Thursday, April 10, 2008

Brains, Training and Automatic Responses

My new favorite book is, "Making a Good Brain Great" by Daniel Amen, MD. He's a psychiatrist and human behavior specialist researching and teaching brain health. He analyzes brain scans and identifies which parts of the brain drive which parts of personality. He examines neurological patterns and how they are affected by everything from thoughts to toxic substances to genetics.

Dr. Amen's website also has some fascinating animations of scanned brains. It's so nice they can study human brains nowadays without killing mice, whose brains, science has discovered, are mostly just focused on cheese.

It's comforting to get some education about diminishing or even averting memory loss in old age, and I'm enjoying what I'm learning about the cogs and wheels in my own head. Also, the book is helping me understand where losses may have occurred in others and how to play to others' strengths.

If only Amen had this guy making videos for him - he could have a weekly series. (Video takes a while to load but practicing patience is good for your neurotransmitter development).

So, more green tea, keep up the exercise and fitness, and just say "om."

1 comment:

Troy said...

I met Dr. Amen at a lecture he gave and then participated in his brain study of injured and uninjured brains. I learned a lot about the damage that can occur even from normal children's bangs to the head - the kind that happen to most kids who engage in sports.

If you are interested in the brain and how it works, I highly recommend reading ""My Stroke of Insight"" by Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor. It's on the NY Times Bestseller list and it's a wonderful book. Dr. Taylor's talk at TED dot com is also AMAZING! Oprah interviewed Dr. Taylor and you can check that out on And Time Magazine named Dr. T one of the 100 Most Influential people in the world. Having read her book, I can see why all the attention.

Dr. Amen's book is brain science and it's great at that. Dr. Taylor is a Harvard Brain Scientist, but what she writes about is the science and much more. She really cracks the code to understand how our brains (right and left hemispheres) work and she explains how we can get into our right brain and be happier and more joyful. Aside from any of the science, My Stroke of Insight is also just a great story.