of Making a Good Brain Great, by Daniel G. Amen, M.D..
Best-selling author of
Change Your Brain, Change Your Life.|
Mark Lamendola, Mensa member, principal of www.mindconnection.com,
and author of over 5,000 articles.
Dr. Amen begins this book by stressing the
importance of the brain. The brain is where "you" reside. It's the seat of
loving, living, being, learning, thinking, working.... The brain weighs
three pounds, but uses 30% of the energy the human body consumes. Yet, the
brain is a fragile miracle housed in a thin-walled bony bowl. It's easily
damaged by physical trauma, emotional trauma, drugs, disease, and poor
Because of the brain's fragility and the common
disregard for it, brain dysfunction is so widespread that it's normal.
Perhaps it's because we don't see our brains, but most of us never address
the issue of actually caring for our brains. Many brain-related problems
are preventable. With a healthy brain, you can fully engage in life, meet
its challenges, and be happy. Few of us choose this option, and that's
probably due to a lack of good information on the subject.
Dr. Amen has analyzed thousands of brain scans.
Consequently, he's been able to correlate specific brain dysfunction with
specific actions people take. He has been able to go beyond observing
outward behavior to observing inward behavior--how the brain responds to
what is done to it.
What are some ways you may be drilling holes in your
boat as you float along in the sea of stupidity? To avoid sinking, become
familiar with these and don't do them! Here are some paraphrased examples from Dr. Amen's book:
- Doing cigarettes. Whether you have one in your mouth or someone else
does, you are still breathing in the same chemicals. The resulting
vasoconstriction reduces blood flow through the carotid arteries, but also
reduces blood flow through the brain's blood distribution system. In
addition, this reduced blood is diminished because it's loaded with carbon
monoxide rather than oxygen. While smokers may temporarily experience increased
concentration, their overall brain functions are reduced dramatically. If
you want to be stupid, smoke.
- Eating highly-processed foods. These are
"nutrient-challenged," to say the least. And they trigger whole set of
hormonal and other effects that work against proper brain function. Shop in
the produce section, and avoid foods that come in boxes.
- Avoiding tough work. Brains, like muscles, follow the "use it or lose
it" principle. If your job doesn't provide a good brain workout (and most
jobs don't--they mostly challenge your ability to deal with bureaucracy and
rudeness), find something that does.
- Doing the same things all the time. When you try
something new, you stimulate your brain into forming new connections. This
activity increases overall brainpower.
- Being a sloth. The brain is a physical organ.
Physical fitness is a "doorway" to mental fitness.
- Avoiding coordination-based activities. When you
reinforce the brain-body connection by learning a new physical skill, you
provide the brain with massive stimulus. If you are already a regular
participant in a particular sport, that's great. But, you've already built
those brain pathways and much of the benefit is already "cashed in." Now
find another sport to build more brain pathways. Look for a sport that
requires a different set of motor skills.
In this book, you'll also find a wealth of
information on positive actions you can take to maintain and improve brain
health. I'm pretty excited by this whole topic. Now that I've learned
about the Amen Clinic, I'm going to investigate them further on their
Website--and consider getting a brain scan myself.
A note on the writing: I was pleased that Dr. Amen
and his publisher made this text clear and followed the rules of grammar.
This shows they care about their message. After reading this book, I can
see why they do.