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50 of 53 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brain Food
Michael Sweeney and many others have stated that the brain needs to be challenged and exercised in order for it to grow and to remain sharp. It's one of several reasons why I read such a book, a book that explores the incredible machine that is our brain.
When I first explored this hefty 340 page heavyweight volume, I thought I'd just enjoy the pictures and only read...
Published on January 18, 2010 by Spudman

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50 of 52 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not Nearly as Good as "The Human Brain Book"
I ordered this book and "The Human Brain Book" by Rita Carter and there is no comparison. "Brain: The Complete Mind" has a prettier cover but the content is far more superficial and the illustrations are not nearly as educational and engaging. You will get a lot more enjoyment as well as understanding from "The Human Brain Book." The Human Brain Book
Published on July 15, 2010 by Joan Cousins


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50 of 52 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not Nearly as Good as "The Human Brain Book", July 15, 2010
This review is from: Brain: The Complete Mind: How It Develops, How It Works, and How to Keep It Sharp (Hardcover)
I ordered this book and "The Human Brain Book" by Rita Carter and there is no comparison. "Brain: The Complete Mind" has a prettier cover but the content is far more superficial and the illustrations are not nearly as educational and engaging. You will get a lot more enjoyment as well as understanding from "The Human Brain Book." The Human Brain Book
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50 of 53 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brain Food, January 18, 2010
By 
Spudman (Pasadena, MD United States) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Brain: The Complete Mind: How It Develops, How It Works, and How to Keep It Sharp (Hardcover)
Michael Sweeney and many others have stated that the brain needs to be challenged and exercised in order for it to grow and to remain sharp. It's one of several reasons why I read such a book, a book that explores the incredible machine that is our brain.
When I first explored this hefty 340 page heavyweight volume, I thought I'd just enjoy the pictures and only read passages and snippets of interest. Midway through the first chapter I was hooked and never looked back.

I'm just an average potato brained reader with no science background or passionate interest in science but with a late life interest in this natural wonder that lives within each and every one of us. The book informs, challenges, and offers topics to think and reflect upon. It covers the physiology of the brain, the history of what man has learned about it, current knowledge and possible future breakthroughs.

Throughout the book are many supplementary pieces of information that support, explain, and enhance the text. In the beginning of Brain the reader is introduced to these extras: tables, charts, flow charts, sidebars, fact boxes, and fast facts. After interrupting myself too many times from the flow of the main text to read these extras, I found it easier and more enjoyable and efficient to read the sidebars first.

Two of my favorite chapters are near the end of the book - Learning and Memory and The Aging Brain. I found quite a bit here to apply to my own brain and to share with my students.

Anyone with an interest in the workings of the brain or anything related to the human brain should find "Brain" a fascinating, stimulating, and educational read. Even if you don't have the desire to read such a book cover to cover, it's a great book to add to you personal library.
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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars contains some really good information, but scant diagrams and illustrations, August 11, 2010
This review is from: Brain: The Complete Mind: How It Develops, How It Works, and How to Keep It Sharp (Hardcover)
The strongest points of this book are that it contains some really good information on current developments in neuroscience and explains some things well in words, but doesn't contain enough diagrams and illustrations which are important for brain books. The explanation on how LTP takes place in words for example is excellent but when explaining things like this, most books on the brain have diagrams to illustrate this concept. The reason I was able to understand and appreciate the explanation is because I've read and studied other books on the brain. When terms like NMDA receptors and calcium channels are used, they should be accompanied by diagrams. Otherwise, most casual readers will be lost. Casual readers may be able to memorize the information in words, but they won't be able to visualize what is taking place.

On page 259, there is a three dimensional MRI image of the brain with Broca's and Wernicke's areas highlighted in different colors as well as the visual cortex. Two of those areas they have highlighted however are wrong. Broca's area is correctly indicated, but Wernicke's and the area which is suppossed to be the primary visual cortex are wrong. The area they have highlighted for wernicke's area is actually the primary auditory cortex and the area they have highlighted for primary visual cortex is Geschwind's territory (which isn't even mentioned in the book).

