The founder of the Center for BrainHealth reviews recent research in brain studies and techniques to keep brains in peak condition.
Conventional wisdom says that doing crossword puzzles, word searches, cryptograms and other exercises help preserve brain function and lessen the effects of illnesses associated with elders, including Alzheimer's. Chapman (Behavioral and Brain Sciences/Univ. of Texas, Dallas) founded and directs the Center for BrainHealth, and this book could serve as an introduction, outline and future-developments map for the center. Distilling a vast amount of research, the author reinforces some conventional wisdom while poking holes in other ideas about brain function. Intelligence, long thought to be innate, is becoming recognized as a more complex function of various environmental and genetic influences, not least of which is the approach we take to teaching and learning. Society's tendency toward adding more stimuli to every activity, from listening to music while doing homework, to the office with a TV always tuned to 24-hour news, is wearing away at our brain function. Chapman sees the Internet and its wealth of information as both a boon and hazard, as we become more likely to continually seek out more information rather than moderate our intake and give our minds time to digest what we're learning. The writing dips too often into jargon—e.g., "integrated reasoning capacity" and "dynamic fluid thinking capacity”—but, to be fair, it may stretch readers’ minds to incorporate the ideas in new forms, no doubt boosting brainpower.
A decent cross section of research and practical ideas about exercising and maintaining brain function.