The Brain That Changes Itself / By Norman Doidge & Mike Sheerin

Mar 14

The Brain That Changes Itself  aired on CBC (Canada) in The Nature of Things with David Suzuki. The documentary, produced by 90th Parallel productions, directed by Mike Sheerin, and co-written by Norman Doidge and Mike Sheerin. is based on the best-selling book (The Brain That Changes Itself) by Toronto psychiatrist and researcher Dr. Norman Doidge.

The Brain That Changes Itself

Join us as we explore the revolutionary science of “neuroplasticity” – a concept that expands not just our knowledge of how our brains work, but how we use them.

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Paul Bach-y-Rita developed devices that allow the blind to see again via their tactile sense, and to restore the sense of balance to people who have damage to their vestibular system. Accelerometers send tiny electrical stimuli to the patient’s tongue, training them to walk gracefully without falling again.

Barbara Arrowsmith Young, as a child, suffered from a brain dysfunction. The part of the brain that helps us understand relationships between symbols did not work well. The chapter tells about how she struggled to perform normally and how she eventually invented a treatment that helped her overcome her cognitive difficulties.

Michael Merzenich developed auditory training systems that speed up processing in the brains of dyslexics and autistic children, and it seems, in anyone who goes through the course. This allows them not only to read and write better, but to listen and communicate better.

Jeffrey Schwartz developed cognitive training, based on brain scans of patients with obsessive-compulsive disorder, that allows patients to “shift the gear” out of their brain-lock by practicing new thoughts, and new actions, instead of repeating compulsions.

Edward Taub developed “constraint-induced therapy” for people paralyzed by stroke. By constraining the good limb and forcing patients to use the affected limb, new brain circuits can be called into service to replace lost brain tissue and restore movement and sensation.

Alvaro Pascual-Leone, neurologist,  explains how mental rehearsal changes brain structure, and how novices who use their imaginations to mentally rehearse practicing a melody on the piano systematically, develop the same brain circuits as novices who physically practice the melody.

Vilayanur S. Ramachandran (V.S. Ramachandran) helps patients who have pain or other annoying feelings coming from their phantom (imagined) limb, by having them practice moving their good arm next to a mirror that somehow tricks the brain into thinking the phantom limb can move too.

Jordan Grafman is a research scientist who tests the upper limits of neuroplasticity. He is trying to figure out how Michelle Mack, a woman with half a brain, is able to function and further develop her brain even though it is missing one of its hemisphere.


The Brain That Changes Itself

The Brain That Changes Itself - READ REVIEWS on AMAZON


ABC’s All in the Mind with Dr. Norman Doidge:

PART #1:


[Direct Download]

PART #2:


[Direct Download]


Jeffrey Schwartz
Associate Research Professor of Psychiatry
School of Medicine
University of California Los Angeles
Los Angeles

Title: The Brain that Changes Itself: Stories of Personal Triumph from Frontiers of Brain Science
Author: Norman Doidge, M.D
Publisher: Scribe / Penguin / James H. Silberman Books / 2007
ISBN-10: 0143113100 / ISBN-13: 978-0143113102

Title: The Mind and the Brain: Neuroplasticity and the Power of Mental Force
Author: Jeffrey Schwartz and Sharon Begley
Publisher: Regan Books / 2002 / Harper Perennial / 2003
ISBN-10: 0060988479 / ISBN-13: 978-0060988470

ABC’s All in the Mind Blog:

Kerry O’Brien Interviews Norman Doidge on ABC TV’s 7:30 Report (Australian Broadcasting Corporation, September 2008):

Balancing Act – Paul Bach-y-Rita’s work (University of Wisconsin-Madison Alumni magazine, Spring 2007):

Norman Doidge, M.D., is a psychiatrist, psychoanalyst, researcher, author, essayist and poet. He is on the Research Faculty at  Columbia University’s Center for Psychoanalytic Training and Research, in New York, and the University of Toronto’s Department of Psychiatry.

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