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The Scientific American Healthy Aging Brain: The Neuroscience of Making the Most of Your Mature Mind Hardcover – June 5, 2012

ISBN-13: 978-0470647738 ISBN-10: 0470647736 Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 280 pages
  • Publisher: Jossey-Bass; 1 edition (June 5, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0470647736
  • ISBN-13: 978-0470647738
  • Product Dimensions: 9.6 x 7.3 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (61 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #447,508 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

From the Author: Five Surprising Ways to Boost an Older Brain

Sometimes it seems that everything the doctor orders can be uncomfortable, unpleasant or boring. Fortunately, research is showing that our brains benefit and even thrive on many activities that give pleasure and zest to life. While not proven to prevent dementia, studies have found a lower risk of Alzheimer's is associated with some of the things we love to do best.

  1. Socialize. An active social life is connected with better brain health––and isolation and loneliness are associated with higher risks of death and dementia. In fact, real life social networks can be better for your health than exercising.

  2. Take a trip. An eight-year study found those who stuck to their rooms or immediate home had almost twice the risk of developing Alzheimer’s as those who got up, out and about––good reason to take that long-awaited trip.

  3. Enjoy Sex. Orgasm floods the brain with oxygen-rich blood, pleasure- producing dopamine and may provoke growth of new brain cells. No partner? No problem, say the experts: Orgasms have that good effect whatever the source.

  4. Relax. Stress contributes to inflammation and a host of bad effects on body and brain that increase risks of dementia. Meditation, yoga and tai chi are connected with better brain function, but you may find relaxation through a soothing walk in the countryside or an engaging hobby.

  5. Be Creative. The long-term productivity of many artists, musicians and writers is testimony to the good effects of creative endeavors on the brain. And you don’t have to be a pro: a study of seniors enrolled in weekly art activities found they had significantly better physical and mental health than those who weren’t so occupied.

Review


"Judith Horstman elegantly describes the well-aged brain, and what the latest research suggests to preserve its power and its function."    Mehmet Oz, MD, Professor of Surgery, and star of The Dr. Oz Show.


". . .a trusty guide to vibrant later years. Any baby boomer would be smart to read this book -- and so be likelier to stay smart longer." Daniel Goleman, Author The Brain and Emotional Intelligence.

"A must read for all aging brains!" Marc Agronin, MD, geriatric psychiatrist and author of How We Age.

". . . an indispensable user's manual, essential for keeping your brain young and healthy as the cerebral odometer ticks away." R. Douglas Fields, author of The Other Brain.

"The brightest star in the brain-book galaxy has been Sacramento science writer Judith Horstman. Her straightforward approach, writing style and sense of wit in four books make understanding our brains' workings and quirky behaviors easier than ever." -- Allen Pierleoni, The Sacramento Bee

More About the Author



Judith Horstman is an award-winning journalist who writes about health and medicine. She has been a Washington correspondent, a journalism professor, a Fulbright scholar, and has written and edited in just about any medium including newspapers, newsletters, special health publications, radio, video, the Internet, annual reports and books.

Over the past four years she has written four popular neuroscience books in collaboration with Scientific American:
"The Scientific American Day in the Life of Your Brain"(2009)
"The Scientific American Brave New Brain" (2010)
"The Scientific American Book of Love, Sex and the Brain"(2011)
"The Scientific American Healthy Aging Brain (May 2012)

She and her aging brain live in California near her children and grandchildren, and travel as widely and often as possible. She is a frequent public speaker and a writing coach and is available for interviews, talks and workshops. Email her at info@judithhorstman.com

More about author and educator Judith Horstman:
Her journalism career spans 40 years, from a small-town newspaper, The Ithaca Journal, to USA Today and Gannett News Service in Washington, D.C. In 1986, she was awarded a Knight Science Journalism Fellowship at MIT. From 1988 to 1994, she taught journalism at Keene (N.H.) State College, Oregon State University, Santa Clara (Calif.) University, and in Budapest, Hungary, where she was awarded back-to-back Fulbrights to set up the American Journalism Center and lecture at universities throughout Eastern Europe. While living in Hungary, she wrote the text to a book of photographs by Pulitzer-prize winning photographer Tamás Révész, "Open Air." (http://www.revesz.net/americanwest.html)

She has edited health articles and books for TIME Inc. Health, including "Dr Koop's Self Care Advisor," worked as an editor and writer for the Stanford University Medical Center News Office, and written for the Harvard Heath Letter and Johns Hopkins' White Papers. She was a consultant and editor for a website dedicated to ALS (amytrophic lateral sclerosis) that she helped establish; and contributed as an editor, consultant and writer to a website on lupus (systemic lupus erythematosus, or SLE).

