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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "A REMARKABLE BREAKTHROUGH IN BIOMEDICINE GIVES HOPE!", July 25, 2012
This review is from: The Man with the Bionic Brain: And Other Victories over Paralysis (Hardcover)
I was amazed to read this after working in the healthcare industry for thirty years, and fascinated by the medical research and discovery. Jon Mukand MD Phd delivers the compassionate story of Matthew Nagle and other victims who became paralyzed from brain trauma, spinal injuries, and stroke. The author reveals how technology improved lives by weaving together Nagle's story and other stories about courageous survivors. In addition, he presents a behind-the-scenes view of medical research and discoveries. Matthew Nagle was a football star in high school. After he was stabbed and became paralyzed, the BrainGate System allowed him to play video games, adjust TV settings, and more. All he had to do was think about performing the tasks, such as using e-mail and he was able to do the task. The stories in this book are incredible, and touching. This book is powerfully moving, insightful, and inspirational. After reading each remarkable story of how biomedicine gave hope to people with disabilities and enabled them to control their future is an achievement not only in medicine and science, but a priceless gift given for all in need. Highly Recommended!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Touching, Inspirational, and Scientifically Fascinating, October 7, 2012
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This review is from: The Man with the Bionic Brain: And Other Victories over Paralysis (Hardcover)
"The Man with the Bionic Brain" is a very interesting book that goes into some of the research and methods for helping patients deal with their various forms of paralysis. The book delves into several stories about paralysis on a very personal level, though mainly focuses on the interesting story of one patient.

An Introduction
I picked up this book to supplement a project for my introductory neuroscience class. Expecting a fairly detailed explanation of some brain implant procedures, I was surprised to find that is was much more like a novel with some neuroscience thrown in. This made the book much easier to read and follow, as most of the language was simple and easier to understand. The book does get complicated in parts, but never enough to turn anyone away. When complex medical terms were introduced, the author thoroughly explains them so everyone can follow it. As a senior in a biomedical engineering, I was fairly familiar with a majority of the language due to my education, but I did find it to be a nice touch for people who aren't as familiar with some of the jargon. I thoroughly enjoyed reading all of the stories of remarkable people learning to adapt to their circumstances and attempting to recover from their paralysis. I would recommend this book to anyone with an interest in medicine and to anyone looking for an inspirational story. The book is a very quick read, keeping you interested in the people and pulling for them to overcome their conditions.

Story Overview
I will go into some detail to describe the main story of the book. The main "plot" of the book follows the story of Matthew Nagle, a young man who was leading a dream life until a very tragic incident that left him completely paralyzed from the neck down. The early chapters focus mainly on his struggle with living with his new condition. Before the injury, he was an athletic superstar at his school, now he is confined to a wheelchair, unable to feel anything below his shoulders. Having lost all function from the neck down, Matthew became completely dependent on other people for most of his day to day functions. This frustrated Matthew to no end, who was used to being so independent. He became depressed and wanted to give up on life so many times. The condition also took a toll on Matthew's friends and family, who were almost as helpless as he was at times. But all of these troubles end up bringing Matthew and his family closer together.

Extra Stories for More Information
Intertwined throughout the book are chapters that deviate from Matthew's story. Each of these chapters focus on a different individual that suffered some form of paralysis, usual from a stroke of some sort. These chapters show Dr. Mukand's interactions with the patients and how he helped them overcome their conditions. These additions really increase how personal the book is and adds to the overall quality of the book. Each chapter usually references some form of assistive technology as well. As a biomedical engineering student, I found these sections to be the most interesting. These chapters all talk about something I would love to design, and even prompted me to do some research into some of these devices.

About Research
About halfway through the book, there is a rather interesting chapter called "Navigating a Study Through Two Research Review Boards" that gives insight into some of the protocols researchers have to go through in order to gain approval to begin trials. Most people have no idea how research trials are begun, or how much effort is put into making sure they succeed. In the case of the book, Dr. Mukand describes how he and his fellow researchers went through weeks and weeks of meetings and proposal to be able to test the BrainGate technology on a human subject. Many people never get to see this side of research, and I found it to be especially enlightening.

