The SharpBrains Guide to Brain Fitness: How to Optimize Brain Health and Performance at Any Ageby Alvaro Fernandez
"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 prac­
"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
Modern life places extraordinary demands on our brains. Not only do we live longer than ever before, but we must constantly adapt to complex and rapidly evolving personal and professional realities. Yet, we often ignore our most precious resource to do so: our brain.
The SharpBrains Guide to Brain Fitness cuts through the clutter of misconceptions, superficial and conflicting media coverage, and aggressive marketing claims, to help readers discover what really works, and what doesn't, to improve brain health and performance at any age, to delay or prevent cognitive decline, and become smarter consumers of both media coverage and scientific research in the process.
With useful, pragmatic and personalized tips and suggestions that are easy to implement, the SharpBrains Guide offers a groundbreaking new approach for self-assessing current brain fitness needs and identifying the most relevant and evidence-based methods to preserve and enhance brain function throughout life. Whether your goal is to become more resilient, enhance memory, ward off Alzheimer's disease, or simply improve mental focus to perform better at work, this how-to guide shows you exactly how to "use it or lose it."
This new and much-expanded edition of the guide AARP named a Best Book on Brain Fitness combines a user-friendly tutorial on how the brain works with advice on how to choose and integrate lifestyle changes and research-based brain training. Featuring an independent analysis of hundreds of scientific studies published in the last 10 years, the book also includes in-depth interviews with 20 leading scientists who often challenge conventional wisdom and prevailing brain health thinking and care.
A thought-provoking, practical and captivating read, the SharpBrains Guide makes the fascinating and complex subject of brain function and neuroplasticity easy to digest with its common sense approach. It's time to rethink, and to truly apply, "use it or lose it."
PRAISE FOR THE BOOK
"One of those books you cannot ignore. Insightful, to the point, actionable. A book for leaders, innovators, thought provokers and everyone who wants to act and live smarter and healthier, based on latest neuroscience." -Dr. Tobias Kiefer, Director Global Learning & Development, Booz & Company
"A great start for making sense new brain science and for taking active steps towards smart health, at the individual level, and Smart Health, at the societal level." -Misha Pavel, PhD, Program Director for the National Science Foundation's Smart Health and Wellbeing Program
"This is the book you need to begin to think differently about your brain and actively embrace the exciting and promising reality that your brain's health is the cause of the century." -Sandra Bond Chapman, PhD, Founder and Chief Director, UT-Dallas' Center for BrainHealth
"An essential reference on the field of brain fitness, neuroplasticity and cognitive health" -Walter Jessen, PhD, founder and editor, Highlight Health
"A much-needed 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
- SharpBrains Incorporated
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Meet the Author
Alvaro Fernandez, named a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum, is the CEO of SharpBrains, a leading independent market research and think tank tracking health and well-being applications of neuroscience. He has been quoted by The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, CNN, Reuters, and Associated Press, among others. Alvaro produces the annual SharpBrains Virtual Summit, the leading virtual conference gathering hundreds of brain scientists and experts worldwide. He started his career at McKinsey & Co, and led the launch and turn-around of several education-related start-ups. Alvaro has an MBA and MA in Education from Stanford University, and a BA in Economics from Universidad de Deusto.
Elkhonon Goldberg, Ph.D., is an author, scientist, educator and clinician, internationally renowned for his clinical work, research, writing and teaching in neuropsychology and cognitive neuroscience. Dr. Goldberg is a Clinical Professor, Department of Neurology at New York University School of Medicine, and Diplomate of The American Board of Professional Psychology in Clinical Neuropsychology. A student and close associate of the great neuropsychologist Alexander Luria, Dr. Goldberg has continued to advance Luria's scientific and clinical tradition, and written popular science books such as The Executive Brain: Frontal Lobes and The Civilized Mind and The Wisdom Paradox: How Your Mind Can Grow Stronger As Your Brain Grows Older.
Pascale Michelon, Ph.D. in Cognitive Psychology, is a scientist, educator and writer. Dr. Michelon started her career as a Research Scientist at Washington University in Saint Louis where she conducted behavioral and neuroimaging studies to better understand how the brain processes and memorizes visual information. She is now an Adjunct Faculty at Washington University.
