Plasticity of the Brain

The Brain That Changes Itself: Stories of Personal Triumph from the Frontiers of Brain Science (James H. Silberman Books)

A very inspiring book.

It was assumed in the past that the brain is like a machine. It was supposed to have specialized centers with fixed locations. It was assumed that only in early infancy, in specific critical periods, the brain is plastic and can change. Therefore, until recently, conventional wisdom held that if   functionality was lost through brain damage the loss was irrevocable.  Most forms of neurological  disorder were considered incurable.

This book’s  premise is that our brain is more plastic then was previously thought. Given the right stimulus,  the brain behaves like a living organism. It  can be trained; it  can change  structure, compensate and adjust for a disability; it can even  recover  functions and develop new functions in adulthood.

Each chapter describes a different method that was used to successfully  overcome a neurological induced disability, from inborn learning disability, to stoke, to traumatic brain injury. This description is done through detailed case histories and interviews. The methods used range anywhere from complex machines to software to prescribed exercises.

Since neurology and psychiatry are closely intertwined, the book deals with some psychiatric disorders such as as Obsessive Compulsive disorder (OCD), sexual addiction, and depression.  I believe that the principles outlined in this book can and will be used in the future to treat  more mental health disorder disorders and enable people to recover.