From Publishers Weekly
Memory loss and other cognitive problems are increasingly the bugaboo of aging baby boomers, as well as many of their elders. In her first book, veteran journalist Ramin turns herself into a guinea pig as she seeks ways to restore her own failing memory and growing inability to concentrate. Looking at a wide variety of genetic, biochemical and environmental factors that slow the connections among the brain's 100 billion neurons, especially in the hippocampus, Ramin undertakes 10 interventions, methods of achieving her cognitive enhancement. She logs the ups and downs of medications such as Adderall and Provigil; she looks at dietary supplements and biofeedback. She ends with discussions with experts, such as Nobelist Eric Kandel, about what keeps some people mentally young into old age; the key seems to be having the "mental reserves" gained from challenging one's mind with new kinds of learning—such as learning a new language or studying art—that use different parts of the brain; the right diet and exercise also help. Overall, the variety of perspectives and the wealth of scientific information Ramin provides, as well as her warm personal style, will reward readers and may well help them stay mentally sharp. (Apr. 1)
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Sometime after her fortieth birthday, journalist Ramin, who counts on her wits and recall, began forgetting the names of people and common objects. She was also having difficulty focusing for longer than it took to look up a synonym for the word whatchamacallit
. She was so distressed that her first reaction was to conceal her handicap. She discovered, however, that many friends and associates, all about her age, were suffering the same symptoms and also trying to keep them secret. For the good of others in the same boat, she decided to throw herself on the sword, admit her incapacity, and offer herself as guinea pig as well as reporter to research midlife cognitive breakdown and the interventions available to ameliorate it. Her meaty memoir and science report reveals that there are nearly as many reasons for midlife memory loss (forgetfulness doesn't always presage Alzheimer's) as there are people who suffer from it, and that there are several tests to determine specific causes in addition to numerous resources to correct the root problem. Donna ChavezCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved