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The Dana Guide to Brain Health and Brain Research

Dana Press kind­ly sent us a cou­ple of books. One of them, The Dana Guide to Brain Health: A Prac­ti­cal Fam­i­ly Ref­er­ence From Med­ical Experts, is our top­ic today.

We are impressed by what Dana is doing to insert neu­ro­science find­ings and impli­ca­tions into the pub­lic dis­course.

No big sur­prise then, to find out so much qual­i­ty con­tent inside a 700-page one-of-a-kind guide, some of it, inci­den­tal­ly, pro­vid­ed by Dr. Gold­berg, our Chief Sci­en­tif­ic Advi­sor.

The guide is real­ly 4 books inside a com­mon bind­ing. Priced at a rea­son­able lev­el, and with superb in-depth text and images in all rel­e­vant areas, the book can be used as a 1) Brain 101 tuto­r­i­al, 2) brief sum­ma­ry of the basics of Brain Care and Well­ness, 3) descrip­tion of the stages of brain devel­op­ment, 4) ref­er­ence guide for around 70 brain-relat­ed con­di­tions. In my per­son­al opin­ion, every neu­ro­science, med­ical and psy­chol­o­gy stu­dent, clin­i­cian and researcher should have this book in their hands to keep abreast of many recent devel­op­ments, and also be exposed to pro­fes­sion­al devel­op­ment cours­es based on it. Many fam­i­lies and indi­vid­u­als inter­est­ed in the brain should con­sid­er buy­ing it too.

Giv­en the focus of our blog-brain fit­ness for healthy indi­vid­u­als-, we par­tic­u­lar­ly enjoyed the sec­tions

- on intel­li­gence, with sen­tences such as “It is extreme­ly unlike­ly that an “intel­li­gence pill” will be dis­cov­ered in the near future” (P. 215)

- on “The Brain-Body Loop” which explains, among oth­er things, the effects of stress,

- “Tak­ing Advan­tage of New Find­ings and New Find­ing About the Adult Brain”, with gems such as “Recent research on the brain has estab­lished two great prin­ci­ples. First, far from remain­ing sta­t­ic in adult­hood, as we had long assumed, the human brain con­tin­ues to grow and devel­op through­out our entire life span. This devel­op­ment takes place in two ways: by ongo­ing adjust­ments in sig­nal­ing path­ways and by the addi­tion of new brain cells. Know­ing this means that you should try, as you would with any fine, high-pow­ered machine, to prac­tice good main­te­nance to give it the best chance to pro­vide peak performance…in many respects we can make a mate­r­i­al dif­fer­ence in how it ages, and even induce it to per­form bet­ter over time…Just as we may choose to strength­en our mus­cles with chal­leng­ing work­outs, we can encour­age brain growth by keep­ing engaged in many dif­fer­ent men­tal activ­i­ties”.

- and, above all, the one on “Basic Brain Care: Pro­tect­ing Your Men­tal Cap­i­tal” (Pages 31–41), where we are all rec­om­mend­ed to

—- Sleep: at least 6 hours a day, mak­ing sure we don’t make a habit of “cut­ting sleep short”

—- Eat well: the gen­er­al rule here is that what is good for the body is also good for the brain, and to be wary of “diets adver­tised as “brain food”

—- “Pro­tect the fortress” (our skull), by mak­ing sure we use secu­ri­ty belts and hel­mets when­ev­er there may be a risk

—- Exer­cise reg­u­lar­ly

—- Keep Stress in Check (stress can inhib­it or reduce the cre­ation of new neu­rons, among oth­er things)

—- Stim­u­late our minds through life, by ensur­ing a flow of nov­el­ty and vari­ety that enhances the cre­ation of a “cog­ni­tive reserve”. If is fas­ci­nat­ing for us to see how Brain Fit­ness helps inte­grate “Brain Health” and “Life­long Learn­ing”, Health & Well­ness and Edu­ca­tion. Of course, these cat­e­gories are human con­ven­tions that the brain itself prob­a­bly doesn’t care too much about…

In short, a great ref­er­ence book for pro­fes­sion­als and for peo­ple inter­est­ed in the brain. And a great start­ing point (the only one we are aware of) for a real­ly use­ful and prac­ti­cal guide to Brain Health that every fam­i­ly should have. In a bit more cre­ative terms: great qual­i­ty mar­ble look­ing for a con­sumer-ori­ent­ed Michelan­ge­lo.

We won’t be post­ing more until 2007…so Hap­py New Year!

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4 Responses

  1. morganusvitus says:

    The site looks great ! Thanks for all your help ( past, present and future !)

  2. Alvaro says:

    Wow-many thanks for your kind words 🙂 very much appre­ci­at­ed.

  3. James Gibbs says:

    Nice arti­cle, this is a great resource you have here. I have to say, I’m enjoy­ing the con­tent so far–I actu­al­ly had no idea that the brain con­tin­ues to grow and devel­op through­out an entire lifes­pan.

    It’s nice to see a good blog that dis­cuss­es “brain fit­ness” every once in a while as it is a top­ic that I’m very inter­est­ed in. I’m actu­al­ly con­stant­ly in search of good brain fit­ness, or brain train­ing pro­grams at the moment, do have any that you would rec­om­mend?

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As seen in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, BBC News, CNN, Reuters and more, SharpBrains is an independent market research firm tracking health and performance applications of brain science.

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