Recommendations by Natalie

Anyone who knows me knows about my studies in neuroscience and neuroplasticity. It’s been my interest for the last 35 years or so. I can’t help but explain to my pals what I know of how our brain works and how to fix it if they choose to. It is a magnificent but little known opportunity that you are in control of. You get to determine who you are. Brilliant!

Neuroscience is the study of the brain’s impact on our behaviour and cognitive functions. Our incredibly complicated, magnificent, miraculous brain. Everything about the brain is fascinating; the evolution of its physical structure, its relationship to the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems, sleep, memory, character, and of course learning.

There is a huge advantage to understanding how your brain works, why you believe what you believe and how you can change those beliefs with a bit of effort.

Neuroscience for Dummies Book JacketNeuroscience for Dummies by Frank Amthor

If you are interested in a layman’s explanation of structure, function, and physical systems of the brain then this is a great place to start. It is an easy read with a simple approachable format. You can skip from one place to another according to your own interests. There are key symbols for ease of navigation, research evidence, diagrams, and interesting trivia.


The Believing Brain book jacketThe Believing Brain by Michael Shermer

This book helps explain how and why conspiracy theories are not going away. The brain is primarily a system of random beliefs looking for proof in patterns. Its main pursuit is to connect the dots from here to there and then attach meaning to the pattern. Consequently, it searches out confirmatory evidence to support those beliefs. Once a theory is developed, a positive feedback loop confirms the information (confirmation bias). MIchael Shermer shows how science is the best anecdote to ideology.

What It's Like to Be a Dog book jacketWhat It’s Like to be a Dog by Gregory Berns

This book is the work of a leading scholar in the field of animal neuroscience. Berns is sensitive to philosophical, legal and cultural issues. It's not difficult for the reader to understand the essence of his arguments, which all lead to a simple conclusion: the traditional position that animals are automatons that do not feel any kind of emotion or possess any kind of consciousness (and can therefore be exploited by man without remorse), now appears completely

The Connectome Book JacketThe Connectome: How the Brain’s Wiring Makes Us Who We Are by Sebastian Seung

We know that each of us is unique, but science has struggled to pinpoint where, precisely, our uniqueness resides. Sebastian Seung is on a quest to discover the biological basis of identity. He believes it lies in the pattern of connections between the brain’s neurons, which change slowly over time as we learn and grow. It's where nature meets nurture. Seung is mapping the physical wiring of the brain. If he succeeds, it could reveal the basis of personality, intelligence, memory, and perhaps even mental disorders. Many scientists speculate that people with anorexia, autism, and schizophrenia are "wired differently".  He also examines the evidence that these maps will someday allow humans to "upload" their minds into computers, achieving a kind of immortality.

Brains Way of Healing Book JacketThe Brain's Way of Healing: Remarkable Discoveries and Recoveries from the Frontiers of Neuroplasticity by Norman Doidge

A well written narrative, with thought-provoking ideas that anyone can understand. Complex neuroscientific ideas are presented in a comprehensible format that impart to us the knowledge that when applied intentionally and specifically, energy and thought-based interventions can allow the brain to heal itself. A fascinating look into the way the brain can be re-trained to deal with pain, trauma and neurological issues. New treatments in neuroplasticity could possibly help people with many conditions including Parkinsons, Multiple Sclerosis, and Autism.

The Brain Pioneer Book JacketThe Brain Pioneer: The True Story of How Barbara Arrowsmith-Young Used Brain Science to Help Children with Learning Disabilities by Howard Eaton

This is the story of Barbara Arrowsmith-Young. As a child she was told she would never overcome the learning disabilities that made school so difficult and frustrating for her. Barbara refused to believe that this was true. With courage, inventiveness, and tenacity, she found ways to change her brain and improve her ability to learn. She was an innovator who came to be known as "the brain pioneer" for her research using what's now known as "brain plasticity" to help children with learning disabilities.  Barbara created a brain improvement program, and opened the Arrowsmith School in 1980 to bring the program to students. Today there are over 100 schools offering the program around the world. She also helps adults with brain injuries resulting from strokes and accidents.