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Norman Doige Book [2015] on Neuroplasticity and Healing the Brain + [TDCS]

Discussion in 'Neurological/Neuro-sensory' started by Wayne, Apr 14, 2015.

  1. Wayne

    Wayne Senior Member

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    Dr. Oz Show - Montel Williams and Dr. Doidge on Healing the Brain

    I watched the above 3-4 minute segment on the Dr. Oz show yesterday. I found it intriguing, and liked what Dr. Doige had to say. Afterwards, I discovered my local library has his latest book, entitled...

    The Brain's Way of Healing: Remarkable Discoveries and Recoveries from the Frontiers of Neuroplasticity

    I found this review on Amazon...

    The principles of brain plasticity presented by Doidge can be summarized as follows (chapter 3):
    -
    Events such as strokes, infections, head injuries, radiation, toxins and degenerative processes cause brain injury and affect our neurons. While some neurons die following such events, the new science is showing us that some neurons start to signal in irregular ways following injury, which can make the brain "noisy" and confused. Other neurons become dormant (referred to as "non-use"). Improvement is based on the extent to which these neurons can heal, rewire, and recover from changes in function.
    .......................................

    I'll be getting this book soon, and will get back with a book review after I'm done reading it.
     
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2015
  2. Sasha

    Sasha Fine, thank you

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    I read his earlier book on neuroplasticity and thought it was very good.
     
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  3. ahmo

    ahmo Senior Member

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    I also have his first book. Doidge will be one of the presenters in a current NICABM 6 part webinar on neuroplasticity. I watched the first presentation last week.
    The series is broadcast for free on Thursdays, 5:00PM, and 6:30PM repeat, EDT. After that it's available for a package fee. I read many invites from NICABM, and then signed up for the Tara Brach Mindfulness training for my DH, which I'm also listening to. I've been very impressed with the quality. They say neuroplasticity can show brain changes in something like 6 weeks of a daily practice.:thumbsup:

    http://www.nicabm.com/brain2015/lay/info/
     
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  4. Ema

    Ema Senior Member

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    Loved this book! Highly recommended.

    It's so easy to believe that changes to the brain are only one way and typically negative. But the brain is amazing and has often under-appreciated abilities to adapt and regenerate. I found this book (and others like it) extremely hopeful and inspiring. That's worth it's weight in gold.
     
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  5. Wayne

    Wayne Senior Member

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    I just got around to watching this 8-min. PBS segment on TDCS from two weeks ago--seems to fit in well with this thread. It's gotten me pretty intrigued about whether this could improve some of my own very difficult cognitive dysfunction.

    How a gentle electrical jolt can focus a sluggish mind

    Need a coffee to get going in the morning? A jolt of electrical current could be more stimulating. Lighting up the brain with small amounts of electricity can dramatically improve mental focus, researchers have found. Science correspondent Miles O’Brien gets wired up to explore the potential uses.
     
  6. waiting

    waiting Senior Member

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    Me, too. Back in 2009 when he was doing press for the book, he did an interview that accepted questions from the public. This was mine:

    Question: Your book discusses several doctors and researchers who are implementing practical solutions that help people with brain injuries -- do you know of any doctors/researchers who are helping people with information processing, memory and/or attention problems that are caused by Chronic Fatigue Syndrome?

    Answer: Lately I have heard reports that neurofeedback, in the hands of a good practitioner, can help some people with Chronic Fatigue. I would google "eeg spectrum" and their website for information on this. They post a few studies as well.
    --------------------------------------------

    I recall looking the info up, but had too much on my plate and so was unable to research it further. I would have wanted to know more about what theory their treatment is based on.
     
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  7. DataDude

    DataDude

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    NEUROFEEDBACK
    I have previously tried neurofeedback, about 30 sessions, but didn't experience improvement. This was around 2002. The gentleman who treated me suggested that he would have expected to see more changes by that stage of treatment, and recommended we discontinue. Normally he saw the start of improvements by the 15-20 session mark, and they peaked anywhere from 40-60 sessions, if I recall. As he didn't seem motivated by getting my money, and had described strong improvements in other patients, I suspect that it might work for some people.

    TDCS
    I also tried TDCS using a home-kit I created following instructions I found on YouTube and inexpensive products from an electrical store.

