33. Heal Yourself

Researchers are discovering more and more about the workings of the brain through MRI and PET . Both scans produce images of active, inactive, healthy, unhealthy areas of the brain.

These images are doctors treat brain dysfunction. In the US, drugs been the most common treatment for people with dysfunction. While even better drugs continue to be , drug-free remedies are now thought possible because of research with DNA and stem cells.

But some think that even these remedies might be unnecessary—they that many people with brain dysfunction can fix by simply “training” their brains. Computer software is people with Alzheimer’s practice repetitive memory games. These improve their memory enough that many become functional .

Other brain disorders may also be treatable by repetitive exercises. Born with cerebral palsy, Sara had useless right arm. Researchers immobilized her good left , thus forcing the 5-year-old to use only her arm for a few hours a day. In than a year, Sara’s right arm became functional.

sounds almost too simple and too obvious,” said researcher. “For years, people have used repetitive training become better at games, sports, and other activities. has it taken us this long to realize we can also train the brain? Simple repetitive may restore normal brain function for many patients all ages.”