In 1999, Clark Elliott suffered a concussion when his car was rear-ended. Overnight, his life changed from that of a rising professor with a research career in artificial intelligence to a humbled man struggling to get through a single day. At times he couldn't walk across a room, or even name his five children. Doctors told him he would never fully recover. After eight years, the cognitive demands of his job, and of being a single parent, finally became more than he could manage. As a result of one final effort to recover, he crossed paths with two brilliant Chicago-area research-clinicians - one a specialized optometrist, the other a cognitive psychologist - working on the leading edge of brain plasticity. Within weeks the ghost of who he had been started to re-emerge. Remarkably, Elliott kept detailed notes throughout his experience, from the moment of impact to the final stages of his recovery, astounding documentation that is the basis of this fascinating book.
The Ghost in My Brain gives hope to the millions who suffer from head injuries each year, and provides a unique and informative window into the world's most complex computational device: the human brain.
Dr. Elliott spoke at the NORA (Neuro-Optometric Rehabilitation Association) annual conference in 2015.
“This is a remarkable document, by a remarkable person, the most meticulous and informative account I have ever read of the effects of a traumatic brain injury on a single mind. It should be mined for years to come by all who care about the subject, and is filled with almost Proustian detail about how the brain and mind and heart respond to injury. It would have been just another tragedy, but instead, it turns into an exciting triumph, because of the tireless, ingenious, and utterly creative work of Clark Elliott and his healers—one inspired by the work of the Israeli pioneer, Reuven Feurstein, the other by a little known tradition of neuro-optometric rehabilitation, which can literally use light shone into the eyes, to treat and rewire the brain.”—