June is Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness Month: Two Books to Consider

I just learned that this month is Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness Month. Not so coincidentally, I have been reading two books that address these issues. Here are two mini-reviews, which I will follow up with a focus on food and the brain in a future posting.

Having watched Dr. Amen on PBS with his talk on memory and mental health (“Memory Rescue”), I decided to read some of his books. (The inside of the book lists 20!) The first one is Change Your Brain, Change Your Life, which was first published in 1994 and has been updated twice. Dr. Amen is a clinical neuroscientist, psychiatrist, and brain-imaging expert who heads the world-renowned Amen Clinics. His website is www.amenclinics.com, which contains information and resources for optimizing your brain.

Part One introduces the reader to brain imaging, his specialty I believe. Just as a medical doctor uses tests (X-rays, CT scans, etc.)  to “see” inside a patient’s body, Dr. Amen uses single photos emission computed tomography (SPECT) to “see” inside a patient’s brain. This section also includes 12 principles to change your brain as well as your life. Here are a few, in the author’s own words, with photos of the brain using SPECT:

Your brain is involved in everything you do and everything you are….
Your brain is the most amazing, energy-hungry organ in the universe.
Looking at the brain gives us the opportunity for many powerful insights not possible by just listening to symptoms alone.

Part Two discusses and explains the brain systems themselves and looks at love and depression, anxiety and fear, worry and obsessiveness, boosting memory, and much more. This is a very comprehensive section.

Part Three is called The Brain Warrior’s Way and includes The Brain Warrior Diet. He lists 52 Brain Superfoods, which I will post separately in a few days, because the list needs its own posting.

Throughout the book, Dr. Amen discusses actual cases (with SPECT scans) of people he has helped and at the end of the book, he provides not only his website, which I noted above, but also another site that he calls a “sophisticated online community,” which I plan to check out: www.mybrainfitlife.com.

If you are concerned about your brain, especially your memory, this is an all-encompassing book by a psychiatrist, who has a medical degree, but with a focus on the brain and mental health. I think  his approach to being fit mentally is very important, especially because he talks about his own issues and how he addresses them, which tells me that everyone has issues, even a “brain” doctor! Finally, the subtitle looks at many issues that many medical doctors do not: “The Breakthrough Program for Conquering Anxiety, Depression, Obsessiveness, Lack of Focus, Anger, and Memory Problems.”

This book is published by Harmony Books (NY) and costs $17.00, a small investment for a big book of information.


Dr. Sanjay Gupta, MD, may look familiar if you watch CNN. He discusses health issues on television, and his book: Keep Sharp reflects his background as a neuroscientist. (His book focuses mostly on brain decline, while Dr. Amen, a psychiatrist also discusses mental health issues.)

In Part 1, The Brain: Meet Your Inner Black Box, he redefines cognitive decline, including eight (potential) ways the brain begins to break, using drawings to explain this section as well as 12 destructive myths and 5 pillars to build you.

In Part 2, Dr. Sanjay teaches us how not to lose our minds, discussing movement, purpose, sleep and relaxation, food, and connection. He puts this all together with 12 Weeks to Sharper.

In Part 3, the good doctor discusses diagnosis and treating the ailing brain with the conclusion being very positive: The Bright Future.

Since I am only halfway through this book, I will come back to it when I have finished, especially the section in Part 2 on food, since this is a food-oriented website.

Keep Sharp is published by Simon and Schuster and costs $28.. (Under the author’s name on the title page is Kristin Loberg, who assisted in the writing.)

NOTE: I like the fact that these books are written by doctors in two different fields of medicine, because I believe both their medical viewpoints are valid.


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2 Responses to “June is Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness Month: Two Books to Consider”

  1. Helen luu says:

    Thanks. It is very helpful

  2. Sylvia says:

    Thank you for these reviews. I am looking forward to your follow-up revies that focus on food and the brain.

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