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Brains in Crises

June 7, 2010

Filed under: Book Review,Coaching,Management,observations — admin @ 4:39 pm

Barbara Strauch wants Baby Boomers to stop worrying about their ‘senior moments.’
Her latest book, “The Secret Life of the Grown-Up Brain,” attempts to explain what’s going on when middle-age men and women walk from one room to another but can’t remember why.

You’ll be happy to know that there are a raft of scientists and psychologists studying brain functioning and trying to figure out what’s going on. But Ms Strauch, who admits to being among the age group she’s trying to put at ease, wants everyone to know, it’s normal, and better yet, it’s nothing to worry about.

Her book, like many written by journalist is easy to read and well written. I’m not sure you’d call it scholarly but it accomplishes its purpose.

If you’re middle aged there are changes in your brain that make it tougher to learn, and remember. But, she notes, our mature brains are much better at number of things, such as recognizing patterns and putting things in context, that allow us to keep up with our younger co-workers.

She points out a number of factors which seem to impact better brain function and then spends the last chapter explaining what we can do about it. Unfortunately she notes there’s no real evidence that all those Brain Games, given away on NPR fund-raisers, really make any difference.

Fist of all, even those that have been rigorously tested in double-blind longitudinal studies, base their conclusions on self reporting. Additionally, only one of the games have even been subject to any testing – sponsored by the game manufacturers – and the rest are just basing their claims on marketing hype.

“The Secret Life of the Grown-Up Brain” is a followup to her book on teenager brain function. It’s an interesting read and should help a lot of Baby Boomers laugh at the endless collection of jokes about our absent minded antics.

It’s worth a read to find out what really going in our brain on as we age.

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