Has anyone read the book, "The Brain that Changes Itself"? by fledgling
...By Dr. Norman Doidge.
I saw an interview with him tonight, and without bothering too much with the 'technical' explanations, I saw that one could alter most any brain/body function with ease.
The study is neuroplasticity, and some dandy things have been done with it.
Have you looked into this?
Re: Has anyone read the book, "The Brain that Changes Itself"? by fledgling
The point Dr. Doidge seemed to be making was that, since the brain is so flexible, most any part of the brain, or body, can substitute for any other.
He told of an eye surgeon who had a stroke, and lost the use of one side of his body. The regular treatment for stroke victims did not do much to restore the use of his hand.
Somehow he bypassed the damaged part of his brain, created new brain pathways to operate the movements of the immobile side of his body, and was back to doing eye surgery...in six weeks.
Probably this is not the best example to begin with since I missed the explanation of 'how'. I think it was through the use of a mirror. The surgeon viewed the 'good' side of his body, I think, and retrained his brain to notice...something like that.
Some people gain 'hearing' through cochlear implants. Nanette Fabray did very well onstage, singing and dancing, by 'feeling' the music through her feet, etc. (At least one website says that recovery of her hearing was accomplished through four surgeries...though I distincly remember her saying, in one interview, that she was using her feet, as her hearing diminished.)
Of course, the blind may 'read' through their fingertips, using Braille. And the deaf learn to 'speak', though I remember that takes a long time of practice with a coach.
One researcher taught a blind person to 'see' through their tongue, by stimulating with a small battery charge...as best I can remember the explanation.
A fellow who had lost a limb felt a terrible 'phantom' itch in it, which he couldn't scratch. His researcher lightly scratched the fellow's cheek...and gave him relief.
There seems to be a barrier to creating new brain pathways. They called this 'rigidity'. Dr. Doidge suggested that the person simply sees the part as useless, and stops using it...gives up.
One story I didn't follow too closely was the case of a woman who fell a lot. Her researcher gave her some kind of a hard hat, connected in some way to a gyro. Before long, when she put on the hat, she completely relaxed, and didn't fall/was 'balanced'...something like that.
More, there was a 'residual' effect to one of the hats. At first, the desired effect lasted a few moments after the hat was removed. Then, time after time, the 'residual' effect grew longer and longer in duration, until the hat was no longer needed. All the person had to do was 'think' of the hat.
They seemed to be saying that these results took only a matter of weeks to establish.
The program (interview) spoke of helping Alzheimers patients, and those with Parkinsons.
My mind leapt to 'biofeedback', where I had instantly lowered my blood pressure by 14 points, with only five minutes of complete relaxation...slumping in my chair, alone in a little room at the blood donation center. A senior nurse taught me that.
Maybe we can 'learn', and 'relearn' to do most anything, even internal stuff...by simply creating new pathways in the brain, with easy reminders...not needing to know exactly 'how' our systems work.
I taught myself to tuck a baby finger into the palm, to remember a point I wanted to add to a conversation, when there was an opportunity to speak.
In writing, I used to get a point to make, and even the very words to use, only to forget it a moment later. Somehow, now, after a few years of practice, I can fish up the exact words I need, when I am ready.
Dr. Doidge referred to 'practice' as a valuable tool.
He also mentioned sexual practices as being 'learned' from visual and other clues, re-inforced by pleasure. He seemed to be saying that 'new' sexual stimuli could be 'learned'...which surprised me. I had heard that wasn't possible.
Maybe people just usually don't, because of the images that abound.
The TV program, "I Can Make You Thin" tells of a tool to associate horrible ideas with whatever food you crave, by imagining a plate of something you hate, and chewing a mouthful of it...then imagining worms in it, or hair from the barbershop floor...then switching to the food you crave...AND touching the thumb and middle finger of the LEFT hand.
Then thinking of something you enjoyed, like falling in love, or receiving an award, while touching the thumb and middle finger of the RIGHT hand.
From this it was suggested that we have created tools to turn on or off our desires, allowing us to choose to eat a food, or not, by simply using the appropriate hand, thumb and middle finger touching.
They showed a gal who craved chocolate so much that she ate 5 pounds
of chocolate, daily! Given the 'tool' she lost her craving.
Of course, her five pounds
daily consumption may have been a fantasy...but do we really care? The image perhaps is enough. We CAN give ourselves simple 'tools' to turn off emotional eating...when we wish to.
The word 'cancel' is useful to wipe out thoughts we don't wish to have, I have found.
I also found it very useful to stick a picture of myself at age 16 on my mirror, at a time when I wanted to lose weight. I think I could have used any picture, of anyone I liked, instead...maybe substituting my own face.
It is the simplicity of these 'triggers' that intrigues me most. We need not make so much effort to 'figure it all out'.
Do you agree?
Re: Has anyone read the book, "The Brain that Changes Itself"? by #38976
No - have not read the book, but thanks for the reminder - I watched part of the PBS "Brain Fitness" series and Tivo'd the rest to enjoy w/my husband.
The series is extremely interesting and quite encouraging.
Sadly, the program was erased before we got a chance to watch it (setting was: keep until next day at 4:00 we did not notice) and had not remembered the name until your post today. Now I know what to search for to watch it again.
The book must be equally enlightening.
I do remember that one of their findings was that the best method for keeping the brain young was: exercise - just walking 20 minutes a day would do (!!!:) and not necessarily all at once.
Thank you for sharing and for always posting such interesting thoughts and findings.
Thanks, MadArt (ist) by fledgling
I've been noticing that title. I'll take a peek.
I haven't read "The Brain that Changes Itself", either...but I will.
The good doctor emphasized 'practice'...a kind of 'use it or lose it' idea.
And walking is a dandy idea!
A healthcare practitioner said every visit, to walk, outdoors, daily. Wish he'd added 'reprogram your brain'.
One program mentioned that some may only manage to get to the end of the driveway, and back. Bet they got further, by repetition!
Today, I'm snapping my fingers over my middle...just in case.
Kind of knocks out the put-down of 'magical thinking', doesn't it?! Anyone can improve, at any age.