EBOOK READ The Ghost in My Brain
D how interruptions to brain function ruin one s ability to make it from A to B in the same way Also before one gets to the last third where the fascinating healing process is explained and Dr Elliot is brought back to himself this book can be very depressing He suffers profound disability for ears and has to maintain a previously high functioning life that would be taxing for a normal person I am not sure I would have made it through the previous two thirds without knowing that the last third would be about recoveryI work some with children on the autistic spectrum and some of the deficits that he articulates overlap with how children on the spectrum struggle with meeting every day demands too While I am empathic to Dr Elliott s struggles I feel lucky that he is able to impart so clearly what living with brain damage is really like to help us to generate empathy and develop interventions to assist in functioning Increased understanding always leads to better outcomes I wonder how the neuroplasticity work that he does to heal would affect children on the spectrum Also he does exercises that ameliorate his slight attentional deficits which would be great to be able to give to children who suffer from this condition as well The brain is a magical thingThe book is well written clear and informative It tackles a huge subject and makes it relatable It is inspiring to think about some of the cognitive work and healing that can be done with deficits that we previously felt we have to medicate and cope withIf All the Devils are Here you like this review and would like to see or would like me to considerour work for review please see my website at wwwdonovanreadscom Thanks to Viking Books for this opportunity 10 Miles to Go (The Walk, years ago I was involved in a terrible accident in which I experienced severe brain damage Unconscious for 3 months I a former gifted underachiever awoke to a world of confusion A world in which my humanity was gone I ve learned to control myself in order to function in the normal world and have become what is called a highly functional concussive but I m still not me Far from it This book was very well and thoughtfully written It is a must read for anyone battling with their own mental capability but for those around them as well I m currently attempting to get my family to read this book which will help them understand who I really am It has done this very thing for me AND given me a hope I ve never had The experts and therapists I ve worked with in the past had no clue their help was well intentioned but hopeless their advice based on ignorance and inflated impression of their own wisdom Something like botanists attempting to perform brain surgery This book has opened the world up to me I have a new hope and a surety that my future is still one of improvement and recovery A hope the professionals implied would endears ago The answers are not here but the hope is here in intensity In reading this book I actually discovered myself Was told about the bizarre trip I ve been on Anyone who has an interest in brain functionality particularly post brain injury absolutely should read this book Simply magnificent no complexly magnificent The Wake yes More reviews at TheBibliophagecomDr Clark Elliott s medical memoir The Ghost in My Brain is one of the best I ve read Elliott who is a PhD teaching Artificial Intelligence in Chicago describes the effects of a concussion like nothing else I ve seen To discuss the resulting book and it s descriptions as impressive is only part of the story Onceou read how damaged Elliott s brain was Circus Act (Spy Pups you ll be stunned he was able to write such a cogent and compelling bookI have a dear friend who s experienced a number of severe concussions She has a hard time explaining how it feels to live with this condition Now I can put this book in her hands and say I think I understand The neglect misdiagnosis and ignorance of medical professionals is also central to Elliott s story As he describes the daunting challenges of each day he continues to try to get help solving the damage to his brain Year afterear passes with no help from neurological specialists Finally Elliott and an assistant find a potential solution This reminded me again that patients have to keep pushing for answers Despite all that we hear about concussions the actual treatment methods are buried under misunderstanding and obfuscationElliott describes in detail his process of recovery I rejoiced along with him Not just because I can empathize but because he illustrates the gains with such fervor I am amazed at how far he was able to come in returning to wholeness Okay I m fangirling I ll stopIf Daffodil Girls you re interested in brain plasticity and medical stories this is a superb book I d consider it right up there with Brain on Fire My Month of Madness by Susannah Cahalan The writing style is clear despite including some medical terminology Elliott focuses on his experience with some brain science on the side which makes it eminently readable I listened to the audiobook read by Arthur Morey who has a pleasant tone and strong grasp on the content I highly recommend it A Personal Account of What Suffering from a Concussion is LikeIn 1999 Clark Elliott was in a fairly minor automobile accident He had a moment of blackout but thought that his symptoms would uickly pass They didn t He experienced intense pain in his skull suffered balance problems had trouble thinking for any extended period of time and suffered bouts of nausea when concentrating hard Medical professionals were unable to help him suggesting that he learn to live with his symptoms Clark is a remarkable person He did live with his symptoms for tenears and during that time recorded his struggle to cope and understand his problems Being a professor of artificial intelligence he described his symptoms in language relating to information processing Although at times his descriptions become a little technical he offers simplified examples so the book is easy to follow The descriptions of how the cognitive processes in his brain appeared to work are fascinating Because his thinking speed was slowed he was able to analyze the way his brain worked to retrieve and process information Anyone interested in cognitive psychology should read this book Necessarily it is one person s experience and therefore a case study However it is a case study that suggests a number of pathways for future researchPerhaps one of the most significant sections of the book for anyone suffering from the effects of concussion is the part about his eventual successful treatment I highly recommend this to anyone suffering from concussion and looking to understand and get treatment for their symptoms I reviewed this book for the Vine Program Don t let the title fool The Private Lives of the Saints you This was written for the express purpose of the author tellingou how smart he iswas While I don t doubt that this guy had the symptoms that he describes I am not so sure that they were from a minor head injury The convenience of his severe symptoms that make him unable to make a sandwich but still able to work as a professor and singlehandedly raise 6 kids is a bit preposterous How he manages to actually get married have a baby Biggles Goes to War yet go no help from the wife in his process she leaves him to raise the baby himself knowing he can t even make a sandwich is not explained but he mentions his high intellect astute musical talent and athletic prowess often than he does any specifics about brain plasticity I had a concussion and it was interesting to learn about them Mine was not as bad as Clark D been started to re emerge Remarkably Elliott kept detailed notes throughout his experience from the moment of impact to the final stages of his recovery astounding documentation that is the basis of this fascinating book The Ghost in My Brain gives hope to the millions who suffer from head injuries eachear and provides a uniue and informative window into the world’s most complex computational device the human brai.
Free read The Ghost in My Brain
Ngry as the neighbor does in Elliot s retelling Most disturbing of all is the fact that not only did Elliot continue to drive his own car throughout his entire post concussion life but he also defends to this day his decision to drive The very first chapter describes a particularly horrifying evening when after teaching a 3 hour university lecture Elliot takes three and a half hours to go down to the street from the 6th floor of a university building and walk five and a half blocks to his car After another hour and a half of rest in the car he drives 30 minutes home and then it takes him another hour to walk from the curb to his front door He is so incapacitated by his brain injury that the cognitive load of the task at the end of a long day has him literally crawling on all fours to his office in the building after his class and almost literally has him freeze in place when he can t cognitively manage the walk across a one block park in frigid snowy Chicago to get to his car He is nearly undone by the effort to put the car key in the lock and then maneuver himself into the car And et he wants us to believe he was fine to drive He defends himself mightily in the book about driving although he mainly does it in a footnote which seems another attempt to minimize his terrible choice There would be no shame him saying something to the effect of At the time I thought I was fine to drive but now in retrospect I can t believe I did that But shockingly it seems that even at the point of writing the book he is completely unaware of the damage to his judgment presumably caused by his brain injury That is I assume he didn t have such abysmal judgment before the crash Because anyone can see how spectacularly reckless it was for someone with his cognitive perceptive and physical limitations to drive a car or good god wield a chainsaw on a ladder thirty feet up in a tree while trying to take the tree down on his own something else he apparently thinks it was perfectly OK for him to do The fact that no catastrophe actually happened is not proof that this is OK as any scientist academician or clear eyed thinker worth his salt should be able to see Accepting for the sake of the argument that the probability of failure in taking on these dangerous activities was low which I do not accept in fact the risk the potential damage resulting from failure is so astronomically high a car accident that seriously injured other people or cutting off his own foot with a chainsaw that the choices he made were jawdroppingly reckless and a sign of dangerously impaired judgment The central dilemma of the book is this no one but Elliot is capable of describing the subjective experience of living with his extraordinary symptoms but Elliot is a particularly unreliable narrator Bottom line I think this paradox is at the heart of most of what s wrong with the book A better approach would have been to have a co author who could ground the narrative in a objective voice with sections written by Elliot himself who could provide the personal insight into the experience of traumatic brain injury that is so key to the story Nevertheless it s still an interesting book for the general reader and will surely prove essential for some who really need to hear Clark Elliot s story First 23 good went off the rails after thatDespite the fact that Norman Doidge while not Daniel Amen moves further away from actual science with each new book I was willing to move past his highly enthusiastic blurb and read Ditto despite not knowing much about either doctor or the claimed techniues not listed on Skeptic s Dictionary and so I read onThen near the end of the book when he talks about his personal treatment from Markus and even from Zelinsky he zooms into anecdotal and at one point even pseudoscienceThe anecdotal is his claims that vintage vinyl is flatter or whatever than CDs and of course it all sounds better through vacuum tube amps etc Well flatter really means less noise If he means the arbitrary high end freuency cutoff on CDs es it cuts out a few overtones from some treble instruments However higher freuencies are what deteriorate first with age and I m pretty sure Clark Elliott s hearing in this range since he s around 60 has deteriorated There s plenty of refutation of Elliott like nonsense here is that any good DDD based CD will generally sound better than vintage vinyl It s a mix of baby boomer nostalgia for record covers and related things es Elliott s into classical not rockpop etc that drives stuff like this Ditto for his claim vacuum tubes are better Blind tests have shown that audiophiles prefer transistorsOK so I m already skeptical enough at this pointThen Elliotlt claims that the first set of special glasses Dr Zelinsky gave him changed how he heard music EVEN WITH HIS EYES CLOSEDOK now we ve gone to the far edge of anecdotal and pushed the envelope into the edge of pseudoscienceDear PhD researcher in artificial intelligence Please provide a scientific explanation for how this could happenAll of this beyond being problematic specific to Elliott makes it look like any benefit he got from Markus and especially from Zelinsky is itself anecdotal and not scientifically double blindedSo Prof Elliott if ou re still review watching as Angel Pets you were a few months ago please provide links to the appropriate research Do book editors still exist If one did for this book they would have condensed the first 240 pages into maybe 40 pages This would have helped the author not sound so pompous confused non sensical and contradictory How does a person go from barely able to walk and speak to raising a 2ear old child Those are demands that cant be half way metThe author spent too much time trying to convince me of their high functioning and superior intellect and then the extremity of their symptoms The result was not very convincing the situations end up not ringing true I don t think I doubt the seriousness and severity of the conseuences of the concussion but I do have trouble marrying that with fathering and raising a child with no help while working full time and building a homeHere is another example the author suddenly reveals that his doctor is aware and concerned about his family history of ADD This was mentioned nowhere in the prior 250 pages not even a side note Suddenly it seems it is the focus of treatment I finally got to the good part of the book where the diagnosis was described But even here I was disappointed in the lack of accessible detail At points the descriptions were too clinical at other points too general I understand that colored glasses helped but why does color matter There was a better description of why the lenses shaping made a difference And what was the point of all the drawing exercises what was being exercised and why does this work Excellent memoir on what it s really like to live with concussive symptoms and how he the author was able to heal himself I received this book as an advance copy in exchange for a review from VikingOften when I read nonfiction books that have to simplify concepts in science those with formal academic training in that discipline complain that it is too oversimplified or in the worst case scenario wrong I have dabbled in neuroscience in my training as a Psychologist and I am happy to report that this book takes on a giant topic and makes it accessible to the general public It was not a light read and not for when I had worked all day but Dr Elliott tries to make things as concrete as possible when explaining brain function an. Ren Doctors told him he would never fully recover After eight ears the cognitive demands of his job and of being a single parent finally became than he could manage As a result of one final effort to recover he crossed paths with two brilliant Chicago area research clinicians one a specialized optometrist the other a cognitive psychologist working on the leading edge of brain plasticity Within weeks the ghost of who he ha.
The Ghost in My Brain is an intriguing trip through traumatic brain injury written by a university professor who suffered a severe concussion in a car accident and dealt with confoundingly debilitating effects for ears afterward until he finally serendipitously came across two specialists who had developed unusual therapies that produce significant improvements in the injured brain After working with them Clark Elliot s life is completely turned around He goes from a life dominated by his injury which limits his activity and exhausts him daily to a return to his pre concussion self Elliot s story of loss and recovery is a dramatic one The book however is a mixed bag On the one hand Elliot s detailed description of his post concussion experiences as well as the treatment program he eventually follows provides fascinating insight into how the brain works On the other hand the narrative often feels over written some episodes run on too long some details strain credulity some sections come off a shade too self congratulatory or in other ways the story is just a bit too much to take in places In addition some of the sections dealing with scientific explanations get a bit too technicalacademic for the average reader As a general interest book I wouldn t say it s a great read However Elliot s book will bring to a general audience some crucial information about the ability of the brain to recover from some kinds of damage and I am sure that for some people dealing with the long term effects of traumatic brain injury this book could be a true life saver The symptoms that Elliot describes are startling both in their content and in his ability to recall and retell his experiences in such detail Evidently he took extensive notes documenting his post conucussion experiences as well as during his treatment and in both cases the notes proved helpful to understanding his injury and guiding his treatment in the most helpful direction for him His symptoms are often so