Thoughts on the Role of the Mind in Recovery from Brain Damage

  • Paul Bach-y-Rita


This chapter comments on the current status of neurorehabilitation and the role of the mind in rehabilitation. Rehabilitation is a medical specialty that crosses over into the field of education. In fact, in the United States the National Institute of Disability and Rehabilitation Research is part of the Department of Education, and in Mexico, rehabilitation is not part of the Ministry of Health, but of DIF (Desarrollo Integral de la Familia). Rehabilitation cannot be applied to a patient, as can an injection of penicillin for pneumonia, but must be accomplished primarily by the patient with the aid of rehabilitation professionals. Thus, the role of motivation, family support, the environment, and other psychosocial factors is of importance. It must be noted, however, that these factors are also of significance in all aspects of medicine, although their importance may not be appreciated by modern medicine, which is highly procedure-oriented. For example Ulrich (1984), in a retrospective study of all the patients in a suburban Philadelphia hospital who underwent gallbladder removal between 1972 and 1981, noted that the view from the window was correlated with the rate of recovery and the rate of usage of pain medications. Patients assigned to rooms looking out on a natural scene had shorter postoperative hospital stays and needed fewer analgesics than a comparable group of patients assigned to similar rooms with windows facing a brick wall.


Cerebral Palsy Brain Damage Brain Plasticity Pendular Movement Short Postoperative Hospital Stay 
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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1990

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  • Paul Bach-y-Rita

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