Book Review: The Sharp Brains Guide to Brain Fitness | Teen Health 411
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Teen Health 411

Book Review: The Sharp Brains Guide to Brain Fitness

I was lucky enough to be asked to review the new book, The Sharp Brains Guide to Brain Fitness: 18 Interviews with Scientists, Practical Advice, and Product Reviews, to Keep Your Brain Sharp, by Alvaro Fernandez and Elkhonon Goldberg (2009), and am happy to report that I really enjoyed the book.

One of the big differences in our house between the teens and the grownups is definitely brain function, so I was looking for all the tips I could get. The book is organized well and starts by debunking several brain fitness myths, giving me hope that aging and stupid don't necessarily go together. Chapter 1 introduces the reader to neuroplasticity, Chapter 2 describes how balanced nutrition, stress management, physical exercise and mental stimulation maintain our brains, Chapter 3 explores mental exercise, Chapter 4 introduces brain training software, Chapter 5 looks at applications for brain training and Chapters 6 and 7 talk about future trends and challenges your own thinking about brain fitness.

I loved the discussion with Dr. Robert Sylwester about the cultural systems that humans have developed - parenting, mentoring, teaching, and mass media - to help young people master the knowledge and skills they need to survive. Added to that was a great description of how parents can observe an adolescents interests and abilities, and insert challenges that help them mature at a healthy rate versus pushing too hard and increasing stress.

Another great section is Chapter 4 which discusses the importance of stress management, and how exercise after age 40 can help save our memories. There is also a great conversation about the variety of noninvasive computerized cognitive training programs that can help stroke victims, traumatic brain injury recovery, and attention deficit disorders.

I learned a tremendous amount about cognitive functioning from this book and found more evidence that how we live our life can affect how well our brains age. The book is pretty technical, uses abbreviations and scientific jargon that might make it hard to digest for many lay people, but it is well worth the read.

You can also visit to find searchable articles, a blog, brain teasers, checklists, recommended books and websites.

Photo credit: brain_blogger
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About the Author

Dr. Brown is a developmental psychologist specializing in adolescent health.