- Paperback: 304 pages
- Publisher: Little, Brown and Company; Reprint edition (January 1, 2013)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0316113514
- ISBN-13: 978-0316113519
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.8 x 8.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars See all reviews (558 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,063 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain Paperback – January 1, 2013
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"This is my self-help book for the season."―Houston Chronicle
"At last a book that explains to me why I feel so much better if I run in the morning!"―Dr. Susan M. Love, author of Dr. Susan Love's Menopause and Hormone Book and Dr. Susan Love's Breast Book
"SPARK is just what we need. In mental health, exercise is a growth stock and Ratey is our best broker."―Ken Duckworth, M.D., Medical Director for the National Alliance on Mental Illness
"This book is a real turning point that explains something I've been trying to figure out for years. Exercise is not simply necessary, as Dr. Ratey clearly shows, it's medicine."―Greg LeMond, three-time winner of the Tour de France
"SPARK is mercifully short on Ivy League med-school-speak. And it may just spell the end of all dumb-jock jokes."―Outside Magazine
"I enthusiastically recommend this book...If your goal is to live a long and healthy life to the fullest then Spark should be required reading."―Kenneth H. Cooper, M.D., M.P.H., "Father of Aerobics"
"Bravo! An extremely important book. What Cooper did decades ago for exercise and the heart, Ratey does in SPARK for exercise and the brain. An utterly convincing and brilliantly documented ground-breaking work...So, get moving! Your brain will thank you and repay you many times over."―Edward Hallowell, M.D., The
"Ratey has culled the latest science and found that a regular workout can help build a better, faster brain."―USA Today
About the Author
John Ratey, M.D. is a clinical professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. He is the author of numerous bestselling and groundbreaking books, including Driven to Distraction and A User's Guide to the Brain. He lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where he has a private practice. Eric Hagerman is a former editor of Popular Science and Outside. His work has been featured in The Best American Sports Writing 2004, Men's Journal, and PLAY.
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Top customer reviews
As a retired doc ,I was unaware of the new developments in the complex organ which houses our intelligence and our souls.
Dr.Ratey has the ability to explain function so even a doctor can understand.
I graduated med school in '59 and retired a few years ago.
The amount and intracracy of information is mind boggling and I don't know how the busy clinician finds the time to keep up
particularly while being overwhelmed -- created by a bureaucracy which is drowning and hence diminishing what was once the most gratifying
occupation that one can be priviledged to engage in
Pardon spelling and punctuation am old,senile man who is just learning how to type and forgotten how to spell
I would recommend this book to readers who like: to learn about the effects of exercise on the brain.
The book begins with Ratey and Hagerman presenting a case study of a school system in Illinois that has implemented a unique type of Physical Education curriculum that focuses on improving the overall health of enrolled students. By performing team-building physical exercises such as rock climbing, relay running, and swimming, students condition their bodies and minds. The school also helps students feel less self-conscious about their physical abilities by having them compete against themselves. For instance, instead of having the students run and race against each other they challenge students to beat their previous running times. After implementing this system, administrators noticed an increase in standardized test scores throughout the school district. Compared to before the institution of the Physical Education program. The authors then move on to explain how exercising can enhance learning from a unique scientific perspective: exercise can make neuron’s dendrites branch out according to research being conducted. In addition, Ratey provides the reason why and how exercise can mitigate stress and improve the mood of patients with depression by increasing endorphins. Ratey and Hagerman then complete their study with how exercise can help drug addicts regain self-control and learn self-discipline by abiding to a strict exercise regiment. The authors conclude the book with how exercise can help aging people maintain neural plasticity and amplify their memory and learning through their old age.
I thought that the book was well written and it was easy to understand. It had me hooked from the start. I thought that beginning the book with the Illinois School System case study was an excellent idea and provided the framework and evidence for the rest of the cases to build on. The case study also helped put into perspective how important exercise can be not only to adults but also to children. I also liked how the book used very simple terms and explained in depth what a scientific term meant if it were used so the reader could understand. By explaining scientific concepts in depth it let people with even no scientific background enjoy the book and understand the overall message. For instance when describing the function of neurotransmitters, the authors use the analogy of neurotransmitters being like radio waves from one neuron to another. When the authors described the function of an inhibitory neurotransmitter such as GABA, they suggested it was like signaling a stop signal from neuron to neuron or to an effector cell/organ. From a neuroscience perspective, I enjoyed the exciting new research that is being conducted and how the authors presented the new concepts. For example, the authors stated that the presence of brain-derived neutropic factors (BDNF) acts like neuron fertilizer, and causes dendrites to grow and branch from neurons. They also talked about how BDNF can encourage long-term potentiation by making more ion channels open, thus causing a stronger voltage change and therefore signal. Reading the book really “sparked” my interest in the topic and I would enjoy learning more and maybe conducting laboratory researching in the future about the subject as it is a newly discovered concept.
All in all, I believe that Spark was an expertly written book that helped me to gain better understanding of the connection of exercise and enhanced brain health. It also helped to trigger my interest in new and developing neuroscience concepts and fields which I hope to learn more about in the near future. I recommend this book to anyone with an interest in neuroscience or even exercise. Anyone person with an interest in neuroscience will be captivated from the start.