Ms. Horstman has practiced meditation and yoga for more than 40 years, and is known for her expertise in describing complementary therapies. For many years she was a contributing editor for Arthritis Today, the magazine of the Arthritis Foundation, for which she wrote the well-regarded book, "The Arthritis Foundation's Guide to Alternative Therapies." She has been a Tai Chi student of Dr. Paul Lam, who is the co-author of "Overcoming Arthritis," a 2002 book on complementary therapies and Tai Chi for arthritis. (http://www.taichiproductions.com/secureshop/product.php?ProductID=252)

Customer Reviews

The author has compiled very interesting information in a matter that is very easy to read and understand.
C. ONeal
It is a popular book designed to help anybody understand better how the brain works, and how to keep it healthy as it ages.
Steve Proctor
In summary, this book is a great resource on the current state of the art research in brain function as we age.
atmj

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

43 of 51 people found the following review helpful By D. Coral TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on May 1, 2012
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I have a degree in neuroscience. I thought this book was OK on an introductory level (and easily understood by seniors) until I came across information that was misleading. The author has a section entitled "An Ounce of Prevention: Marijuana Might Benefit Aging Brains." She makes it sound like pot smoking is a good thing, pointing out that some scientists are looking into the interaction with chemicals involved with Alzheimers. But the author fails to mention studies that show the harmful effects of marijuana on the brain, for example she doesn't mention the famous study "Cannibas Use and Earlier Onset of Psychosis" published in the General Archives of Psychiatry which offers convincing evidence that marijuana leads to brain damage.

So the author of this book is selective with information that favors her agenda, even though it's not scientifically balanced. Search for Judith Horstman and Marijuana on the web and you'll find a bunch of her articles promoting marijuana for a wide spectrum of medical disorders. If it was all true we'd be taking pot like aspirin. There are medical reasons we don't, and the harmful effects on the brain is one of them.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By atmj TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on August 4, 2012
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Having read Scientific American Mind I was somewhat familiar with what I found within this book. However it nicely went into more detail and depth, luckily never into the clinical level that you would find in a doctor's reference.

Since you can search in the table of contents of this book, I won't recreate it here. But I will reference the information it covers and note specific things that caught my eye.

Part 1: How your brain grows:
Chapter 1: The well aged brain: Older and Happier
Chapter 2: How your brain grows: 0-60
Chapter 3: Your brain growing older, what to expect in a healthy aging brain
What struck me in this section is that they found in studies people who had more education earlier in life (like college) had less dementia. Essentially continuing to go to school past high school sometimes changed the way the brain formed networks and this helped when they got older. For those that didn't go onto college and were well past that age, they recommended challenging your brain now to form alternative networks so that as you aged, you could fall back on this network forming ability.

Part 2: Threats to your brain
Chapter 4:What can go wrong
Chapter 5: The brain killer

Part 3: How to Optimize your Aging Brain
Chapter 6:The big 5 for Optimal Brain
... a mathematical model that predicted that up to half the cases of Alzheimer's could be attributed to lifestyle choices and behaviors that could be modified.
Read more ›
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18 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Danna on May 22, 2012
Format: Hardcover
After reading several of Judith Horstman's books, and interviewing her on my TV show, "Paranormal Connection", I said to myself, what more is there to learn about my brain? Then I read Judith's latest release, "The Scientific American Healthy Aging Brain", and learned so much more! Judith has an incredible talent for presenting medical textbook information in layman's terms, and interjecting a good dose of humor to keep the reader turning pages.
Not only did I find tips on how to slow the onset of dementia, in her "ounce of prevention" chapter, Judith also shares information on the benefits of marijuana to an aging brain, which I found fascinating! The medical benefits of this herb have been known for centuries and researchers have been studying the active components of marijuana for decades to see how and why it can help ease pain and anxiety, especially in those who are very sick. Smoking anything is harmful -- and Judith is careful to report medical advice NOT to smoke pot, and emphasizes research that shows it's bad for young brains-- but some of the ingredients in this ancient herb could hold hopeful treatments for older brains! .
I highly recommend "The Scientific American Healthy Aging Brain" for anyone over 20!
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This is a very lightweight review of neuroscience developments as recorded in the pages of Scientific American Magazine. The theme of the book, as stated by the author, is that you can't thwart aging, but "there is plenty you can do to age well". The author actually sums up her book in her introduction: "[f]or most of us, older is indeed happier, and researchers are finding that happiness may be its own reward: living an active, optimistic life with many friends and lots of leisure-time activities increases not only the quality of your life but the longevity of you and your brain".

Author Judith Horstman's style is distressingly light and airy. Even when describing the science underlying the conclusions she discusses, the science is more or less left on the steps of the back door. Instead, we get a chatty la-de-da approach: ". . . research on creative accomplishments indicates that in some disciplines, such as the arts, history, and fiction writing, many people produce their best work in their 50s or even decades later. Philosophy, leadership, and politics is another area [sic] in which the older person flourishes - hence, the term elder statesman." No, I am not making this up.

Though there is a list of sources collected in the back of the book, few assertions are supported by citation to a specific source. For example, "a 2011 Rush University study of 1,138 older folks with a mean age of 80 found those who were the most socially active had one-quarter of the decline of the least social". There follows a very general discussion of what the study attempted to measure and how, but it is not the kind of detail that would be useful to a scientifically inclined reader: it is aimed more at the aging person who wants encouragement. Or at least the way it strikes me.

On the whole - and it is unfortunate - this is a lightweight book. It is interesting enough to sustain a reading and may lead you to further reading on the subject.

Jerry
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