Tonight on CBC’s The Nature of Things, everyone’s favourite neuroplasticity expert and author of The Brain’s Way of Healing Itself, Dr. Norman Doidge, will take us on a visual exploration of his work in a documentary, The Brain’s Way of Healing.
BIST had the chance to interview the documentary’s director-writer, Andrew Gregg of 90th Parallel Productions about the film:
BIST: Many of our members are very familiar with Dr. Doidge’s books, and follow his methods. What can they expect to get out of this film?
AG: I think if they’ve read The Brain’s Way of Healing they’re going to actually be able to meet the people they’ve read about in the books. I know you meet them in the books, but you get to see them and you get to see lab footage and home videos before they found whatever treatment they found that was going to help them.
You basically get to put a voice and a face to the names you’ve read about. And the doctors and scientists that are mentioned in the books you get to meet them them as well.
BIST: What about for people who are not familiar with Dr. Doidge’s work?
AG: I think it’s a universal idea that there’s always a chance that ‘something’s going to go wrong’ and you’re going to find out from a doctor or a scientist that’s going to say, ‘Sorry there’s nothing we can do for you.’
That was the same for every single person we met in this story, [they were told], ‘nothing can be done for you.’
What these stories show is that it’s not the case anymore. By using the brain’s own plasticity there are new ways of healing that we never thought possible.
Hopelessness actually can be turned into hope pretty quickly and I think for all these people to be able to find a way to deal with whatever affliction that was presented to them, you can just see in their faces and in their stories these amazing, grateful feelings of how fortunate they are.
BIST: How accessible are the treatments portrayed in the documentary?
AG: I think that I would take that question back one step further and put myself in the situation of these people that had to seek out the treatments themselves. The people in the film really had to work hard and a lot of them benefited from Dr. Doidge’s previous book, [The Brain that Changes Itself].
I think that by showing their stories it helps the next set of people who are looking for help, it helps narrow down the search.
I think [Dr. Doidge’s] book and this film, for anyone who is looking of answers it’s going to make it that much easier.
BIST: What, for you, was the biggest thing you took away from working with Dr. Doidge?
AG: The idea of going from hopelessness to hope was so prevalent in the film. Some of these things happen so quickly, like with Jeri and Cathie, who participated in the study at the University of Wisconsin.
They had both suffered a traumatic brain injury in a car accident and were basically laid up for five years, and thought that was the going to be the rest of their lives. They got themselves got up from Champaign, Illinois for the first treatment and all of a sudden they were standing and walking.
There are these instance of switches being flipped. … [Its’] proof of neuroplasticity, that the brain is there and it is able to be valuable, it just needs the right signals.
That is amazing to me. It’s nice to have a feel good story for a change.
TO VIEW SAMPLE FOOTAGE FROM THE DOCUMENTARY, CLICK HERE
TO VIEW THE FILM’S PROMO, CLICK HERE