Review of book “Memory Rescue”, by Daniel Amen, MD
Date: July 18, 2020
Best place to buy: BrainMD Health
This may be the most important book of this decade, because it presents in clear terms the simple choices (nutrition, exercise and habits) that we need to make to heal our brains and improve our health and happiness in the future.
Why is it important to check on your brain health?
Because, as we get older, changes happen to our brain, causing memory to become less sharp and judgment to decline.
Your Memory is Your Most Important Asset
“Memory Rescue” – this is a tremendously important book for anyone who wants to increase brain capacity and strengthen memory. It’s never too early to check on your brain health. Your brain will thank you when you get older. In this book, Dr. Amen reminds us all that our ability to remember is a precious gift. He uses brain scans and science-based insights to help protect our precious asset. In addition to boosting our memories, he suggests a comprehensive program for healthy aging and a happier life.
When to begin worrying about brain health and memory
To quote Dr. Amen: “Memory problems are common at every stage of life, and they can impair learning, working, relationships, and even self-reliance.” Therefore, it is most important to start now to take care of your most important asset. As Dr. Amen states: “Your brain’s history is not its destiny. Even if you have brain fog or trouble remembering now, it doesn’t mean you always will.”
Dr. Amen’s Approach
According to Dr. Amen, “the ability to identify and address each of the potential causes of memory problems has enabled us to develop a plan to prevent and even to reverse these devastating issues”.
Here are some of the changes that gradually happen to our body and mind (and memory) as we age, as determined by medical tests such as described below, and SPECT scans (a nuclear imaging test that produces images showing how your organs work):
Low blood flow:
Risk Factors: Hypertension, severe concussions with loss of consciousness, trauma
High iron level:
Risk factors: retirement and aging.
Risk factors: High CRP and homocysteine
Risk Factors: One or more parents with Alzheimer’s
Risk Factors: Contact sports, motor vehicle accident with loss of consciousness
Risk Factors: alcohol abuse, marijuana use
Risk Factors: Taking medications for anxiety
Risk Factors: Low vitamin D
Diabetes or pre-diabetes:
Risk Factors: High fasting blood sugar; obesity
Risk Factors: Low testosterone
Taking medications for insomnia (such as Ambien)
Enlist the help of your doctor
Have all of the above conditions tested thru the lab tests recommended by Dr. Amen. His recommendations include these blood tests: Complete Blood Count (CBC), Lipid Panel to test the cholesterol and triglyceride levels in your blood, Fasting Blood Sugar, Fasting Insulin, Hemoglobin, General Metabolic Panel, Thyroid panel, to name a few. Here’s one you can do at home: “Balance test: how long can you stand on one foot?”
The wonders of brain imaging
At Dr. Amen’s clinic, patients are tested using SPECT scans for functional brain imaging. These scans are primarily used to view how blood flows through arteries and veins in the brain. Why is this important?
Because brain imaging with SPECT is able to reveal abnormal patterns in the brain related to Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias years or even decades before symptoms develop. Early detection allows you to make lifestyle changes that can delay the progression of cognitive problems and engage in treatment when it is most effective. The sophisticated imaging technology is also able to rule out dementia by detecting other issues—such as traumatic brain injuries, exposure to toxins, or brain infections- that may be the root cause of memory loss or other cognitive problems. Conclusion: In spite of the natural process of aging, you actually have a choice in how fast your brain ages.
It is possible to reverse brain aging
Dr. Amen recommends his Bright Minds program, whose primary goal is to reverse brain aging. His recommended medical interventions have proven that the Bright Minds program can reverse or slow down the aging process. As he says, “mental decline is normal with age, but it’s not inevitable.”
Dr. Amen provides scientifically-based measures that can prevent or slow dementia in older patients.
Vitamins and Neutraceuticals
The American diet of processed and genetically-modified foods, transported long distances and stored on shelves for months before being eaten, coupled with our breathing of polluted air, requires that we supplement it with the proper vitamins and neutraceuticals. He makes recommendations on the proper vitamins to take, as well as what neutraceuticals to add to your diet.
Good habits for your brain health include: increase physical exercise, cutting out the fats and sugars from your diet, and many others.
Sharpen Your Memory – Whole-brain Combination Workouts
Use it or lose it.
“Grow Your Brain”. Become a “memory athlete”:
Acquire new knowledge and do things you haven’t done before (acquire new knowledge, such as memorizing zip codes, learning a new game or learning to play a musical instrument). Ideas for “whole-brain combination workouts” are included on pages 289-290 of the book.
The Pros and Cons
Pros: I highly recommend Memory Rescue by Dr. Daniel Amen, if you care about your brain health. It’s chock full of great ideas and recommendations.
Cons: None that I can think of.
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