^ The goal here is not to remember anything specific, but to pro-
vide more raw material to provoke your brain into weaving more
associative networks. Both music and smells are powerful stimuli
that evoke different emotions. Normally we don't listen to music in
the context of odors or vice versa. In this exercise, the repeated
pairing of these two stimuli makes your brain create powerful
links between the two, increasing the number of pathways avail-
able for storing or accessing memories.
KEEP YOUR BRAIN ALIVE
9. BE SOCIAL
8. THE MIDAS TOUCH
Don't pass up the many opportunities to enhance the social
r lace a cup filled with different coins in your cup holder.
nature of your commute. Buy the morning or evening paper
While at a stoplight, try to determine different denominations
from a person rather than a vending machine. Need gas? Pay
by feel alone. If your car is equipped with a change holder, place
the clerk at the counter rather than just swiping your credit
coins into the correct slots, using only your sense of touch.
card at the pump.
You can also do this exercise with other small objects of
Wave back and smile or play funny-face games with the
subtly different sizes or textures (various sizes and types of
kids in the backseat of the car in front of you. Stop at a new
screws, nuts, earrings, or paper clips, 1-inch squares of mater-
place for coffee and a muffin, or a different dry cleaner or
ial such as leather, satin, velour, cotton, or grades of sandpaper).
Try to match up a pair of earrings or cuff links, for example.
^ Scientific research has repeatedly proved that social deprivation
^ Because we normally discriminate between objects by looking at
has severe negative effects on overall cognitive abilities. The ongo-
them, our tactile discrimination abilities are flabby, like underused
ing MacArthur Foundation projects validate keeping active so-
muscles. Using touch to distinguish subtly different objects increases
cially and mentally as critical factors for mental health.
activation in cortical areas that process tactile information and
leads to stronger synapses. This is the same process that occurs with
adults who lose their sight. They learn to distinguish Braille letters
because their cortex devotes more pathways to processing fine touch.
KEEP YOUR BRAIN ALIVE
11. LEAVE THE DRIVING TO OTHERS
10. POOL YOUR THOUGHTS
You can adapt many of the preceding strategies to commut-
Along with environmental benefits, car pooling provides op-
ing by bus, train, or even on foot. If you walk to work, take a
portunities for intimate personal interactionâ€”a form of Neu-
few different turns. Or get off the bus before or after your
robic exercise. Four people reading their newspapers in a car
usual stop and walk the rest of the way. Take a scent canister
pool isn't Neurobic, but using the time to engage with others
and your Walkman and try Exercise #7 on your walk.
in lively discussion is. For example, we know of a four-person
On a train or bus, close your eyes and use other cues, such
car pool where each day a different person introduces a sub-
as the speed of the train or bus, or turns in the road, the
ject for discussionâ€”either a controversial topic or provocative
sound of brakes, or people getting on and off, to visualize
story. The rest of the group then reacts.
where you are and what it looks like outside.
Interact with people around you.
â€¢ Take a still or video camera, or a small sketch pad. There's
a whole world outside the window to record when you're
leaving the driving to others.
â€¢ Read something completely different from your normal
commuting fare. Choose a magazine you've never heard of
from a newsstand. Read the newspaper classifieds and imag-
ine what you might do with one of the opportunities you see.
M ost of us spend about half our waking hours at work.
It's also the place where we most fear an obvious loss
of cognitive abilities. Our jobs can consume a lot of brain
power, but most of that is directed toward specific tasksâ€”
generating the next report, fixing a spreadsheetâ€”that don't
normally use your brain's associative potential.
While you're busy at work, you don't need logic puzzles or
other traditional mental "exercises" to
further strain your brain. But you can
use Neurobics to give yourself
"brain breaks" that stretch and
flex your mind throughout the
We'll use the example of a
desk job and look for the Neuro-
bic opportunities that don't dis-
rupt work efforts or ethics. You
may have to tailor these exercises
to suit your own work situation.
