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Carved in Sand: When Attention Fails and Memory Fades in Midlife

Carved in Sand: When Attention Fails and Memory Fades in Midlife


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Why can't you remember where you put your keys? Or the title of the movie you saw last week? Anyone older than forty knows that forgetfulness can be unnerving, frustrating, and sometimes terrifying. With compassion and humor, acclaimed journalist Cathryn Jakobson Ramin explores the factors that determine how well or poorly one's brain will age. She takes readers along on her lively journey—consulting with experts in the fields of sleep, stress, traumatic brain injury, hormones, genetics, and dementia, as well as specialists in nutrition, cognitive psychology, and the burgeoning field of drug-based cognitive enhancement. Along the way, she turns up fresh scientific findings, explores the dark regions of the human brain, and hears the intimate confessions of high-functioning midlife adults who—like so many of us—are desperate to understand exactly what's going on upstairs.

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Don't forget to read this book!

Sometimes I don't remember where I put my keys, not realizing I am holding them in my hands. I am sure this happened (or will happen) to all of us. This book will help you understand why this happens. This book explores the dark regions of the human brain, and will make you understand exactly what's going on in the brain from the perspectives of physiology, psychology, and sociology. This book is a must for everyone over 40 years old, who know just how unnerving, frustrating, and terrifying forgetfulness is. Do you wonder sometimes why you keep repeating yourself, saying the same thing over and over again in a conversation with someone? The author does a great job exploring the factors that determine how well--or poorly--one's brain will age. Did President Clinton lie when he said he forgot many of the events during his sex scandal trial? According to the author, Clinton is only human, and like all of us past out mid-life, are prone to forgetfulness. Saying `I forgot' or `I can't remember' does not mean the person is lying. We sometimes forget where we put something we are holding in our hand! The chapter on Alzheimer was very fascinating. According to the author, even if Alzheimer is a genetic disease, genes are written in pencil, and we have the eraser. There are cases where one of twin siblings gets Alzheimer, while the other does not. In the US, 4.5 million people have Alzheimer. President Reagan had Alzheimer. According to the author, it has cost the US 91 billion so far to treat people with Alzheimer. So what can one do to protect himself against Alzheimer? According to the author, you must exercise your brain, just like you exercise your abs. A friend of mine, who is a major manager at one of the biggest banks in the world, told me that she found her memory improving since she started playing Sudoku! She can calculate better and more complex problems in her mind, and can remember people and appointments without having to refer to her rolodex or secretary. Most of us go to the gym to exercise our muscles and for endurance training, but how many of us do training that focuses on our brain? Maybe soon in the future there will be gyms targeted at brain exercises. In fact, the author says such a gym already exists: The world is the real brain gym. Research has shown that social people, as opposed to private people who live a secluded life, are less prone to Alzheimer. Being social; going out and meeting people actually do the brain good. Absence of human interaction is dangerous to the brain. And this does not mean electronic interaction, such as web chatting. Facial expression helps in human communication and in memory retention. Through electronic socializing, facial expression is absent. Furthermore, staying indoors and inhaling co2 (plenty of it in homes) destroys brain cells. Try to stay outdoors as much as possible. Our homes should be a place we retire to in order to eat and sleep. And try to keep the windows open as much as possib

Highly recommended

The big question for all of us in the middle age bracket is this: When we draw a blank when searching for a word or a person's name--is this normal forgetfulness or are we suffering from something much scarier? In this well-researched book, Cathryn Jakobson Ramin does an excellent job of presenting possible reasons for memory lapses and ways to deal with them. In addition to having her brain and body tested for what might be the cause of her own memory lapses, the author interviewed many people and performed extensive research on the topic. She found that how you treat your brain in middle age will make a difference later. Midlife is the time to act: to make good decisions on diet, stress management, sleeping habits, and exercise. She writes that today's world is an especially difficult time to reach middle age as we are "smack in the middle of a technological revolution." We can be overwhelmed by the amount of information available and the endless stream of interruptions, multitasking, and over stimulation. In very readable prose, she explains how our minds are affected by the foods we consume, our hormones, the drugs we take, the chemicals in the environment, our sleep patterns, blood pressure and blood sugar levels, and the amount of exercise that we get. Since we need to build up our cognitive reserve to keep mentally active, she gives tips on how to perform these "intellectual push-ups." In spite of the seriousness of the subject, this book is a pleasure to read and even funny at times.

Just when you thought you were losing your memory...

...along comes this book that lets you know that you are not alone. This is a scary subject for many of us who have "senior moments" and may be having them more frequently. Cathryn Jakobson Ramin explores what may (or may not) be going on inside our skulls and, along the way, shows what's being done to stop and sometimes reverse the process. The fact that she approaches the subject with humor helps to ease the seriousness (and fear) of the situation. Ms Ramin explores the cutting-edge in brain research and guides the reader to understand complex issues. This is a MUST READ for anyone 50 and older!

Got a mind worth minding? Read this!

This book isn't just a timely discussion of an important topic, it's impressively well-written. Ramin wears her (impressive) learning lightly, threading her own experience, and that of others, into a beautifully-rendered counterpoint to the cutting-edge science she's surveying. I was reminded of books like A NATURAL HISTORY OF THE SENSES or THE OMNIVORE'S DILEMNA--it's that kind of solid but compulsively readable book. Even if you're not in personal panic-mode about your own memory, this is a fascinating survey of how new theories and technologies are informing our very notions of awareness and the mind. Prepare to be not only informed, but fascinated.

A sparkling journey through the landscape of memory

Cathryn Jakobson Ramin has written a wonderful bit of storytelling about something we all will face one day -- the loss of memory. Weaving in her own story of mild, but highly annoying memory loss and her search to remember, she provides a snapshot of where science is right now with it's knowledge of the physiology of memory. She describes the drugs that enhance cognitive-function, and gives common-sense descriptions and advice about how to eat, sleep and meditate to improve our minds and memory. Her voice is strong and witty and fun -- and authoritative. Her research has been exhaustive. Although the book professes to be about fading memory in midlife, it is really about that hugely mysterious realm of the mind and what we remember. Read this book!

Edition Details

Publisher:Harper Perennial
Lowest Price:$3.59
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