Supplemental Information for the Curious
The book also has two extra sections in it that give readers an opportunity to learn more about what they are reading. There is an section in the middle of the book that has photographs that give the reader a clearer picture of what they are reading, as well as some photos of the people Dr. Mukand has helped in some way. These supplemental pictures were definitely helpful in the cases where the book describes some of the more complex neurological principles. Another section that I found particularly nice was the added reference list at the end. If I or any other reader wanted to learn more about a particular condition or product, we could just go to this section and look up one of these references and learn even more.

Some Favorite Quotes and Conclusion
There were a few quotes that really stood out to me in this book. One quote was "'Even if it helps him one percent, that's great.'" This quote was from the mother of a patient who had suffered a stroke as a result of a hockey injury, and she was weighing rehabilitation options with Dr. Mukand. I found this interesting, because it was a similar quote to one used throughout the book. Many of these patients have very little hope and are willing to try anything to gain the slightest return to normalcy. A quote that was particularly powerful was when Matthew wanted to pull the plug on himself, and his father Pat said "You want to pull the plug. Go ahead -it's right there." He wouldn't let his son just give up on himself like that because he was always a fighter, and it wasn't in his nature to quit.

To wrap up this rather lengthy review, I would like to once again recommend this book to anyone who has an interest in medicine, neuroscience, or just an inspirational story. The book reads like a novel in most parts, making for a fairly easy and entertaining read. The amount of science in the book may make some heads spin, but for those who want to learn more about it, I highly recommend that you pick up this excellent book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hope Comes in Many Forms, January 11, 2013
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This review is from: The Man with the Bionic Brain: And Other Victories over Paralysis (Hardcover)
I have a personal interest in this book. My son Garrett's story is featured in chapter 14. At 19 years old Garrett suffered a massive brain stem stroke as a result of a hockey injury. Our family has spent that last seven years focused on his recovery and rehabilitation. His continued recovery has been nothing short of miraculous. The Man with the Bionic Brain is a book about hope, about not giving up, about always looking forward, not backwards. It is a story of an incredible journey by Matt who refused to settle for a life confined and kept searching for something that would help him even a little bit, make his life a littler easier, a little better. Dr Mukand portrays his story with compassion and shows the amazing strength of Matt and his entire family. As a parent who faced many difficult decisions with my own child, I don't know if I would been able to allow my son to be the subject of the first human trial for braingate. It took such courage, not knowing what the outcome would be. It is because of pioneers like Matt that new technology is developed that in the future will touch and help so many others. This book explores new, cutting edge technology with real stories and shows how new developments are helping people to reclaim their lives. The Man with the Bionic Brain shows us the future of rehabilitation. I always tell Garrett that how is he today is not how he will be ten years from now. His future holds so many possibilities. He has never been and never will be a "victim", he has always been an survivor. This is an amazing story about an amazing young man. This book confirms that nothing in life is impossible.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Cutting Edge, August 26, 2012
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What an amazing book that well captures the latest cutting edge of science interwoven with a heart breaking journey of hope. This book benefits not only the patients and families in this book but also gives hope to the what the future can bring to all of us who may suffer loss of independence through sickness, illness or tragedy. The reader is amazed at the strength and compassion of a Doctor who produced a labor of love that we can experience along with him as hope is never lost out for a miracle. Matthew is an amazing real patient who you fall in love with through his determination to try anything to leave his mark in history...which he does through Brain Gate. A page turner to say the least that has you laughing, crying and holding your breath as you travel along Matthew's (and other patients) quest to feel whole again as medicine and science team together to make sci-fi no longer fiction ...A must read book that will forever change your outlook...Nothing is impossible after all. Hope to see this book come out as a movie!!!
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars It will make you cry...for two reasons:, February 12, 2013
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This review is from: The Man with the Bionic Brain: And Other Victories over Paralysis (Hardcover)
First, because the story of Matt and his struggle to come to grips with paralysis early in his adult life is heart-wrenching. The heroes in the story, though, are not only Matt, but his parents. Their dedication to their son is inspiring--I could only hope to love so deeply and practically.

The second reason this book will make you cry is that it is so badly written in sections that you will cringe. The author tries to wax poetic, or lyrical, or something, at times, and it is just painful to read. He does much better when he simply recounts the story which carries its own beauty.

There is a lot of detail about the science and human subject protection requirements of this type of research, which other researchers and surgeons may find interesting, but for the rest of the readership, it's the story that keeps you reading. I doubt I will ever forget this young man and his family. Which is fair praise to this author.
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The Man with the Bionic Brain: And Other Victories over Paralysis
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