KEEP YOUR BRAIN ALIVE
1. SHAKE THINGS UP A BIT ^ If you want to see the immediate result of rearranging familiar
things, simply move your wastebasket from its long-standing posi-
Jjy using daily exposure and routine, your cortex and hip- tion. You'll notice that each time you have something to throw
pocampus have constructed a spatial "map" of your desktop so away, you aim at the old spot. The sensory and motor pathways in
that very little mental effort is required to locate your com- your brain have been programmed by repeated experience to throw
puter mouse, telephone, stapler, wastebasket, and other office apiece of paper in a certain direction. That moment when you catch
tools. Arbitrarily reposition everything. While you're at it, yourself and redirect your actions reflects your brains increased
switch your watch to your other wrist. alertness to a novel situation and the beginnings of a new series of
instructions being entered into your mental program.
^ Scrambling the location of familiar objects you normally reach
for without thinking reactivates spatial learning networks and
gets your visual and somatosensory brain areas back to work, ad-
justing your internal maps.
Moving things around doesn't have to be restricted to your
desktop or furniture. If your work schedule is flexible enough,
rearrange the order in which you accomplish daily tasks. Do
you look at your mail first thing in the morning? Try another
time. Can you take your breaks half an hour earlier or later?
Or change regularly scheduled meetings from the morning to
the afternoon? Within the constraints of your line of work,
incorporate a little "disorder."
KEEP YOUR BRAIN ALIVE
2. SEE THINGS IN A NEW LIGHT 3. MAKE TASKS ODOROUS
You can activate your memory by pairing an odor and a spe-
Jrlace different-color gelatin filters (available at art supply or
cific task. For example, to help you remember a certain phone
photography stores) over your desk lamp. (Check first for fire
number, use a specific smell every time you dial it. (For this
exercise, use the scent canisters described on page 63 or buy a
^ Colors evoke strong emotional associations that can create com- few small herb plants.) Crushing some thyme, mint, or sage
provides a strong and effective olfactory cue.
pletely different feelings about ordinary objects and events. In ad-
dition, the occasionally odd effects of color (a purple styrofoam coffee
^ Certain odors produce increased alertness
cup) jars your brains expectations and lights up more blips on your
and energy. In Japan, nutmeg or cinnamon
attentional "radar screen."
odors are added to air-conditioning systems
of office buildings to enhance productivity.
This exercise takes the use of odors one step
further: Rather than providing odor stimu-
lation as a passive background to everything
you do, odors can be used to highlight specific
aspects of your workday, which provides a
tag for longer-lasting memory.
KEEP YOUR BRAIN ALIVE
5. TAKE-SOMEONE-TO-WORK DAY
4. LEARN BRAILLE
liring a friend, child, spouse, or parent to your workplace.
IVLost public elevators and ATMs have Braille instructions
Everything you take for grantedâ€”the pictures in the halls,
for blind or visually impaired individuals. In today's world,
the machines you use, your familiar coworkersâ€”are seen
it's sighted people who suffer "tactile deprivation." Use your
anew through another person.
fingers to learn the Braille numbers for different floors of
The national Take Our Daughters to Work Day is an ex-
your office building or for controlling the elevator doors.
cellent example of a novel experience that does wonders not
only for your daughter but for your own neural networks.
^ When you learned to read, you learned to associate a very spe-
cific visual stimulusâ€”a letter or numberâ€”with a sound, then
^ The simple act of mak-
with a word, and eventually with meaning. Learning to make dis-
ing introductions fosters the
tinctions and associations with your fingersâ€”such as between two
all-important social inter-
dots and three dotsâ€”activates a whole new set of pathways link-
actions that we know are
ing the cognitive regions of your cortex (those parts that know what
crucial for a healthy brain.
a letter or number stands for) to the sensory regions. By the time
Introducing your child (or
you're able to "read" the button for your floor, using just your fin-
friend) to coworkers exer-
gertips, you'll have built quite a bit of new circuitry in your cortex.
cises your abilities with
names far more effectively
than sitting at your desk and 7
trying to memorize them.
KEEP YOUR BRAIN ALIVE
6. THE BRAINSTORMâ€” many ideas as possible, no matter how unpolished, silly, or
"wild." No one may evaluate or judge anything that's brought
AN ASSOCIATION MACHINE up, or dominate the session. Instead, participants must free-
associate to build or "hitchhike" on each other's suggestions.
Ijrainstorming is a very Neurobic activity,
The facilitator writes the suggestions on a board or sheets of
because its goal is to encourage indi-
newsprint for all to see and keeps the mood playful and fun.
viduals to make associations and
(Afterward, those responsible for the assignment take all the
then to cross-fertilize them with
ideas, group them into categories, and select those with the
other people's associations.
most valuable raw material.)
Arthur B. VanGundy, an
expert on brainstorming, sug-
^ The word brainstorm itself conjures up images of flashing
gests having a varied group
lightning bolts. The lightning bolts in the brain are really the elec-
of four to six people, with
trical flashes crisscrossing between brain areas that only rarely
one person acting as
communicate, and the "storm" captures the idea that this exercise
facilitator and note taker.
provides an environment for increasing the number and intensity
The facilitator presents
of these unusual associations.
the problem or oppor-
Another effective technique using associations to stimulate
for a new product or
creativity is often used by illustrators and art directors. It is
service, or resolving a
based on a technique that originated at the Batelle Institute
difficult situation. In-
in Frankfurt, Germany. Write down the assignment or prob-
dividuals are encour-
lem, and generate two or more columns of associations that
aged to offer up as
KEEP YOUR BRAIN ALIVE AT WORK
relate to it. Then combine associations from one column with
7. TAKE BRAIN BREAKS
those from the other. If, for example, the task is to illustrate
an article about vacations in Alaska, you might list:
1 here's more to a coffee break than loading up on caffeine (a
Vacations short-term brain performance enhancer, actually). Coffee and
camping lunch breaks give you time for mental stretching and social in-
beach teraction. A brisk fifteen-minute walk outdoors invigorates the
cruise ship body, clears the mind, and opens the door to real-world sensory
camera stimulation. Try fostering nonstressful, mind-expanding inter-
sunglasses actions during this time. Enlist some coworkers to start a walk-
salmon ing, talking, or discussion group during breaks or lunch.
cars, trains, planes
After much cross-referencing you might decide to illustrate a
picture of an Eskimo and a polar bear holding up their salmon
to be photographed by a tourist.. .or a polar bear wearing sun-
glasses reading in a beach chair and being served drinks.
r AT WORK
KEEP YOUR BRAIN ALIVE
8. ONGOING CHESS GAME
We know of one office where a chessboard was left out near
the water cooler. Any employee could come to the board
(preferably during a break), assess the situation, and make a
move. It was an ongoing game, with no known players, and
no winners or losers.
^ Even a novice chess player will weigh dozens of possible
moves, attempt to visualize the consequences of each one, then se-
lect the move that offers some strategic advantage. This type of
"random-player" chess game doesn't allow anyone to develop a
long-term strategy. But it does require visual-spatial thinking
that is different from what most of us do at work. The brief gear
switching provides a break from verbal, left-brain activities and
lets the "working brain" take a breather.
KEEP YOUR BRAIN ALIVE
10. ADAPT, ADOPT, OR AD LIB
9. TURN YOUR WORLD UPSIDE DOWN
You can adapt many of the exercises from other sections to
lurn pictures of your family, your desk clock, or an illus-
use in your workplace. For example:
trated calendar upside down.
â€¢ Get a new cover or cushion for your chair.
^ Your brain is quite literally of two minds when it comes to pro-
â€¢ Make a collection of things like small squares of carpet
cessing visual information. The analytical, "verbal" part of your
samples, different grades of sandpaper, or different types of
brain (sometimes called the "left brain') tries to label an object af-
paper and tape a few different ones on the underside of
ter just a brief glance: "table," "chair," "child " The "right brain," in
your desk or to the side of your computer monitor or
contrast, perceives spatial relationships and uses nonverbal cues.
phone. Take a few seconds throughout the day to feel each
When you look at a familiar picture right side up, your left brain
and make fine distinctions between them.
quickly labels it and diverts your attention to other things. When
the picture is upside down, the quick labeling strategy doesn't â€¢ Collect small objects like paper clips, fasteners, nails, or
workâ€”and your right-brain networks kick in, trying to interpret screws in a cup and during a break or while on the phone,
the shapes, colors, and relationships of a puzzling picture. The identify them strictly by touch.
strategy of looking at things upside down is a key component for
â€¢ Bring earphones and a portable tape or CD player to use
awakening the latent artist in us, as described by Betty Edwards in
during the workday (or a CD and earphones for your com-
Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain.
puter). You might experiment with some of the natural en-
vironmental tracks available and bring the sea, the surf, the
forest, or the jungle into your personal space.
