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Carved in Sand: When Attention Fails and Memory Fades in Midlife Hardcover – April 3, 2007
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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)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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 Chavez
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
Top customer reviews
With dire predictions of the continued increase of dementia in the coming years, this is a must read. The author tells of her own struggle with the onset of memory problems in her early forties an how she deals with it. She tells us it's not just the memory loss but the axiety that comes with it. Because of her profession and contacts she was able to do the research and get the help that she needed. She writes about this search with tremendous sensitivity and insight.
I continue to reread parts of this wonderful book and highly recommend it to everyone over the age of thirty, dealing with the onset of their own dementia or a caregiver for someone with this terrible desease.
The book is not a formula, more of a survey of possibilities.
There was a word or two of wisdom at the end--that put things into a new and healthier perspective.
Chock full of valuable information and presented in a highly readable style this book will take its place on your reference shelf for frequent revisits as it has mine.
What is especially extraordinary about Ramin is that she is completely honest about the results of what she calls a series of "Interventions" into the world of improving brain power. For
instance she finds that meditation doesn't work for her. Hallelujah! It doesn't work for me either. At last someone I could identify with instead of wondering what was wrong with me.
Ramin's journey through the research into the brain and the methods and drugs used today to help with problems is fascinating, educational and a great read.