Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Norman Doidge: The Neuroplasticity Revolution (An Update)

This is from last September in Australia - but it was only available as a radio broadcast then, and not as long as this version. 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. He is is the author of The Brain That Changes Itself: Stories of Personal Triumph from the Frontiers of Brain Science.
What is brain plasticity? It's a term that explains how brain functions aren't rigid and set in stone at an early age, but rather are changeable and adaptable. Put simply, an old dog CAN learn new tricks...but they need to apply themselves. It's "use it, or lose it."

In his return to the Brisbane Writers Festival, Norman Doidge gives an update on some of the latest findings relating to brain plasticity. He explains how understanding that the brain can change itself has huge potential for new treatments for neurological problems, and can also inform what we know about how the human brain grows, learns and adapts.

Doidge tells the remarkable story of how, in his last visit to Brisbane in 2008, he met a woman Jane Gapp whose daughter had the incurable condition Locked-In Syndrome. Reading Doidge's book compelled Gapp to persevere in her attempts to help her daughter recover, and she has since pulled her out of her "Locked-In" state.

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