I often don’t review the nonfiction books I read, but I felt this one was important to share. BOOST YOUR BRAIN is an older book (published 2013) I downloaded on my iPad years ago when it was on sale. It’s one of many parked on my e-reader about brain health that has been awaiting my attention, for – as many of you know – my father was diagnosed with vascular dementia a few years back. For obvious reasons, these kinds of books are speaking to me: out of concern for my dad and a wish to understand what’s happening to him, and fear for my own future.
After reviewing the various books I’d downloaded over the years, BOOST YOUR BRAIN spoke to me the loudest. And while many readers have criticized it as “nothing new to see here,” I had a completely different reaction. This book cites all the many ways adults – even later in life – can continue to grow their brains. It gives specific suggestions. Is diet a big part of it? Sure. Exercise? Sure. Social interaction, trying new hobbies, practicing memorization? Yes, yes, yes.
But, for me, it was much more than a re-hash of the same old information. Facts were backed by scientific studies, anecdotes from patients, and actual brain scan results that SHOW growth and shrinkage in the brain. It is one thing to know, intellectually, that you should avoid sugar, exercise, and challenge your brain, but it is another thing entirely to see the medical evidence of how not doing so can impact brain performance and shrink/damage your brain. Indeed, there is the fear factor within these pages, the examples of the ways in which we unwittingly harm our brains … which – for me – is a big motivator. I’m afraid of becoming my dad. And when I read how just being a little overweight can decrease gray and white matter, and shrink the size of the hippocampus, then yeah … I’m going to pay attention.
But mostly, I just wanted some tools in my arsenal to stay mentally alert and focused so that I can continue to live a creative life as I age. This book offers customized plans of attack to increase brain health in three months. I’ll report back once I’ve implemented them!
As a final note: BOOST YOUR BRAIN is well-written and accessible. My only complaint is that the worksheets/fill-in charts are scattered throughout the book (rather than all in one place), and if you read electronically, there is no way to print them, other than to hunt them down and do screen captures. It would have been nice to receive a web link to the worksheets, or to simply include all of them in an appendix for quick reference. I spent a lot of time getting my ducks in a row to begin my plan of attack. In the end, it likely will have been worth the slight inconvenience, though. I would actually recommend buying this in print so you can flip back and forth. (I ended up buying both).
(A version of Melissa Crytzer Fry’s review of BOOST YOUR BRAIN by M. Fotuhi & C. B. Antoniades was published at GoodReads on March 11, 2020. It is reposted here with the permission of the reviewer.)