    I do not recommend that anyone else do this, and if you choose to you bear the risks. For me, the risks seem lower than things like getting many dozens of intravenous injections of substances that lack significant evidence of efficacy for my condition but which particular doctors claim might be effective (which I've done), taking antidepressants which some researchers say are potentially damaging to the neural architecture of the brain while lacking evidence of efficacy (which I've done, and regret), risking irreversible head injury playing ice hockey or horse-back riding (which I've done), etc. We all have to make up our own minds about risks :)

    One of the dangers with home-made TDCS is that the current can fluctuate in a home device, particularly when you don't know how to construct electronics (I don't know much). Current can be regulated if you know what you're doing.

    For safety, I ran the current through a voltmeter to make sure I was not getting more current than is healthy. It was a pretty basic system and I used a protocol that I read about for enhancing concentration and learning -- a location near the right temple, and a ground near the left pre-frontal cortex if I recall correctly. I didn't notice any changes in mood, cognition, or performance during or after, nor did I have side-effects except a mild tingling on the site. This was about two years ago, 2012/13. I only tried it three times and used about 1.8 mAmps of current.

    I am still intrigued by it as well, though some of the early claims don't seem to have been replicated.

    Not sure what the status of commercial devices is today, there was an Atlantic article recently that I think mentioned a commercial product and lab. There are devices that people can substitute -- particularly "iontophoresis" machines -- designed to stop sweat by running a small electric current over the sweat glands, and/or to help deliver medicine transdermally. They discharge a current in a similar range to what you use with TDCS (up to 1 to 2 mAmps). Cost around $300 to $400 I think. Safer than a home unit. Again, might be better to get supervision if you can afford it.

    One of the things I wonder about is whether whatever made my brain resistant to benefits from neurofeedback would make me resistant to benefits from TDCS as well. In the same way that a broken car won't benefit from the same modifications that might make a functional car perform better.

    Seems worth experimenting with down the road. Good luck with your searches, I will keep an eye on this thread, and if you have any questions about my minor experience, happy to answer! :)
     
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2015
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  8. cman89

    cman89 Senior Member

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    Where did you get the info about building the device?
     
  9. DataDude

    DataDude

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    I don't recall the specific resources but a combination of sites and YouTube videos found through Google using TDCS as a search term ("build TDCS" as a search term or something like that).

    The instructions and resources were pretty straightforward. I don't think the instructions I found had the voltage meter in the circuit, but I added that to keep an eye on the current. Finding a suitable electronics supplier was also a bit of a challenge but done with Google as I wanted to source things locally so I didn't have to wait. Online is pretty reliable and a bit cheaper if you don't mind waiting. Again, I don't know the actual sites anymore but a Google search would reveal them.

     
  10. Sasha

    Sasha Fine, thank you

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    Back to the book! :)

    I just got this from the library and am on Chapter 4 - just amazing stuff.

    The first chapter, on chronic pain, was amazing. Fibro gets a mention in the current chapter on using light to start the body healing itself, as does RA (p. 127). I hadn't realised that the skin and skull aren't impervious to light, or that we had light receptors in cells (cytochromes) that grab photons for the mitochondria, which the mitochondria use to produce ATP.

    There's a whole ton of fascinating stuff in this book. I'm hoping the stuff on sleep might be of some help, when I get that far - I wonder if there's scope for PWME to be helped.

    Have you read this, @Simon?

    I'm afraid I don't have enough of a biology background to either do it justice or to properly assess it, but here it is on Amazon.
     
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  11. Simon

    Simon

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    Not read, but a friend enthused to me about it. I'm always deeply suspicious when someone launches a healing theory in a book, even more so when the promote it on Dr Oz.

    Here's an interesting critique: The neuroplasticity bait-and-switch – Pharyngula
    A commenter on that blog points out Doidge's peer-reviewed work is on psychoanalysis and the like.

    As I said, I haven't read the book but haven't been impressed by the ideas from it as conveyed to me. Though FWIW, the friend found following Doidge's ideas helpful.
     
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  12. Ema

    Ema Senior Member

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    This podcast might interest you as well then...it's kind of out there but interesting nonetheless.

    http://www.blogtalkradio.com/underg...chlorophyll-sunlight-and-solar-powered-humans
     
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  13. Sasha

    Sasha Fine, thank you

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    Interesting set of comments after that critique (worth reading all of them to get both sides, with both sides making interesting points). Seems to be rather polarising! I'm in no position to judge the theory, alas, but the experiences are interesting. Makes me wonder what clinical trials have been done.
     
  14. Wayne

    Wayne Senior Member

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    I just perused this commenter... Wow, he comes across as a pretty angry dude. He may have some legitimate points n his blistering critique about Doige's work, but his angry writing doesn't give him a lot of credibility--in my eyes anyway.
     

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