- Hardcover: 280 pages
- Publisher: Jossey-Bass; 1 edition (June 5, 2012)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0470647736
- ISBN-13: 978-0470647738
- Product Dimensions: 7.4 x 1 x 9.6 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars See all reviews (70 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #408,230 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Scientific American Healthy Aging Brain: The Neuroscience of Making the Most of Your Mature Mind 1st Edition
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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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
"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
Top Customer Reviews
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.
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. They are (not sure why the title said only 5):
***Midlife High Blood Pressure
Later in this section they also summed up: What was good for your heart, is also good for your brain.
Chapter 7: Exercise your Body
Chapter 8: Challenge your Brain
Chapter 9: Nutrition Fuel for thought
Chapter 10: The Social Treatment
Chapter 11: Creativity, Spirit and Attitude
Part 4: Your future brain
Chapter 12: The future of the brain
Chapter 13: Living in the Now
In this book there was also references to drugs that can impact memory. Three that I recall were Digoxin, Crestor and Coumadin and their equivalents. Knowing people on these drugs, I also realized, you are on them often for life saving reasons and it is not a simple matter of discontinuing as the alternative drugs will still cause this issue. It seems you have 2 choices, die with an intact memory off these drugs or live with impairment. The choice is obvious.
In summary, this book is a great resource on the current state of the art research in brain function as we age. It is not full of medical terms and is very readable. It also serves as a reminder that our health is in our hands and if we don't address things, we will suffer the consequences.
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.