A comprehensive guide to the workings, care, and history of the brain.
While he’s not the first to do so, debut author Kiraly eloquently and occasionally humorously makes the case that the brain should be conceptualized in the same manner that we conceptualize our hearts or lungs—as an integral physical component of our beings that requires excellent diet and exercise—both of the mental and physical varieties. After all, a sick brain produces a sick body. The text makes the case that a long life span isn’t necessarily a happy one, especially if one’s health gives out midway, a concept that is represented by the YUC factor, or years under medical care. To this end, the book is divided into two principal sections. The first provides a layman’s guide to the brain’s basic functions and history; the second details which nutrients, activities, and behaviors are helpful or harmful. When describing the effects of stress, Kiraly notes, “Cortisol is the hormone of death!” These energetic proclamations make the book an easy and even fun read. This is purposeful: Kiraly explains in his preface that he is addressing a general audience (the book “will suffice unless you plan to go to medical school”), but he still includes technical charts and graphs to support his case. As a result, the blend of humorous, anecdotal prose with frequent visual breaks fosters a pop-science feel that is engaging and informed but never stuffy. Drawing on a wealth of recent data and debunking years of misconceptions and ignorance, Kiraly has written a work that is as full of fascinating cocktail-party tidbits as it is deeply researched concepts about how the medical professional and individual should care for the brain.
A smart, entertaining read on caring for our gray matter.