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The SharpBrains Guide to Brain Fitness The reason I wanted to read and review this book is that brain science is a very important subject to me. I’ve had three serious jolts to my head, all were life altering. Brain science is still a subject that needs a lot more study and investigation in my opinion. The brain goes through so many changes in a lifetime: car accidents, sports accidents, kids falling down hitting their heads, hormonal changes, diet, old age . . . it’s a wonder we survive all of this trauma. The big problem is that when these injuries occur, most people don’t realize any damage has been done. They just know that people suddenly are reacting differently to them, they can’t do math any longer, they lose control of their spending habits, engage in risky behavior, or they can’t perform as well as they were able to before. That is why this company is so important to all of us. They’ve been tracking brain health and neuroscience research since 2005. They’ve gathered a lot of information from the top scientists around the globe to make us more aware of how to take care of our minds—to make us wiser in how to change our brains and gain the specific function we have lost over the years. The book is divided into nine chapters. Eight of the chapters include interviews from some of the top brain scientists from around the world. Over 100 brain researchers have contributed to this volume providing invaluable information on the subject. In chapter one, “Start with the Brain in Mind,” the text goes into detail about how the brain functions with a focus on memory, attention, emotions, perception, motor skills, visual and spatial processing, and executive functions. The explanations give real-life examples, so that a person can easily relate to the different areas of function. Neurons are clearly explained, areas of the brain and functions, like memory, attention, etc., are lightly touched upon. Neuroplasticity is explained and how to improve learning capabilities. In chapter two, “Be a Coach, not a Patient,” some of the advancements in brain health are brought to light. There is a breakdown of a survey taken about what the average person is most concerned with in their brain health. Various new studies are examined and explained, plus a few tips that are theorized to help cognition. In chapter three, “Mens Sana In Corpore Sano,” physical exercise is examined in detail — new studies that show the benefits to the brain through exercise and how it can slow the progression of brain atrophy as we grow older. In chapter four, “You Are What You Eat and Drink (Up to a Point),” as the chapter title reveals, there is much talk about diet and how it effects the brain. Further discussion is included on antioxidants, supplements, caffeine and alcohol, diabetes and smoking, and how obesity affects the brain. (We all better get on those diets now!) In chapter five, “Oh, the Places You’ll Go,” different types of mental activity are mentioned and the importance of continuing to learn new information. Crossword puzzles are discussed and why they aren’t enough, and how they lose value over time. Another important subject is brought up: how to delay the onset of Alzheimer’s, and the importance of lifelong learning to buy more time. What education, board games, and playing cards have in common. And, a few video games are highlighted as helping various brain functions. In chapter six, “Oh, the People You’ll Meet,” explains the importance of brain health and social relationships. The more social connections one has the healthier the brain is. In chapter seven, “Manage Stress, Build Resilience,” There is good stress and bad stress. Chronic stress causes serious changes in the body chemicals and the brain. A section of lifestyle adjustments are suggested with highlights on the benefits of the various options listed. At the end of this chapter is a long section with many specialists explaining the effects of stress and the changes we can make to improve our brains and bodies. In chapter eight, “Cross-train Your Brain,” Brain training is explained in detail and how to get the most from the training you choose, as well as brain training games, biofeedback, cognitive behavioral training, and a SharpBrains recommendation on the top brain training programs. In chapter nine, “How to Be Your Own Brain Fitness Coach,” is a chapter to put everything in the book into a workable plan. There are personal stories explaining how various people can deal with improving their brains and life in general. Overall, “The SmartBrains Guide to Brain Fitness” is full of valuable information. Whether you want to target a specific area in your life or whether you want to just tune-up the whole brain-body connection, this book has so much to offer. It takes complex principles and puts them in simple language that is easy to understand, and it offers a deep understanding of how our brains work, and what we can do to make it better—even as we age. This is a must-read for anyone concerned about their brain health. I told someone that I would let them read this book when I am finished with it. I don’t want to let this go now. I think I’ll buy them a copy of their own. I’d like to thank the authors for this complimentary copy in exchange for an honest review.
As a curious and disciplined reader of neuroscience, psychology and business books, I naturally gravitate towards works that help me understand how to enhance cognitive and emotional well-being. Discerning useful knowledge from a sea of noise and potential misinformation often presents a daunting task. Fortunately, The SharpBrains Guide to Brain Fitness has done the work for me! This book presents insights from across a vast collection of high-quality scientific studies and expert interviews, suggesting practical and potentially life-changing ways to implement these insights. For example, did you know that perhaps one of the most powerful ways to harness brain plasticity in a positive way is to find a social environment that constantly stimulates and challenges you (as opposed to more casual social interactions that are likely to merely provide short-term cognitive boosts)? Or that controlled studies demonstrate that certain meditative techniques, when practiced for as little has a half-hour per day for eight weeks, augment brain structures associated with learning, memory and emotional regulation? The SharpBrains Guide may well become a timeless reference, serving as a true landmark for those seeking to achieve peak performance and cultivate practices that enhance quality of life. If you asked me for a worthy investment of time and money - well, this is it.
Well complied and very readable. I would recommend this to anyone who wonders about their most important organ in their body.