Thursday, January 14, 2010

Ode To Neuro

Reading this book for the neurosci class by Dr. Doidge - fabulously written, extremely interesting. The aspect I like most is the plasticity of the brain, that is, the ability of the brain to reform maps inside itself around damaged areas.

One woman who'd been blinded was able to "see" by remapping her brain to correctly recognize stimuli from other sensory points. For instance, a metal strip on her tongue presented different images in her brain and eventually, hazy scenes were depicted quite accurately.

Sounds like fuzzy medicine or something for the next James Cameron movie, eh?

It's real. The tests being performed on mice and rats are nothing compared to what has been done using humans. While I'm not completely done with the book, actually only to chapter 3, the book seems to give great hope for those with various neurological disorders (no duh, I know).

While the doctor discusses various patients and their ailments, what I find so amazing about this book is the author's ability to intermingle techno-babble for those not able to speak that language. Yes, I know what acetylcholine is but most lay people won't, or how acetylcholinesterase affects the neurons in the brain, more specifically the synapses.

I'm hooked. I said that I would not consider specializing (my age being a VERY large factor in that) but I must say I'm fascinated!


Kara said...

I say you should consider specializing! Why wouldn't you?? :)

A Doc 2 Be said...


I don't believe the specialty would discriminate against me because of age, altho I'm sure ortho/cardio-thoracic/EM might, it is my own perception of timing.

At 47, I hope to start med school (wow, I said it again!!).

At 51, I will graduate med school (yeay!!!)

At 54, I will complete residency.

Fellowships for specialties are at least another three years beyond that. I'd rather use those precious three years and be a practicing physician.

WordDoc said...

I looked up the Doidge book on Amazon; will order it. I love neuroscience--so different from what little they knew way back when. Have you ever read any Oliver Sachs? One of my patients, a nurse, was admitted to med. school at age 51.

A Doc 2 Be said...


You won't be disappointed! I am enjoying the book greatly, altho, admittedly, I've not been as diligent in my editorializing of it.

Your nurse: MD or DO?

Make it a great day!

Ad2b (really!)

Doctor D said...

Actually Neuro would only add one year to residency since it is a separate residency.

You can join the great Dr. Grumpy!

K said...

The Brain That Changes Itself is a fantastic book that talks about plasticity and re-mapping of the brain.

There's a story in there about a guy who learned how to walk again, thanks to the re-mapping that occurred after intense physical therapy.

Some miraculous things are in store for the future of medicine.