â€¢ Try working with the hand you don't normally use for some
daily tasks, such as writing, stapling, turning on machines, or
RAIN A I, I V E
AT THE MARKET
dialing the telephone. Or eat your lunch and snacks with the
^ As previously discussed, changing which hand you use can un-
F or thousands of years getting food was a vigorous, Neu-
leash a tremendous amount of new brain wiring. You may not
robic workout, involving all the different senses: tracking
think of it as learning, but the nerve cells in your brain do!
animals by sight, smell, and sound...deciding when to plant
or harvest crops by "reading" the weather...remembering
â€¢ Change where or with whom you eat lunch. If the weather
how to locate the best fishing and gathering grounds. Each
permits, going outside will almost automatically increase
season presented its own challenges and opportunities for ob-
your sensory stimulation compared with staying inside the
taining food, and the fear of going hungry always loomed just
controlled environment of an office building.
over the horizon. Finding food was never routine and it was
â€¢ If you bring your own lunch, you can use many of the ideas usually a very social activity. (It is believed that language first
from the "At Mealtimes" chapter to make your lunch brain- originated on the hunt.)
healthy. One novel example might be to randomly swap Modern society has effectively eliminated the time, strug-
brown-bag lunches with a group of coworkers. gle, and unknowns involved
in getting food, but we've
given up something in ex-
change for the predictability
and convenience of the su-
permarket. Instead of food
being a feast for the senses,
supermarket packaging is
KEEP YOUR AT THE MARKET
1. VISIT A FARMERS MARKET
geared to appeal mainly to our visual sense. And in this world
of shrink-wrapped, frozen, or canned foods, stimulation based
on other senses, such as taste, touch, and smell, are eliminated oince the produce is usually what's available locally and in
or relegated to the background. Human exchange has been re- season, you never know what to expect. Go to the market in
placed by automated checkouts, and even the hunting routes an exploratory modeâ€”with no listâ€”and invent a meal from
(aisles and shelf arrangements) have been preprogrammed for whatever you find that looks, smells, and feels good.
optimum sales, not sensory stimulation. Let's see how a farmers market recruits your senses dur-
The exercises in this section attempt to reawaken the ing apple season. You stop at a farm stand on a fall drive and
hunter-gatherer within, by involving more of your senses and browse among the varieties of apples available. As you ex-
the associations between them, as well as some of the social
aspects of the "hunt."
These activities may involve a little extra time (and in
some cases, a bit more money), but they have big payoffs in
terms of nourishing the brain.
r AT THE MARKET
KEEP YOUR BRAIN ALIVE
2. SHOP AT AN ETHNIC MARKET
plore the diversity of shapes and colors, pick up an apple of
each variety. Feel it for texture and firmness, inhale its aroma.
Let the proprietor cut open a Macoun for you to taste, and An Asian, Hispanic, or Indian market will offer a wide vari-
another apple you've never seen beforeâ€”an heirloom from ety of completely novel vegetables, seasonings, and packaged
his grandfather's orchard that he's been growing for thirty- goods depending, of course, on your own ethnic background.
seven years. You taste the subtle tartness, experience the dif- Choose a cuisine unfamiliar to you. Ask the storekeepers how
ference between mealy, juicy, and crisp. Suddenly you are to prepare some of the unfamiliar foods on the shelves.
more acutely aware that it's a bright, sunny day, the leaves are Spend some time in the spices section. Different cultures
changing, there is a smell of fermenting apples in the air, and use radically different seasonings, and you're likely to en-
the sky is a bright blue. Around the one simple act of buying counter smells and tastes that you've never experienced.
some apples, you have created a rich tapestry of memory. If you're lucky, the market will have self-serving bins of
Chances are the vendors are also the people who grow the grains, beans, cereals, and spices. Buy a few small bags of any-
apples, and you're sure to encounter some interesting stories thing that strikes your fancy to use later as tactile, taste, or ol-
and characters. Ask about their farms; this year's crop; and if factory stimuli.
there's a favorite recipe that uses what you're buying.
