Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Short Takes

The Brain's Way of Healing: Remarkable Discoveries and Recoveries from the Frontiers of Neuroplasticity – Norman Doidge, M.D. (Viking Books)

As the spouse of a stroke survivor I admit to having a bias towards wanting to learn more about the brain and how it functions, it “re-wires” and “heals”. It is astonishing the variety of brain injuries and ailments ranging from stroke to concussion to the range of dementia including Alzheimer’s, cerebral palsy, epilepsy, Parkinson’s, autism and ADHD to name but a few; and equally astounding how little we truly know about the brain.

In The Brain’s Way of Healing – Remarkable Discoveries and Recoveries from the Frontiers of Neuroplasticity, Dr. Norman Doidge spells out a variety of therapies that have been utilized to treat and repair brain injuries and aid suffering patients to return to either normal or increasing levels of activity. In some cases these treatment programs have worked and in other to limited extents or not at all.

Some medical professionals may disagree with or discount the approaches and efficacy the treatment Doidge writes about, but in many cases, patients did see marked improvement. Certainly these therapies are not one size fits all, cure all, but for frustrated patients and their families they offer a ray of hope.

The Libertarian Mind: A Manifesto for Freedom – David Boaz

I find this book oddly mistitled; with The Libertarian Mind conjuring up a very high-brow publication, which is diametrically the opposite of this eminently readable tome. Even the parenthetical title; A Manifesto for Freedom conjures up an image of a scruffy bearded, former college professor, living off the grid, in a shack by the river and thousands upon thousands of single-spaced typewritten pages.

Boaz, the executive vice president at the CATO Institute, a libertarian think tank, offers up an interesting overview of the libertarian mindset in a straight forward, easy to digest manner. Boaz explains how the freedom cornerstones of life, liberty and property worked not only historically, but can continue to work today if they are allowed to take root and prosper.

This one should be required reading for anyone in favor of smaller, less intrusive, government or better yet those mind-numbed folks who believe that government has all the answers. There truly is a reason why freedom works every time it’s been tried.

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