Pub. Date:
National Academies Press
The Secret Life of the Brain / Edition 1

The Secret Life of the Brain / Edition 1


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Ten years ago a presidential proclamation ushered in the “Decade of the Brain.” We have since realized enormous benefits from this decade of discovery. Scientists now have a better understanding and appreciation of the complexity of this rather unassuming three-pound mass of interwoven cells. Over the years, we have gleaned insights into how the brain functions, physically and chemically. We have even seen evidence of how a healthy brain contributes to our overall sense of wellness. And perhaps most important of all, we now—more than ever—recognize the awesome power and potential of the human brain.

Each of the brain’s developmental stages provides its own opportunities and perils. Each is part of a marvelous narrative—opening at the very moment of conception, building to peak adult neurological performance when the brain contains its full repertoire of cells, and slowly edging toward the denouement of old age. The Secret Life of the Brain tells this fascinating story by tracing the patterns that only careful study has revealed to us.

Equal parts fragile and tenacious, development continues unabated across the entire life span through five specific stages: gestation, childhood, adolescence, adulthood, and old age. In each of these phases, the opportunities are abundant, while the dangers remain equally apparent. Deprive a baby’s brain of light and sound and human contact, and you stunt normal development. Should a teenager take drugs, the brain becomes contaminated by the unnatural chemicals that are introduced into the body. Like a muscle in our arms or legs, if we ignore the brain, leave it untended, it becomes flaccid and slow, especially as we move into old age, when the brain is more vulnerable to afflictions.

The Secret Life of the Brain explores each of these five stages in detail. Like the PBS series of the same name, the complex subject of leading-edge brain science is presented in terms accessible to all and brought to life through anecdotes and real-life stories. Told by best-selling author Dr. Richard Restak, the majesty and the mystery of human intelligence are unveiled.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780309074353
Publisher: National Academies Press
Publication date: 10/02/2001
Pages: 224
Product dimensions: 8.28(w) x 10.32(h) x 0.88(d)

Table of Contents

Wider Than the Sky: The Baby's Brain
A World of Their Own: The Adolescent Brain
Crown of Creation: The Adult Brain
Second Flowering: The Aging Brain
About the Author

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