A leading science writer examines how the brain's capacity reaches its peak in middle age. For many years, scientists thought that the human brain simply decayed over time and its dying cells led to memory slips, fuzzy logic, negative thinking, and even depression. But new research from neuroscientists and psychologists suggests that, in fact, the brain reorganizes, improves in important functions, and even helps us adopt a more optimistic outlook in middle age. Growth of white matter and brain connectors allow us to recognize patterns faster, make better judgments, and find unique solutions to problems. Scientists call these traits cognitive expertise and they reach their highest levels in middle age.
In her impeccably researched book, science writer Barbara Strauch explores the latest findings that demonstrate, through the use of technology such as brain scans, that the middle-aged brain is more flexible and more capable than previously thought. For the first time, long-term studies show that our view of middle age has been misleading and incomplete. By detailing exactly the normal, healthy brain functions over time, Strauch also explains how its optimal processes can be maintained.
Part scientific survey, part how-to guide, The Secret Life of the Grown-Up Brain is a fascinating glimpse at our surprisingly talented middle-aged minds.
©2010 Barbara Strauch (P)2009 Audible, Inc.
"Strauch tackles [loaded questions] with all the scientific instruments at her disposal...the latest findings neurological, biochemical, and psychological, with an illuminating dose of anecdote thrown in." (New Scientist)
"Provocative....A contender for every parent's reading list." (Newsday)
This book is pretty short, but the first couple hours were repetitive and seemed to go on forever. That part can be can be summarized as: 1.) Middle aged people misplace their keys and forget why they went to the basement; 2.) Middle age people have experience and patience, so they are really valuable; and 3.) All the author's friends and associates are professionals and have graduate degrees. I guess that makes them even more valuable in spite of losing their keys and forgetting why they went to the basement.
A couple hours in, she gets into a substantive review of some pretty interesting science around brains, dementia, and the care and feeding of our brains. The last three or four hours make up for the first couple.
Wow, this book really helped me understand those lapses in memory and plans to help keep the synapse sharp. It's actually very hopeful. Listen and learn
Already past 70 and having dealt with physical issues (back problems,, heart issues, vertigo) each condition was strong enough to immobilize me. Somehow I came to the conclusion that only a sharp brain will help me survive and function. Everything mentioned in this book works. Brain training, cardio workout, education, nutrition + social contribution, it worked beyond believe (didn't have expectations)...
Yes, whenever I think my brain is decreasing its performance and making me feel old.
The original ideas transmited by the author in a very friendly way of writing.
This book contains some interesting ideas, but they are repeated ad nauseam. Okay, okay! Even my middle-aged brain has got the point. Please move on. This would have been better as a magazine piece.
This was a great listen! The writer describes why aging brain is not that bad. Although memory declines, older brains are more positive and are better in dealing with a variety of situations. At times, I find the book repetitive, but I think this is done so that the points can really hit home. I really like the ending where she talks about her friends and the roses. What a great way to end the book! The narrator did a great job and brought the book to life!
I loved the book and how it was easily understood. The narrator also brought the material alive!
Three-time published author
The book is incredible, the narrator even more so. Her middle aged brain shows off its gifts in full spades. Her delivery is relentlessly cheery and warm, as if an old (middle aged?) friend is having a chat with you, the listener.
The writing is so good and lends itself well to audio. I was particularly impressed with the analogies used by the author. Overall, made the research much more approachable and interesting for non-scientists.
Encouraging. If HR departments knew how to use these skills older workers possess the world would be a better place.
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