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Can't Remember What I Forgot: The Good News from the Front Lines of Memory Research 1st Edition
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From Publishers Weekly
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Top Customer Reviews
The author, who has a piece about PTSD in last week's New Yorker, has been in all the cutting-edge labs, and indeed has let them scan her brain with all the latest gear. It describes what scientists are discovering about the brain, and about what you can do to keep yours working better longer--hint, I'm going out for a run now.
It's good if you are interested in a general tour but, for me, this was unfortunate since I had hoped this book would be practically helpful for a family member with pretty severe short-term memory problems. It contained very few useful tips, most of which are already widely publicized, such as drinking red wine (apparently it's the flavanols, like green tea) and aerobic exercise as well as walking (two miles a day in one study, just one and a half hours a week in another) - also ballroom dancing is tops of all leisure activities. Chocolate, because of its flavanols, receives several pages; although it warns that the chocolate should not be processed in the usual way it doesn't suggest which chocolate brands are best - rather irritating but fortunately I have since learned elsewhere that we need to use the raw, organic cacao bean.
More helpful was "The Brain That Changes Itself" by Norman Doidge. One elderly doctor interviewed by the author recommended one of those computer-based programmes with mental exercises scientifically designed to improve memory which he personally had found beneficial and we bought it immediately. It was hard to get our loved one to use it though (memory problems apparently tend to affect those who don't really use their minds that much - or who take certain types of drugs: read "Lipitor: Thief of Memory " and your blood will run cold) and in the end we did not see much improvement although we suspect it wasn't used for long enough.
Later note: anti-anxiety medication was the most practically helpful step, showing benefits within hours, despite the medics saying it takes weeks.
"Can't Remember What I Forgot" includes the promising, the questionable, and the dismaying, but spread out for our inspection are a lot of nuggets of interest. My favorite, and perhaps the hero of the book is Scott Small, who, using techniques he himself developed, came to the conclusion that the part of the brain that is impaired in Alzheimer's patients is not the same as the part impaired in "normal" forgetting that supposedly is a function of aging. Next nugget, not particularly in any order, is research that suggests that eating blueberries promotes the growth of new neurons in rats (and maybe in people). Next, the nugget of research that suggests that aerobic exercise is a good way of staving off memory loss. Another nugget of research suggests that people with a lot of education are less likely to develop Alzheimer's than people without. Since we're visiting a lot of booths at the bazaar, we also visit some people selling exercises that hopefully will increase the ability to memorize long lists of items, a skill that supposedly helps guard against . . . Against what? Mind deterioration? Memory loss? Alzheimer's?
Somewhere along the way I start having questions.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Valuable and well researched insight jfor those of us who are trying to understand dementia, especially with or for friends or loved onesPublished 6 months ago by John
We've more "brain power" than we know about (or are capable of using at present). This analysis gives the reader more understanding on how the brain works (knowledge we... Read morePublished 23 months ago by C. Barker
If you are looking for a book to discuss scientific findings with any sort of care, this is not the book for you. Read morePublished on August 10, 2012 by A. Rivers
I enjoyed this book immensely. No matter how difficult the science being discussed, the prose is always lucid and entertaining. Sue Halpern writes with authority and good humor. Read morePublished on April 14, 2011 by Trumbo123
"CAN'T REMEMBER WHAT I FORGOT: The Good News from the Front Lines of Memory Research, by Sue Halpern (272 pgs., 2008)." The title gives a perfect summary of this book. Read morePublished on May 22, 2010 by R. A. Frauenglas
I was a bit disappointed with this book. I thought it would talk a lot more about the different types of memory we have and the different types of research that is being done about... Read morePublished on January 9, 2010 by D.J. Young
I bought this book because I felt the need to understand memory loss and/or dementia. Dementia is common in my family and I have always had a lot of concerns in regards to... Read morePublished on July 18, 2009 by KatyDid
Do you have trouble remembering names? Forget where you parked your car at the mall? Miss an appointment? Read morePublished on February 17, 2009 by beanbug
Theis book is about an area of importance to me. It lightly touches some very interesting concepts and ideas, but all too briefly. I was left wanting to know more . Read morePublished on September 10, 2008 by Malcolm R. Tyler