Book Review

In my last book review, I highlighted Neuroscientist/Adjunct Stanford University Professor David Eagleman’s breakdown of the human brain. In his book, The Brain: The Story of You, Professor Eagleman discusses the inner workings and functionality of our brains. One aspect that piqued my interest was our brain’s ability to rewire itself. This led me to Dr. Phillipe Douyon’s work, Neuroplasticity: Your Brain’s Superpower.

Remarkably, the ways in which the brain changes itself are not necessarily automatic, involuntary activities. Our actions play a significant role in neuroplasticity. Through awareness and understanding of the methods of neuroplasticity, we can actually establish a new relationship with our brains. We are not passive bystanders or potential causalities of a neurological injury. Instead, we can be active players controlling our brains evolution, using them the way we wish, instead of letting our brains use us.

In Neuroplasticity: Your Brain’s Superpower, Dr. Douyon teaches us how to have a different relationship with our brains. Our brain’s natural ability to heal and rewire itself from injuries, addictions, and other degenerative illnesses is a power that many of us aren’t aware of. With this book, a new understanding of the world of neuroscience is presented, and new hope for those ready to take control of their lives is offered.

Like Professor Eagleman, Dr. Douyon’s work was a surprisingly smooth read. He unpacks the structure of the brain, its connections and influences, and he provides ways that we can heal it after it’s been damaged.

Some interesting points that I took from the book are as follows:

  • Neuroplasticity is an understanding of how the brain is influenced and how it continuously changes with every experience and encounter.
  • Our brains can naturally change in several ways.
    • Neurogenesis: the birth of new neurons. It’s one of the critical ways in which the brain changes its structure.
    • Synaptogenesis: the creation of new connections between nerve cells. It takes place continuously with every experience or thought we have.
    • Developmental Neuroplasticity: our brain’s response to cues it receives from our environment. This phenomenon occurs early in life, with the neurons strengthening their connections from environmental influences.
    • Compensatory Masquerade: the reorganization of neurons after a neuronal network has been damaged.
    • Cross Model Reassignment: when an area of the brain is deprived of its main stimulus, different functions are developed in response to it. For example, the brain of a blind person changes to allow them to interpret the world through physical contact instead of sight.
    • Cortical Remapping or Map Expansion: after carrying out a behavior frequently or continuously reinforcing information, this is the part of the brain responsible for strengthening the developed skill.
  • Neuroinfluence is everything that impacts our brain’s development.
  • Positive Neuroinfluence: anything that promotes neurogenesis and synaptogenesis. For example, listening to new ideas, reading, thinking about things in a new way, developing new skills, exercising, and living a healthy lifestyle.
  • Negative Neuroinfluence: anything that impairs or destroys neurons and synapses. For example, drugs, alcohol, brain injuries, concussions, brain disease, stress, etc.
  • Strokes, seizures, Parkinson’s disease, memory loss, and stress can all be cured by practicing neuroplasticity. Healing a brain injury will require diligence and a conscious effort to rebuild lost connections.
  • Exercise is one of the most dominant manipulators of neuroplasticity, and it’s a powerful positive neuroinfluencer.

As I’ve previously stated, more books on the brain will be read. So stay tuned!

Until Next Time…

(Sources)

Photo Credit: Supply and Demand Chain Executive and Amazon

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