The error combined with the fact that there are too few diagrams and detailed explainations and illustrations made me give this book 3 stars. Despite the fact that the book "The Human Brain" by Rita Carter contains numerous errors, it is a much better book than this one and you will be able to learn much more from it.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Informative and fun, January 16, 2010
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This review is from: Brain: The Complete Mind: How It Develops, How It Works, and How to Keep It Sharp (Hardcover)
The book covers a lot of ground, background and current research. The layout is refreshing, unlike many books that bore you with terminology geared towards a neurosurgeon. The many sidebars, anecdotes and personalities mentioned make the book engrossing. The illustrations are informative and the description of terms is lucid. Great primer for high schoolers and older people. One of the best introductions for those looking to study neuro-whatever. For those who want a free book, search "Brain facts by the Society for Neuroscience" (The web link is removed by Amazon). However, Brain: The Complete Mind is much more interesting and worth the price.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brain: The Complete Mind…Blowing Experience of Reading this Book, December 10, 2013
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This review is from: Brain: The Complete Mind: How It Develops, How It Works, and How to Keep It Sharp (Hardcover)
The book Brain: The Complete Mind, written by Michael S. Sweeney, is an elegant and informative book I would recommend to any beginning and/or intermediate neuroscientist. I would give this book 5 out of 5 stars since although it is a typical scholarly book, it captivates and intrigues the reader by relating everyday situations to the healthiness of the brain. Not only that, but Sweeney offers tools and tips to train and support your brain so that it maintains healthy neuronal connections no matter your age. This book looks at the history of neuroscience and how research and information have accumulated over the years to uncover the complex properties of the brain. It offers in-depth information that ranges from basic anatomical principals, cellular aspects and pathways, to general information on how to keep the brain sharp and healthy. The book is written in an easily understood contextual language so that even the inexperienced neuroscientist can pick it up.
Brain: The Complete Mind is extremely informative and covers all elements of the brain including learning and memory, the nervous system, motion, and our state of mind. The chapters I personally found most interesting dealt with neuroscience history, brain development, perception, awareness, and age. Sweeney begins by covering the history and anatomy of the brain and the neuroscientists behind the discoveries. Sweeney describes the important structures (neurons, cerebrum, cerebellum, etc.) and early pioneers such as Ramon y Cajal who documented the existence of synapses.
In another chapter, Sweeney discusses the evolution and development of the brain. He notes Charles Darwin while explaining that just as the gazelle was made faster by natural selection, humans benefited from brain development both in complexity and dominance of the cerebral cortex. Sweeny expounds about the development of the brain from it’s beginnings as a neural plate and the migration/plasticity of neurons that form a complex network. He stresses the importance of keeping the mothers body healthy during pregnancy and the critical stages in a baby’s first years of brain development. He provides an example stating that when the budding brain is exposed to environmental toxins like smoking and alcohol; it can cause mental retardation by affecting neuronal migration, connection, and development.
The chapter I found most interesting addresses the senses and how the world is perceived differently and individually by each of us. Drugs, food, and POV all distort how we look at the world and are what make it unique to each of us. This chapter emphasizes how no one perceives experiences the same and how sometimes it is easy to rewire or trick the mind. In a case study, a girl named Rickie perceived the world in an unusual way. She would become scared when she focused on trees and perceived them as coming towards her. She had a neurological problem in which her visual processing center erased depth perception.
Another intriguing chapter in Sweeny’s book addresses the unconscious minds power over the body and cognition. Sweeney describes the idea of neuromarketing, and relates the effect a series of images in a movie or TV program have on the unconscious brain when the actors wear a brand of clothing or a certain wristwatch. He surmises that when there is limited exposure to a product, the unconscious mind sees it as a scarce item and thus high value, making people want it. He also discusses the complexities of being in a coma and how ketamine comas can be used as therapy for nervous system malfunctions.
Sweeney goes on to explain how the neuronal channels in the brain begin to change and diminish with aging due to lack of mental exercise. However, using cognitive tasks like strategy-based games or playing video games that encourage physical exercise and eye-hand coordination can avoid the degeneration of the mind.
