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During my last five years of teaching, I became increasingly interested in the broad topic of brain health maintenance. Here are nine blog pieces that I wrote sharing some of what I learned.

  1. Thoughts about Brain Fitness Software Training Claims
  2. Ten Brain Enriching Resources
  3. Brain Boosting or Bloated Claims?
  4. Brain Health Resources
  5. Promising Research or Wishful Thinking?
  6. Sharpening My Brain
  7. Brain Fitness Training: Fact vs. Fiction
  8. Can my old brain be (re)trained?
  9. Still More Reflections on Successful Aging

Recently I have had the opportunity to read carefully two well-written, research-based books summarizing the best science about brain health maintenance. Dr. Michelle Braun‘s excellent book High Octane Brain will be published in September, and I shall share my thoughts about it in a later blog piece.

There are far too many brain myths and unsubstantiated claims about quick fixes for memory lapses. Though the typical self-help book reader may find John Randolph’s The Brain Health Book: Using the Power of Neuroscience to Improve Your Life too academic, the author writes well, provides abundant and excellent examples, and offers many good suggestions for creating brain-healthy habits. He identifies several cognitive strategies for enhancing our ability to remember, organize, and manage daily life information and suggests different kinds of activities that maintain or improve brain health. Also, he offers science-based suggestions for preventing brain health problems and strategies for engaging in and maintaining brain-healthy habits. He correctly identifies the limitations of “brain-training games” but thoughtfully discusses recent scientific positive psychology research dealing with the efficacy of mindfulness-based stress reduction, self-affirmation, and gratitude journals. Moreover, his advice is supported by 250 citations of high-quality research. Here is a recent podcast interviewing him.

Were I to teach a brain-health course, I would definitely use both books. Fortunately, both are written with clear guidelines of how one can put into practice the evidence-based suggestions made.