by John W. Cassidy
Da Capo, 2009
Review by Christian Perring on Jun 15th 2010
Mindstorms is a straightforward book explaining the latest information about what traumatic brain injury (TBI) is, how it affects people and their families, how they cope, and how it is treated. Cassidy is founder of the TBI program at McLean Hospital and cofounded its Neuropsychiatry unit, so he has a claim to credibility. He writes in clear language using many examples from real life, and he is able to explain quite complicated information in simple terms. There are four sections, on the basics of TBA, its effects, its treatment, and getting back to a life after TBI. There is an appendix on how the brain works. The book makes clear that TBI is a serious and potentially life changing condition that takes many different forms, but it is nearly always treatable to some extent, and often it is possible for a person to live a satisfying and rich life afterwards.
People get TBIs in car accidents, gun accidents, in warfare, or any number of other ways. 6.2 million people live with severe disabilities caused by TBI, and in one year, 2008, there 1.6 cases of brain injury, making it more common than breast cancer or AIDS. TBIs can cause both cognitive and emotional problems, completely changing a person's skills and character. There are also psychological problems caused for the person with the injury and their families and loved ones in coming to terms with the changes due to the injury. Mindstorms leaves the reader with no illusions that people can necessarily recover from TBI to return to their former selves, nor that the reclaiming of a life after TBI is easy. Nevertheless, the book does provide hope that with determined effort, patience, the right medical and rehabilitation resources, and with a great deal of help from their families, people with severe TBI can succeed in their goal to make good lives for themselves.
© 2010 Christian Perring
Christian Perring, Associate Professor of Philosophy, Dowling College, New York