“The Brain’s Way of Healing”: Neuroplasticity Explained By Norman Doidge

Psychiatrist Norman Doidge is on the cutting edge of the study of neuroplasticity, the subject of his book The Brain’s Way of Healing.

Asked by Leigh SalesABC.netto define the term, Doidge broke it down: “Well, neuro is for neurons, the nerve cells in the brain, and plasticity means adaptable, changeable and modifiable. And neuroplasticity is that property of the brain that allows it to change its structure and function in response to activity and mental experience.”

Although Doidge explains in The Brain’s Way of Healing that there are “critical periods of plasticity in early life” he also says “(w)e’re plastic until we die.”

John B. Saul, Seattle Times“Doidge explains the processes of the brain and body in a clear and understandable way, even to those of us who previously couldn’t distinguish a hippocampus from a hippopotamus…For someone who suffers — or knows someone who suffers — from an injury or illness related to the brain, both this book as well as Doidge’s previous will provide information — and perhaps hope — that the brain can heal itself.”

In The Guardian Doidge recently listed five ways to improve brainpower. Click on the link for details:

  1. Walk two miles a day–“Regular exercise, such as walking, has been shown to be a key factor in reducing the risk of dementia by 60%.”
  2. Learn a new dance (or language or musical instrument)–these and other things engage the nucleus basalis part of the brain.
  3. Do serious brain exercises–“These exercises are very different from most computer brain games or those in newspapers; they are very challenging and require intense concentration.”
  4. Pay close attention to your voice–“If you listen very carefully to what you are saying as you speak – to the sound of it, not just the content – you will refine it, and energise it, into a voice that charges, as opposed to one that drains yourself and others.”
  5. Get the rest your body requests.

Charles Euchner, Boston Globe: “In this age of distraction and unnatural environments and actions — like staring at screens all day — brain science offers all kinds of useful techniques to care for our infinitely complex selves. Norman Doidge’s work is a Michelin Guide to this hopeful new trove of knowledge and insight.”

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