Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Time: "Your Brain, A User's Guide": near your CVS checkout

Time Magazine is selling a special large, glossy well-illustrated paperback, “Your Brain: A User’s Guide”, edited by Jeffrey Kluger.

The book examines a number of hot topics, including the nature of consciousness itself (the Easy Problem and Hard Problem: why does green look green?) I remember a cohort who said that his job was to teach “the history of consciousness”.

The book examines the male v female brain, and the development of the teen brain, which actually starts getting smaller with “pruning”, a process that explains prodigy gifts in areas like music and art. The brain is mature at 25, and slowly declines, although in most people the effects are not noted until the 60s. There is a section “Forgetting is the new normal.” The odds of Alzheimer’s Disease increase rapidly after about 65, but the book is somewhat light on its explanation of it. It does have a memory test (with distraction, similar to that given by neurologists) and explains when memory loss is of real concern.

There are sections that examine the physiological bases of morality, and even faith (and remote prayer).

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