Every chapter has tips, fun facts, “breakthroughs” and “what could go wrongs” on every other page, which integrate real-world problems into the topic discussed. Sports, personal stories, and animal relationships among other side notes offer an interesting and refreshing break from the text and remind the reader why neuroscience is such a broad and enthralling topic. My favorite side notes were “Staying sharp” since Sweeney explicitly tells the reader what to do and what to eat to ‘stay sharp’. One note Sweeny provides is to drink small amounts of alcohol a day to increase blood flow and lower the risk of stroke. Furthermore, Sweeney covers different diseases in each chapter, like multiple sclerosis, that can affect the neural systems and the treatments used in the past as well as today to tackle them. In a “What can go wrong” section, Sweeny informs the reader that to treat multiple sclerosis, new drugs like interferon and glatiramer are being used.
I thought this book was intriguing and Sweeney did an excellent job of simplifying the pathways in the brain and CNS (eg. the prefrontal cortex acts like a brakeman on a train when dealing with emotions). His simple and entertaining language made the book an easy read, and the organization of each chapter made the topics flow together well. Each chapter was kept light with pictures to catch the eye, and side stories about the unique neural processes of athletes and musicians to keep it interesting. The text on each page is written into short segments so that the reader isn’t overwhelmed with information. While reading the book, it was a pleasure to refresh my memory of the specific brain regions and their functions along with the hormones and neurotransmitters such as serotonin and dopamine that can easily affect someone’s life. This book revitalized my passion for neuroscience as it reminded me of all the wonderful ways I could improve peoples’ lives with research and medicine. It doesn’t go into the specific transmittors, transporters, or receptors of each neural passage, but the generalized information in it refreshes my appreciation for the big picture.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars THE MASTER ORGAN, January 20, 2015
This review is from: Brain: The Complete Mind: How It Develops, How It Works, and How to Keep It Sharp (Hardcover)
If I were to ask you what is the most important and vital body organ in a person what would be your answer the heart I disagree I would say the brain is the most significant organ this book details why I say that, in the table of contents CHAPTER 1 THE AMAZING BRAIN, CHAPTER 2 THE NERVOUS SYSTEM, CHAPTER 3 BRAIN DEVELOPMENT, CHAPTER 4 THE SENSES, CHAPTER 5 MOTION, CHAPTER 6 STATES OF MIND, CHAPTER 7 THE FEELING BRAIN, CHAPTER 8 LEARNING AND MEMORY, CHAPTER 9 THE AGING BRAIN, EPILOGUE- FUTURE OF THE BRAIN, these are the vital areas for which the brain is the major influence, I'm fascinated with the relationship between the brain and dreams, this is written about on pages 193-197. I'm a heavy dreamer myself, for the longest time all the people in my dreams had no face just a blank space the body was either male or female without a nose, mouth, ears, hair, lips, and eyes, then one night the people in my dream had clear identifiable faces I wish I had recorded when this first happened, but I didn't think of it. I highly recommend this book for everyone who feels the brain is the most important and significant organ in the body.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Informative, June 23, 2013
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This review is from: Brain: The Complete Mind: How It Develops, How It Works, and How to Keep It Sharp (Hardcover)
We bought this book after watching a few episodes of Brain Games on National Geographic. It's amazing how little we know about the brain and how much we've learned over time. I love suggestion they give, for improving certain skills and the graphics keep it interesting.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book and excellent customer service!, April 14, 2012
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This review is from: Brain: The Complete Mind: How It Develops, How It Works, and How to Keep It Sharp (Hardcover)
I order this book as an addition to my psychology classes. The material is up to date, and easy to read and "digest", complimented with great photos and illustrations. Perfect for students, guests, and rainny days. Highly recommend.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars COMPREHENSIVE READ, January 21, 2013
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This is a big book with loads of information. I'm digesting it a little at a time, but I like what I've seen. Great photos and renderings. Overwhelming but well organized and readable. Hated the simplistic DVD.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Love the brain, September 23, 2013
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This review is from: Brain: The Complete Mind: How It Develops, How It Works, and How to Keep It Sharp (Hardcover)
Actually a gift but the pictures and illustrations are great. Text is easy to comprehend and informative. A student is reading this and loving it.
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Brain: The Complete Mind: How It Develops, How It Works, and How to Keep It Sharp
Brain: The Complete Mind: How It Develops, How It Works, and How to Keep It Sharp by Michael S. Sweeney (Hardcover - November 17, 2009)
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