The Sharp Brains Guide to Brain Fitness Paperback – Apr 30 2009
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
This book is a great resource for learning the basics of the different brain areas and varied brain functions. I learned in Chapter 1 how to improve learning abilities based on the varied ways of learning. If a child is having a difficult time in learning, changing the technique of learning is indicated. In schools, variations must be used with learners that are not learning in the traditional manner. The interview with Dr. James Zull discussed this point. This was not a central point of Chapter 1 but I thought that the comments on education were really interesting.
Chapter 1 also discussed how neuroplasticity is at the core of brain fitness. An interesting study was described, stating that London taxi drivers have a larger hippocampus than London bus drivers due to the taxi drivers need to decide on varying routes compared to the bus drivers having set routes during their day.
The most helpful chapter of this book for me was Chapter 2. The chapter delved in to the 4 pillars of brain health. The four pillars of brain health are: balanced nutrition, stress management, physical exercise, and mental stimulation. Before reading this book, I knew that what is good for the heart is good for the brain. What I learned was how critical physical exercise is for brain health. The chapter went into great detail for each of the 4 pillars and discussed scientific studies related to each area. The book stated that brisk walking for a total of 3 hours each week can halt or reverse brain atrophy. This chapter has straight forward information on how to make a difference in how you work towards brain health and fitness.
Chapter 4 delved in to the different brain training programs that are available to the public. I had no idea that there were so many different programs available outside of the medical and educational professions. The different programs were discussed without bias, which was really appreciated. The programs were broken down into an easy to compare chart and then discussed in detail. This chapter was quite helpful to me in finding a stress management product.
This book also has thought provoking questions for group discussions and or book clubs listed in Chapter 7. The questions listed will bring the topic of brain fitness front and center to debates with families, friends, and colleagues. What better way to stimulate the brain than to take a walk with a friend and talk about the book.
This book also offers hope to those challenged with PTSD and other types of traumatic brain injury by instructing readers to increase capacity and work with the brain's innate power to rewire itself through learning new skills and abilities. The authors have interviewed the prominent scientists in the field for the most recent research and insight so it is chockfull of information.
I would recommend this book to everyone who is interested in a healthy brain and increasing its ability to develop a more fulfilling life.
Geriatric Care Manager
There were some useful ideas for those who are unfamiliar with attention training, such as mindfulness meditation. However, Jon Kabat-Zinn's work is far more in-depth and research-based than what these authors present, and JKZ started his research 30 years ago.
In summary, I say that readers would be better-served by doing PubMed searches on "working memory," "attention training," etc, and buying a stress reduction book by Jon Kabat-Zinn.
And exercise and eat well and all the stuff you already know you should be doing anyway.
I found the chapter on Brain Maintenance, the 4 Pillars, gave me a roadmap of what I can do to maintain good brain health. The Brain Training Software, Quick Picks chapter was extremely helpful by outlining a checklist to use when reviewing software. Additionally, the books software picks are segmented by purpose, with explanations, such as target age and brain function, which helps you find the software that best meets your goals.
I would recommend this book to anyone interested in maintaining their brain function and fitness as they age.
I found the following to be particularly useful:
- The organization of topics which flows from basic brain science through the ecosystem of stakeholders in the fledgling cognitive fitness industry.
- The strong set of references providing a guide to important research in the field, clearly organized by subject.
- The compendium of software products for cognitive training which gives a thoughtful snapshot of the companies and products that are shaping the early widespread applications of cognitive training science. Importantly, the authors clearly point out the level of clinical validation supporting each product.
I fully recommend this book.
San Mateo, CA
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