Ben van Cranenburgh

Dr. Ben van Cranenburgh is a neuroscientist. He was born in Haarlem, the Netherlands, and studied Medicine in Amsterdam after which he worked for seven years as a scientific researcher in the Dutch Central Institute for Brain Research (currently Institute for Neuroscience). In 1973 he obtained a PHD in a neurophysiological subject: spontaneous neuronal activity in the normal brain and during development of arteriosclerosis. This study showed changes in neuronal firing patterns in the brain affected by arterosclerosis.

In the following years van Cranenburgh applied himself especially to development and innovation in higher education for Physiotherapy. Van Cranenburgh has always shown a special interest in teaching and education. In this context he published the visually oriented book “Physiological Schematics”, a book which explains complex and difficult (neuro) physiological subjects in a visual-didactic manner. This book was significantly expanded in the following years.

Van Cranenburgh lead clinical research into neuropsychological deficits among stroke patients in the Rehabilitation Centre in Amsterdam (RCA, now called Reade) In 1987 he founded the Institute for Applied Neurosciences (ITON Foundation, Haarlem), where he still works today. Since 2010 the ITON Foundation works in partnership with the Faculty of Behavioural and Movement Sciences of the Free University of Amsterdam (VU). The ITON Foundation has as its main purpose to screen developments in neurosciences in order to apply new theories and insights into various practical areas: neurorehabilitation, therapy, sport, music and education.

One core activity of the ITON Foundation is the annual course on neurorehabilitation (2 x 9 days: Part 1: Problem analysis; Part 2: Neuro-intervention). This course is aimed at professionals working with patients with brain damage (stroke, trauma). This course has also been given in more than 80 institutes across The Netherlands and Belgium (hospitals, rehabilitation centres, nursing homes, institutes for learning disability). Another core subject is chronic pain for which courses are also offered, either for individuals or pain teams. Van Cranenburgh developed many models and concepts which can be used in practice as a means to undertake a systematic problem analysis and design a treatment plan for brain damage or chronic pain.

In 1996 the first volume of the series of textbooks “Applied Neurosciences” was published, titled “Neurosciences, an overview”. In subsequent years followed volume 2 “Neuropsychology”, volume 3 “Pain” and volume 4 “neurorehabilitation”. The latter was also translated into German. New updated editions were published in 2014. These books are used intensively in education (Universities and higher education) and in rehabilitation practice.

In addition van Cranenburgh published many other books and articles for healthcare professionals and informative materials for patients with various subjects: chronic pain, consequences of brain damage, plasticity and restitution, motor learning, music and the brain, neurorehabilitation in primary healthcare. He is working intensively with patients: in particular people with pain and stroke-patients. As a consequence, most of his publications put the patient perspective at the centre. Van Cranenburgh is often invited as a speaker to symposia, congresses and courses in the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany and Switzerland.

Ben van Cranenburgh lives in Haarlem in The Netherlands. He is an active sportsman (speed skating, tennis, mountain sports) and musician (clarinet, piano and viola). His own experience in the area of sport and music play an important role in his recognition and understanding of the connection between the brain and behaviour.