Reprogramming the brain
When I hear words such as her brain is rebuilding itself, I can relate in a very small way. Having had a cochlear implant, bypassing my normal hearing mechanism and bringing sound by wire into my cochlear, my brain is learning how to translate human speech via much less information than it is accustomed to receiving. I go to therapy to practice hearing words and phrases to train my brain to translate. This is a slow and deliberate process.
Between therapy sessions, I have the real world in which to practice. The real world is noisy and I am inclined to unplug and enjoy quiet time, but doing that I will deprive my brain of much needed practice.
Now, scale this circumstance to multiple body functions and internal communications in the Giffords’ case. She is reprogramming on a large scale. Therapists hold the practice key, but the brain will do much of the work miraculously on its own surviving in the spirit and strength of the brain’s owner.
“Giffords faces long road to help her brain rebuild itself after Tucson shooting
By David Brown
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, January 21, 2011; 12:00 AM
With the expected transfer Friday of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) from a hospital in Tucson to a rehabilitation center in Houston, her treatment transitions from a heroic, high-tech fight to save her life to a long and arduous slog to help her brain rebuild itself.
The success of this second effort will depend on the extent of her brain damage (which is not yet fully determined), the skill of her therapists, personal effort and the unpredictable capacity of her brain to change.
Despite the use of terms like "miraculous" to describe Giffords's progress, numerous experts describe her survival and apparently good condition as an increasingly common outcome in brain-injured patients, thanks to aggressive surgery and meticulous care afterward.”