, etc. Neuroplasticity can also be influenced by genetic, environmental, and social factors that are beyond our control.


They also point out that neuroplasticity is not always easy or accessible, but can also be hard or costly. For example, neuroplasticity requires a lot of time, effort, motivation, and resources to achieve. Neuroplasticity can also be limited by age, stage, or condition of the brain.


The book is too anecdotal and lacks scientific rigor and evidence




Another criticism of the book is that it is too anecdotal and lacks scientific rigor and evidence. They claim that the book relies too much on personal stories and testimonials and not enough on empirical data and experiments. They also claim that the book cherry-picks the most favorable and sensational cases and ignores the less successful or contradictory ones.


They point out that many of the stories and methods in the book are not supported by rigorous scientific research or peer-reviewed publications. They also point out that many of the stories and methods in the book are not generalizable or replicable to other populations or situations.


The book is too simplistic and overlooks the complexity and diversity of the brain




A third criticism of the book is that it is too simplistic and overlooks the complexity and diversity of the brain. They claim that the book presents a one-size-fits-all approach to neuroplasticity and does not account for the individual differences and variations in the brain.


They point out that the brain is not a uniform or homogeneous organ, but a complex and diverse organ that consists of many regions, systems, networks, cells, molecules, etc. They also point out that the brain is not a isolated or independent organ, but a connected and interdependent organ that interacts with other organs, systems, bodies, environments, etc.


The Main Benefits of Reading the Book




The book is not without its merits and strengths. Here are some of the main benefits of reading the book:


The book is inspiring and empowering for anyone who wants to change their brain and their life




One of the main benefits of reading the book is that it is inspiring and empowering for anyone who wants to change their brain and their life. The book shows us that we have more control and influence over our brain than we think. It shows us that we can improve our brain and our abilities by engaging in activities that challenge and stimulate our brain. It also shows us that we can help our brain heal and restore itself by providing it with stimulation and support.


The book gives us hope and motivation to pursue our goals and dreams. It gives us confidence and courage to overcome our obstacles and difficulties. It gives us tools and strategies to enhance our performance and well-being.


The book is informative and educational for anyone who wants to learn more about the brain and its potential




and its potential. The book provides us with a lot of interesting and useful information about the brain and how it works. It also provides us with a lot of insights and discoveries about the brain and what it can do.


The book teaches us about the science and history of neuroplasticity and neurogenesis. It teaches us about the anatomy and physiology of the brain and its regions and functions. It teaches us about the psychology and sociology of the brain and its emotions and behaviors.


The book is entertaining and engaging for anyone who enjoys reading stories of human triumph and transformation




A third benefit of reading the book is that it is entertaining and engaging for anyone who enjoys reading stories of human triumph and transformation. The book is full of captivating and compelling stories of people who changed their brains and their lives by using neuroplasticity.


The book introduces us to a variety of characters and personalities, such as scientists, doctors, patients, teachers, students, monks, journalists, etc. It also introduces us to a variety of situations and scenarios, such as learning disabilities, blindness, stroke, pain, personality change, etc.


The book takes us on a journey of exploration and adventure, where we witness the challenges and struggles, as well as the achievements and successes, of these people. The book also takes us on a journey of reflection and inspiration, where we learn from their experiences and apply them to our own lives.


Conclusion




In conclusion, The Brain That Changes Itself is a book that explores the amazing phenomenon of neuroplasticity, or the ability of the brain to change itself in response to experience, learning, and stimulation. The book presents various themes, stories, lessons, criticisms, and benefits of neuroplasticity.


The book is a valuable resource for anyone who wants to change their brain and their life. It is also a fascinating read for anyone who wants to learn more about the brain and its potential. It is also a enjoyable read for anyone who likes reading stories of human triumph and transformation.


If you are interested in reading The Brain That Changes Itself, you can get it in different formats, such as mobi or epub. Mobi is a format that is compatible with Kindle devices and apps. Epub is a format that is compatible with most other e-readers and apps. You can download or purchase the book in these formats from various online sources.


FAQs




Here are some frequently asked questions about The Brain That Changes Itself:


Who is the author of The Brain That Changes Itself?




The author of The Brain That Changes Itself is Norman Doidge, a psychiatrist and researcher who specializes in neuroplasticity. He is also the author of another book on neuroplasticity called The Brain's Way of Healing.


When was The Brain That Changes Itself published?




The Brain That Changes Itself was first published in 2007 by Penguin Books. It has since been translated into more than 20 languages and sold more than one million copies worldwide.


What is the main message of The Brain That Changes Itself?




The main message of The Brain That Changes Itself is that the brain is not fixed or hardwired, but flexible and adaptable. It means that we can shape our brains and our lives by what we do, think, feel, and imagine.


What are some examples of neuroplasticity in action?




Some examples of neuroplasticity in action are: learning a new skill or language, recovering from a stroke or brain injury, changing your personality or mood, overcoming a phobia or addiction, etc.


How can I apply neuroplasticity to my own life?




You can apply neuroplasticity to your own life by engaging in activities that challenge and stimulate your brain, such as: playing games or puzzles, learning new things, reading books or articles, writing stories or poems, meditating or praying, exercising or dancing, etc. 71b2f0854b


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