Your Brain on Food: How Chemicals Control Your Thoughts and Feelings

Your Brain on Food: How Chemicals Control Your Thoughts and Feelings

2.7 4
by Gary Wenk
     
 

View All Available Formats & Editions

Why is eating chocolate so pleasurable? Can the function of just one small group of chemicals really determine whether you are happy or sad? Does marijuana help to improve your memory in old age? Is it really best to drink coffee if you want to wake up and be alert? Why is a drug like PCP potentially lethal? Why does drinking alcohol make you drowsy? Do cigarettes… See more details below

Overview

Why is eating chocolate so pleasurable? Can the function of just one small group of chemicals really determine whether you are happy or sad? Does marijuana help to improve your memory in old age? Is it really best to drink coffee if you want to wake up and be alert? Why is a drug like PCP potentially lethal? Why does drinking alcohol make you drowsy? Do cigarettes help to relieve anxiety? What should you consume if you are having trouble staying in your chair and focusing enough to get your work done? Why do treatments for the common cold make us drowsy? Can eating less food preserve your brain? What are the possible side effects of pills that claim to make your smarter? Why is it so hard to stop smoking? Why did witches once believe that they could fly?
In this book, Gary Wenk demonstrates how, as a result of their effects on certain neurotransmitters concerned with behavior, everything we put into our bodies has very direct consequences for how we think, feel, and act. The chapters introduce each of the main neurotransmitters involved with behavior, discuss its role in the brain, present some background on how it is generally turned on and off, and explain ways to influence it through what we consume.

Read More

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In clear, accessible prose, Wenk, a professor of psychology and neuroscience at Ohio State, offers explanations for basic brain functions while exploring how different classes of food and drugs affect those functions. "By the end of the book…you will be able to predict how substances I did not discuss, and those that have not even been invented yet, might also affect your brain." He succeeds in this important and difficult task by focusing on the big picture. He begins with readable and concise explanations of brain anatomy and then moves on to explain how various neurotransmitters (such as acetylcholine, dopamine, and norepinephrine) can act to stimulate or depress brain function. Along the way, Wenk addresses a host of fascinating topics, such as possible treatments for Alzheimer's disease, why the same drug can have opposite effects in high versus low doses, and why addiction is so difficult to overcome. He also discusses why virtually all of the over-the-counter supplements enhancing brain function are useless. The book, both enjoyable and informative, will stimulate readers' brains. 30 b&w photos, 30 b&w illus. (Aug.)
From the Publisher
"An absolutely fascinating read (or book) peppered with gems of surprising information on how certain foods, plants, nicotine and drugs (legal and illegal) alter the very essence of your brain cells' functioning and thus your behavior and mood. Don't deprive yourself of the pleasure of reading it."
—Jean Carper, author of Your Miracle Brain and 100 Simple Things You Can Do To Prevent Alzheimer's and Age-Related Memory Loss.

"Your Brain on Food provides ample and important food for thought in a delightfully written reader-friendly style. Kernels of history sprinkled throughout the book provide both interest and insight into how our appetites influence our brains and, and thus, our thoughts and actions. Gary Wenk has provided a compelling and much-needed antidote to commonly available misinformation about nutrients and brain function. Readers will be richly informed—as well as entertained."
—James L. McGaugh, Research Professor of Neurobiology and Behavior, University of California, Irvine

"All of us are impacted by a bewildering array of psychoactive drugs and foods, some being agents of abuse and others being of importance in treating disease. Gary Wenk, a nationally eminent neuroscientist, provides a gripping account of the neurotransmitters that enable neurons in the brain to talk to each other and shows how drugs as well as substances derived from foods exert their psychoactive influences. Wenk has a gift for making complex concepts crystal clear and relating seemingly arcane science in a fascinating, lucid fashion—as gripping as a detective story. This is an invaluable book for anyone who is curious about the brain and its functions."
—Solomon H. Snyder, M.D., Distinguished Service Professor of Neuroscience, Pharmacology and Psychiatry, Johns Hopkins University

"Intriguing"
—Scientific American MIND

Read More

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780199826582
Publisher:
Oxford University Press
Publication date:
07/01/2010
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Sales rank:
184,860
File size:
2 MB

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >