The Brain’s Way of Healing by Norman Doidge

doidge-brainhealingDoidge, Norman. The Brain’s Way of Healing: Remarkable Discoveries and Recoveries from the Frontiers of Neuroplasticity. New York: Viking, 2015. Print.

Genre: Nonfiction (although don’t be surprised if you often think you’re reading scifi!)

Summary: Imagination heals chronic pain. Meditation reverses blindness. Walking stops the onset of Parkinson’s. Red LED lights heal arthritis or physical disabilities caused by brain defects. Music reverses the symptoms of autism, dyslexia, or ADHD.

Sounds like the stuff of tabloid headlines, right? Well, the title is not kidding when it proclaims”from the frontiers.” The only people getting you closer to these seemingly futuristic frontiers are Isaac Asimov, Andy Weir, and James S. A. Corey.

Critique: The first chapter is so riveting, you can’t help but worry that the rest of the book will dud. Isn’t that how the bulk of these controversial medical narratives go? Part one: hype. Part two: snore.

Fear not with Doidge! Every chapter features a compelling braid of stories featuring innovative researchers, determined doctors, and actively engaged patients (both young and old) who bring about amazing neurological transformations and physical or psychological recoveries. And every chapter effectively outshines its predecessor!

Additionally, Doidge’s narratives place you in the skin of someone living with a debilitating brain injury, disorder, or dysfunction. You come away with a more comprehensive understanding and compassionate perspective on what life is like when you share it with these substantial challenges.

After centuries of cutting the body up, down, and inside out, medical science and treatment undergo a complete paradigm shift in this book! Doidge provides a veritable cornucopia of noninvasive, non-surgical, and drug-free neuroplastic treatments and therapies for Parkinson’s, MS, autism, reading disorders, blindness, , , , The list goes on and on. The astounding results are backed by research and ongoing studies.The ability of the brain and body to partner up and heal a disorder, injury, or disease thrusts the patient out of the passive victim role, straight into the driver’s seat of recovery. Eastern remedies combine with Western technologies. Mind unites with body. Neurons grow, die, regrow, and grow better than before. The results are nothing short of revolutionary!

Read this book if for no other reason than to flirt with wonderment. Dance with the bedazzling. Intimate yourself with the impossible. And perhaps if you or someone you care about lives alongside pain, disease, or disability, this book may help you find a viable route to hope and recovery when all other signs previously pointed to despair.

The Art of Smart: Creativity Proves Good for Growing Brains and Brains Growing Older

brain_and_art

Image by BrainArt1.

Recently, I published an article with the Durango Telegraph about recent studies in neuroscience showing how the brain definitely benefits from doing art. Singing, dancing, painting, writing, riffing, you name it! Art stimulates various regions of the young brain, helping it mature, while staving off the atrophy of old age. And, as an added bonus, art trains the brain to focus.

Focus does not come naturally to a species that evolved to constantly monitor its surroundings for dangerous saber-toothed predators. However, neuroscience continues to show that intense focus, or “flow,” may be the key to less stress, greater happiness, and a much smarter mind!

Here’s an excerpt from the piece:

Margaux Newby, 10, loves art. When she is working on a project, she says, “I feel like I am really where I’m supposed to be.” To her, art is a way to express her emotions.

What Margaux may not yet know is that artistic endeavors – painting, dancing, acting, sculpting, writing, and so forth – are physically altering her brain. A flurry of recent neuroscience studies has revealed how art benefits the brains of kids, adults and seniors.

Read the whole article.