"The brain can change itself. It is a plastic, living organ that can actually change its own structure and function, even into old age. Arguably the most important breakthrough in neuroscience since scientists first sketched out the brain's basic anatomy, this revolutionary discovery, called neuroplasticity, promises to overthrow the centuries-old notion that the brain is fixed and unchanging." So says psychiatrist and researcher Norman Doidge, MD.
In his book "The Brain That Changes Itself" Dr. Doidge examines the cases of a woman born with half a brain that rewired itself to work as a whole, a woman labeled retarded who cured her deficits with brain exercises and now cures those of others, blind people learning to see, learning disorders cured, IQs raised, aging brains rejuvenated, painful phantom limbs erased, stroke patients recovering their faculties, children with cerebral palsy learning to move more gracefully, entrenched depression and anxiety disappearing, and lifelong character traits altered.
Dr. Doidge, author most recently of "The Brain's Way of Healing," says that through the emerging science of neuroplasticity we have learned that our thoughts can switch our genes on and off, altering our brain anatomy and that we can develop machines that can follow these physical changes in order to read people's thoughts, allowing the paralyzed to control computers and electronics just by thinking.
Norman Doidge, M.D., is on faculty at the University of Toronto's Department of Psychiatry, and Research Faculty at Columbia University's Center for Psychoanalytic Training and Research, in New York.
Dr. Doidge is coming to Utah for an event on March 31st at 7:00 p.m. at The Grand America in Salt Lake City, presented by Avalon Hills Foundation. He joins us for Monday's AU. We'll also be joined in studio by several people who will recount their stories of progress aided by research in neuroplasticity