New book explores how the human brain can overcome any condition

September 14, 2017, Wyss Center for Bio and Neuroengineering
Locked-in patient Hans-Peter Salzmann training on the BMI. Credit: Birbaumer

In his new book 'Your brain knows more than you think', the neuroscientist Professor Niels Birbaumer, a Senior Research Fellow at the Wyss Center, in Geneva, Switzerland, investigates the limitless capacity of the brain to remould itself.

Co-authored with journalist Jörg Zittlau, the popular book investigates how the 's plasticity allows it to overcome almost any condition. For suffers of depression, anxiety, ADHD, addiction or the after effects of stroke it gives them new found hope. Through stories of his work with patients, Birbaumer shows that even in the direst of circumstances, we can live happy lives through brainpower alone.

Birbaumer knows more than most about the workings of the mind. His research is with people who, through the progressive motor neuron disease, ALS (), have leaving them completely paralyzed and motionless.

Above is the world's first letter written using the electrical activity of the brain by a patient. In it, he invites the author and his collaborators to a party to celebrate his achievements. Salzmann is one of many completely locked-in patients that Birbaumer's research has enabled to communicate.

Birbaumer is a pioneer in the use of brain computer interfaces for people with neurological disorders and his research encompasses the neurobiological basis of learning and behaviour. He has been awarded numerous international prizes including the Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Prize, the Albert Einstein World Award of Science and the Helmholtz Medal of the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and many other honours including honorary doctorates.

Jörg Zittlau studied philosophy, biology and sports medicine. He is a freelance journalist and writes about science and psychology, amongst other topics. He is also the author of several bestsellers.

Your Brain Knows More Than You Think is full of stories like Salzmann's; of Birbaumer and his research radically altering patients' lives for the better. It is published in English by Scribe UK and is available in and ebook and print.

Explore further: Brain-computer interface allows completely locked-in people to communicate

Related Stories

Brain-computer interface allows completely locked-in people to communicate

January 31, 2017
A brain-computer interface that can decipher the thoughts of people who are unable to communicate could revolutionize the lives of those living with completely locked-in syndrome, according to a new paper publishing January ...

Revolutionary brain-computer interface with those in complete locked-in state

February 9, 2017
In 2009, Richard Marsh, a retired police officer suffered a massive stroke and doctors wanted to switch off his life-support. He could hear their every word but could not yell out that he was alive. The doctors simply believed ...

Conclusions on brain-machine interfaces for communication and rehabilitation

October 5, 2016
In the journal Nature Reviews Neurology, the researcher Ander Ramos of Tecnalia, with Niel Birbaumer, lecturer at the University of Tübingen, have expounded how brain-machine interfaces (BMI) use brain activity to control ...

Who is responsible if a brain-controlled robot drops a baby?

June 29, 2017
As brain-controlled robots enter everyday life, an article published in Science states that now is the time to take action and put in place guidelines that ensure the safe and beneficial use of direct brain-machine interaction.

Neuroscientist who studied Einstein's brain dies at 90

August 17, 2017
Marian Cleeves Diamond, a neuroscientist who studied Albert Einstein's brain and was one of the first to show that the brain can improve with enrichment, has died.

Stroke patient improvement with a brain-computer interface

August 30, 2017
University of Adelaide researchers have shown that it is possible for stroke patients to improve motor function using special training involving connecting brain signals with a computer.

Recommended for you

Mechanisms of harmful overhydration and brain swelling

May 22, 2018
We are all familiar with the drawbacks of dehydration, but we rarely hear about the harmful effects of overhydration. For one, excess fluid accumulation can lead to dangerously low sodium levels in the blood or hyponatremia—a ...

Mice brain structure linked with sex-based differences in anxiety behavior

May 22, 2018
Using male individuals has long been a tradition in scientific mice studies. But new research enforces the importance of using a balanced population of male and female mice.

Cell types underlying schizophrenia identified

May 22, 2018
Scientists at Karolinska Institutet in Sweden and University of North Carolina have identified the cell types underlying schizophrenia in a new study published in Nature Genetics. The findings offer a roadmap for the development ...

In brain stimulation therapy less might be more

May 22, 2018
One of the promising non-invasive brain therapeutic methods is the repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS). During such a procedure, a magnetic coil is placed near the head of the patient and a magnetic pulse ...

Subtle hearing loss while young changes brain function, study finds

May 22, 2018
Cranking up your headphones or scrambling for a front-row spot at rock shows could be damaging more than your hearing.

What helps form long-term memory also drives the development of neurodegenerative disease

May 22, 2018
Scientists have just discovered that a small region of a cellular protein that helps long-term memories form also drives the neurodegeneration seen in Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS). This small part of the Ataxin-2 protein ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.