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)
Interesting science, but too many personal references to anxiety about aging.
A little less emphasis on assuming the reading is in middle age and panicking about getting old.
I'm not sure
How exercise helps create new neurons. The brain is plastic and can grow new cells, and science is finally overcoming the dogma decreed in 1913 that the brain can't change.
The book often referenced getting old and then made a point about how the aging brain is actually not as badly in decline as we presumed. This had the ironic effect of creating anxiety by starting with the assumption that we all worry about aging. I'd rather she just explain the discoveries and tone down all the personal concerns. I'd mention it once on the back cover, to pique the interest of older folks who really have started to worry about dementia, but don't harp on it throughout the book and alienate younger people.
An easy listen due to quality reading and interesting research. Concepts are somewhat belaboured. I would have preferred a faster pace. That said, the content is more than worthwhile. I have recommended the book to several friends.
I will read this book many times over - and not just because I'm middle-aged. This book is really fascinating, inspiring, and gives me hope that it's not all down hill from here. I intend on buying a copy to send to all of my friends and family.
Yes - There were parts I'd like to review one more time.
The age bracket for the "new" midlife age span.
The going into the basement story - How we all can relate!
too scientifc for a film
This book was great for reassuring a large amount of us out there that are caregivers for parents with Alzheimers that there is hope. Those names that just won't come - well that's because the brain is working better in other areas. It was great to listen to some scientific data that backs this all up.
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 wouldn't know. The book is interesting in some respect, but it seems to repeat the same idea too often.
The book was well read.
No, not really.
I have really enjoyed listening to this book.
I found it very interesting and well written.
Very informative and instructive.
The narration is very good.
Great information about how the brain works in middle age
Very good inflection and narration
There are waaaay too many examples of forgetfulness. We know already since most listeners already experience these difficulties. The book is very good but could have been lightened up a bit.
There are some good ideas in there and its interesting, but the author continually restates her points over and over -- changing her words a little and using a different example. Enough is enough, say what you have to say and move on to the next topic. I'd say as much as 2/3rds of the book could be cut out.
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