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The Sharp Brains Guide to Brain Fitness: 18 Interviews with Scientists, Practical Advice, and Product Reviews, to Keep Your Brain Sharp Paperback – April 30, 2009

4.5 out of 5 stars 27 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

"Finally, an insightful and complete overview of the science, products and trends to debunk old myths and help us all maintain our brains in top shape. A must-read for everyone with a brain." --Gloria Cavanaugh, former President of the American Society on Aging

"Kudos for an excellent resource! This SharpBrains Guide is full of top notch information, provides practical tips and helps separate hype from hope in the brain health arena." -- Elizabeth Edgerly, Ph.D., Chief Program Officer, Alzheimer's Association

"A masterful guide to the brain training revolution. Promises to stimulate a much needed conversation that will nudge society to build a new brain fitness culture on solid, research-based, foundations." -- P. Murali Doraiswamy MD, Professor of Psychiatry, Duke University an
Co-author of The Alzheimer's Action Plan

"This is the only book that I know of that seamlessly integrates latest information about cognitive health across the lifespan. Very useful to anyone interested in brain care." -- Arthur Kramer, Professor of Psychology at University of Illinois

"The SharpBrains Guide to Brain Fitness is a much-needed new resource to help us better understand our brains and minds and how to nourish them through life." -- Susan E. Hoffman, Director, Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at UC Berkeley

From Kirkus Reviews

"Using charts, drawings, and up-to-date scientific studies, they present the case that any brain, at any age, can change for the better...The authors suggest myriad activities to help the process along...(This is) A stimulating, challenging resource, full of solid information and practical tips for improving brain health." – Kirkus Reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 182 pages
  • Publisher: SharpBrains, Incorporated; 1 edition (April 30, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0982362900
  • ISBN-13: 978-0982362907
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.4 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,291,715 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Alvaro Fernandez runs SharpBrains.com, a leading market research firm tracking health and well-being applications of brain science. Named a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum, he has been quoted by The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, CNN, and more. Alvaro considers himself a "learning microorganism," and loves public speaking. He received masters in education and business from Stanford University, and teaches at UC-Berkeley Osher Lifelong Learning Institute. A native of Spain, he now lives in Washington, DC with his wife and young daughter.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I had great expectations for this book and was not disappointed.

This book is a great resource for learning the basics of the different brain areas and varied brain functions. I learned in Chapter 1 how to improve learning abilities based on the varied ways of learning. If a child is having a difficult time in learning, changing the technique of learning is indicated. In schools, variations must be used with learners that are not learning in the traditional manner. The interview with Dr. James Zull discussed this point. This was not a central point of Chapter 1 but I thought that the comments on education were really interesting.

Chapter 1 also discussed how neuroplasticity is at the core of brain fitness. An interesting study was described, stating that London taxi drivers have a larger hippocampus than London bus drivers due to the taxi drivers need to decide on varying routes compared to the bus drivers having set routes during their day.

The most helpful chapter of this book for me was Chapter 2. The chapter delved in to the 4 pillars of brain health. The four pillars of brain health are: balanced nutrition, stress management, physical exercise, and mental stimulation. Before reading this book, I knew that what is good for the heart is good for the brain. What I learned was how critical physical exercise is for brain health. The chapter went into great detail for each of the 4 pillars and discussed scientific studies related to each area. The book stated that brisk walking for a total of 3 hours each week can halt or reverse brain atrophy. This chapter has straight forward information on how to make a difference in how you work towards brain health and fitness.
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Format: Paperback
This practical guide outlines the new landscape of brain science and provides a structure for enhancing one's brain health: it rates current products available to maintain the brain and offers proactive tips to ensure a healthy aging brain.

This book also offers hope to those challenged with PTSD and other types of traumatic brain injury by instructing readers to increase capacity and work with the brain's innate power to rewire itself through learning new skills and abilities. The authors have interviewed the prominent scientists in the field for the most recent research and insight so it is chockfull of information.

I would recommend this book to everyone who is interested in a healthy brain and increasing its ability to develop a more fulfilling life.

Diane Keefe
Geriatric Care Manager
MA Geronotology
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By PRCalDude on November 12, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book advertised way more than it provided. The interviews with the scientists contained in this book were basically segues into a marketing brochure for the scientists' expensive commercial brain-training software. Most of this software is only superficially-researched or lightly-proven to work.

There were some useful ideas for those who are unfamiliar with attention training, such as mindfulness meditation. However, Jon Kabat-Zinn's work is far more in-depth and research-based than what these authors present, and JKZ started his research 30 years ago.

In summary, I say that readers would be better-served by doing PubMed searches on "working memory," "attention training," etc, and buying a stress reduction book by Jon Kabat-Zinn.

And exercise and eat well and all the stuff you already know you should be doing anyway.
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Format: Paperback
After watching the effect Alzheimer's had on my grandmother, it is comforting to find a guide that gives you help in making informed decisions about brain health and fitness.

I found the chapter on Brain Maintenance, the 4 Pillars, gave me a roadmap of what I can do to maintain good brain health. The Brain Training Software, Quick Picks chapter was extremely helpful by outlining a checklist to use when reviewing software. Additionally, the books software picks are segmented by purpose, with explanations, such as target age and brain function, which helps you find the software that best meets your goals.

I would recommend this book to anyone interested in maintaining their brain function and fitness as they age.

Russ Hitzemann
1 Comment 13 of 15 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Paperback
"The Sharpbrains Guide To Brain Fitness" is a well-rounded yet concise introduction and reference for the science, application, and business of brain health and cognitive training. The authors state their goal as offering "research-based, relevant and up-to-date information and tools" about the science, products, and trends in cognitive health and training. They succeed by taking a fact-based approach. This unbiased focus is especially important for a technology like cognitive training which may offer hope to those suffering from or at risk for distressing disorders such as Alzheimer's, ADHD, stroke, and specific learning disabilities.
I found the following to be particularly useful:
- The organization of topics which flows from basic brain science through the ecosystem of stakeholders in the fledgling cognitive fitness industry.
- The strong set of references providing a guide to important research in the field, clearly organized by subject.
- The compendium of software products for cognitive training which gives a thoughtful snapshot of the companies and products that are shaping the early widespread applications of cognitive training science. Importantly, the authors clearly point out the level of clinical validation supporting each product.

I fully recommend this book.

Peter Wicher
San Mateo, CA
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