I attended a baby shower on Sunday. While there I saw a young woman I’ve known for several years. She is now a neuroscience major who works part time as a scribe for physicians in an emergency room. She is very excited about becoming an emergency room physician and shared some of her favorite work experiences.
She said that her saddest experiences are when she has to tell families that their loved ones are brain injured and there is nothing that can be done for them. I suggested that perhaps there are things that can be done. She vehemently disagreed—insisting the brain is irreparable. I tried to explain some of the work I do every day. She said it couldn’t possibly be true—in the arrogant sort of manner that one can only learn in medical school. I remained calm and asked her if she would be willing to entertain the notion of brain plasticity if she could be shown supporting research. She replied that she would, but re-emphasized that she was certain that any such research is probably flawed or misinterpreted.
I am going to send her “The Brain That Changes Itself” by Norman Doidge. I will also send her a reading list that will include Magic Trees of the Mind by Marian Diamond, The Emperor’s New Mind by Roger Penrose, Brain Plasticity & Behavior by Bryan Kolb and The Mind & the Brain by Sharon Begley. Believe me, there are many more titles worthy of the list. But I am ONLY sending book titles that are available in our local public library.
So this is where the “How Dare They?” title was born. This young lady’s ignorance and arrogance was taught to her in one of the country’s leading brain research universities. May I repeat “leading brain research universities”!!!!! HOW DARE THEY?
They are teaching this compassionate, sweet, bright, motivated young woman to write people off like yesterday’s garbage. They are teaching her to routinely and callously remove any hope families may have for their loved ones to recover. And it gets WORSE—they are training up AN ENTIRE GENERATION of new physicians to practice medicine in the same manner!!!
How could this possibly happen? Are they just missing the information—it just hasn’t gotten to them? I don’t see how this could be the case—-remember all those books are available in the local public library. Also, The Brain That Changes Itself by Norman Doidge is a New York Times Best Seller! Every day, Google Alerts brings to my inbox a LOAD of the latest research and every single new study SUPPORTS the principles of brain growth as a result of stimulation—and that the growth brings improved function and can even be helpful in preventing such maladies as Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease. Don’t those neuroscience professors read the journals publishing this research?
Temple Fay began exploring the brain’s ability to heal and improve before World War II. He was figuratively tarred and feathered and forced out of Temple University’s Medical School. But that was decades ago. Since that time scientists such as Merzenich, Diamond, Neubauer, Harch, Klovoski, Taub and many more have proven through the countless hours of obeying the Scientific Method that the brain can and does change and improve.
So, how dare they? Not only are they willing to dash hope and deny potential, but they are disregarding the proven work of dozens of scientists—their colleagues!
I can’t say why this is happening—I do have my theories, but that is a blog for another day. But I can say that it is still happening right before my very eyes.
I can also say this—-if anyone ever tells you your loved one is NEVER going to improve, grow, progress, change, etc.—-DON’T take their word for it. Do your own research. Find out about the people who are succeeding in helping people recover. According to one of the leading brain research universities in the country, you have nothing to lose. According to a large part of the scientific community (and me), you have everything to gain.