severe as to be effectively paralyzing as when he gets stuck at the top of staircases because he is cognitively unable to sort out how to go down Adding to his difficulties is the fact that in many respects he remains outwardly normal or at least until he is exhausted by the extra cognitive effort it takes him to do previously simple tasks at which point his facade of normality breaks down completely To be sure I found his descriptions of his experiences hard to believe at first But then I reflected on a strange symptom I sometimes experience in the midst of a particularly severe migraine I lose the ability to read I don t mean that it s too painful to read that it hurts my eyes or that my head hurts too much to think Rather when I attempt to read when I attempt to look at symbols called letters arranged into words and convert those symbols into meaning in my brain the last step of that series the cognitive act is simply absent I know how difficult it is to explain this to someone to describe it to someone It s extremely difficult to express what this absence of cognition is It s not an absence of knowledge It s not an absence of facts It s not even the absence of the knowledge that these facts are supposed to convey some kind of meaning The fact that A Feast of Freud you can simultaneously have the information and the knowledge that it is supposed to mean something but it never resolves into cognition makes the experience that much bewildering When I think about my migraine induced aphasia which happens at worst a few times aear and try to think of that level of cognitive difficulty as a daily constant it puts Elliot s experience into rather frightening perspective The treatment Elliot finally finds and its ultimate results are as striking as his terrible symptoms He comes into contact with Donalee Markus PhD a practitioner of clinically applied neuroscience who is the first practitioner medical or otherwise who is able to see his cognitive deficiencies as something treatable Her approach is to give Elliot a series of increasingly difficult exercises and puzzles to complete all aimed at retraining his brain s cognitive processes She also introduces Elliot to a colleague Deborah Zelinsky an optometrist with a specialty in something called neuro optometric rehabilitation In truth it is Zelinsky s method that provides the biggest surprise of the book As Elliot goes to great lengths to try to explain and not always accessibly enough there is a complex relationship between the body s visual input system visual and crucially non visual receptors in the eye and the brain s processing of sight thought balance and even hearing Zelinsky uses a mix of visual tests and specialized lenses to determine how light is directed into the eyes which subseuently affects how the signals captured by the eye are processed by the brain It seems that the most astonishing improvements that Elliot experiences come from the series of specialized lenses that Zelinsky outfits him with he begins calling them his Magic Glasses And the results really are remarkable He is able to do things effortlessly that for at least eight The Mallen Girl years he has only been able to do with great difficulty if at all Elliot s story should offer a great deal of hope to anyone struggling with traumatic brain injury and in today s era of athletic concussions and wartime traumatic brain injury these developments come not a moment too soonSo there is a lot that is fascinating in the book but there are also some troubling elements to the story as well For example Elliot s friends and family do not come off very well in his retelling at all The examples of the disabling effects of his concussion injury seem to be omnipresent in his life andet his wife and children his students and colleagues and all but one friend seem to be either utterly unaware of his difficulties or carelessly indifferent to his struggles However given how Elliot talks about himself throughout the book as extraordinarily intelligent talented and capable repeatedly referring to himself as a single parent and as responsible for the financial support of up to ten people it s impossible to tell whether that is a true reflection of how his family and friends acted toward him or simply the words of a man who is inordinately focused on himself It is difficult to align certain elements of his story for example he seems to have very obvious episodes having to do with balance and coordination and Swimming In The Flood yet everyone in his world apparently thinks it s fine for him to be the sole caretaker of a pre school child Also I m mystified by his apparent failure to provide even a broad brush explanation to others for his outwardly bizarre behavior For instance he seriously alienates a neighbor when the neighbor pulls up to the curb when Elliot is outside playing catch with his son and speaks to him about something all while the neighbor s car is making some high pitched noise For Elliot the noise is so unbearable that he literally drops to the ground and covers his ears leaving the neighbor to repeat himself uselessly then drive off in frustration Elliot later laments the broken relationship with the neighbor which just makesou wonder why he didn t simply go over to the neighbor s house later and apologize explaining that he had an injury that left him sensitive to certain sounds For that matter it s hard to imagine that anyone could be talking to someone normally then see that person clamp his hands over his ears and drop into a fetal position and not jump out of the car to offer assistance but rather drive away The dramatic story of one man’s recovery offers new hope to those suffering from concussions and other brain traumas In 1999 Clark Elliott suffered a concussion when his car was rear ended Overnight his life changed from that of a rising professor with a research career in artificial intelligence to a humbled man struggling to get through a single day At times he couldn’t walk across a room or even name his five child.