^ The olfactory system can distinguish millions of odors by acti-
^ This exercise ranks high on all the elements of Neurobic re- vating unique combinations of receptors in the nose. (Each receptor
quirements: Novelty, multisensory associations between different is rather like a single note on a piano, while the perception of an
shapes, colors, smells, and tastes, as well as social interaction. odor is like striking a chord.) Encountering new odors adds new
chords into the symphony of brain activity. And because the olfac-
tory system is linked directly to the emotional center of the brain,
new odors may evoke unexpected feelings and associations, includ-
ing links to the ethnic group involved.
KEEP YOUR BRAIN ALIVE AT THE MARKET
3. BUTCHER, BAKER, FISHMONGER 4. PRACTICE NEUROBICS
IN THE SUPERMARKET
You may not have ethnic markets where you live. But most
places still have specialty stores staffed by people who know
i Use your senses. Close your eyes and distinguish fruits by
about the products they sell. Ask to see, feel, and smell the
their smell or by the feel of their rinds. Use self-serve bins
merchandise, and about where it came from or how to prepare
to buy small amounts of grains, cereals, or spices with dif-
it. In a fish store, by seeing, feeling, touching, and smelling the
ferent tastes, textures, or odors (health food stores are espe-
catch, you form associative links with the variety of shapes,
cially good sources).
sizes, and colors.
i Change your usual route through the aisles.
^ In a bakery, your olfactory sense gets a valuable workout. Cer-
i Ask the people at the meat, fish, or deli counters to help you
tain odors, such as freshly baked bread, trigger emotional responses choose something instead of just picking out prepackaged
that stimulate the memory of other events. foods.
A package of sliced monk-
i Change the way you scan the shelves. Stores are designed
fish looks like a hundred other
to have the most profitable items at eye level, and in a quick
shrink-wrapped packages, but
scan you really don't see everything that's there. Instead,
a whole monkfishâ€”a bizarre,
stop in any aisle and look at everything displayed on the
almost grotesque creature - -is
shelves, from top to bottom. If there's something you've
never seen before, pick it up just to read the ingredients and
think about it (you don't have to buy it). You've broken your
routine and experienced something new.
AT THE MARKET
KEEP YOUR BRAIN A I- I V E
5. REAWAKEN THE
season, you can gather edible plants, fruits, and nuts in
the wildâ€”fiddlehead ferns, dandelions, wild asparagus, and
grape leaves, various wild berries, mushrooms (careful!), chest-
nuts, sea wort, wild peas. (If you don't know what things are
okay to eat or how to prepare them, take a field guide to edi-
ble plants with you on your foraging trips.)
Visit a pick-your-own orchard or farm to gather straw-
berries, blueberries, corn, or pumpkins. Make the "harvest" a
social event by taking along kids or friends.
Another variation is to shop without a list and plan a
meal from what looks good at the market that day.
^ Adult brains tend to use the simplest, fastest route to identify
objects, while infants and children more often use several senses.
Searching for food in the wild prevents the brain from using the easy
way out, and hones its ability to make fine discriminations. Is that
round green thing a fiddlehead fern (good) or a skunk cabbage sprout
(bad)? Without bins, packages, and labels, your brain is forced to pay
attention to every cue available in the natural environment.
AT THE MARKET
KEEP YOUR BRAIN ALIVE
7. No MORE ONE-STOP SHOPPING
6. TREASURE HUNT
J\.n old-fashioned hardware store (as opposed to a super-
JTlave your spouse or a friend make a list of foods to buy us-
store) is more apt to have employees who really know tools
ing only descriptors, not the name of the food. For example:
and can talk about how to use them. Instead of being shrink-
"It's about the size and shape of a soccer ball, tannish, heavily
wrapped, everythingâ€”from screws to nutsâ€”can be touched
veined, dimpled on one end, should feel slightly soft and have
and held. Try stopping in for a Neurobic approach to home
a heavy aroma."
Or explore a flea market, which ranks high on novelty
^ If one of you makes the list and the other shops for it, you'll both
and the possibilities for social interaction.
earn Neurobic benefits by tapping into all the sensory association
Similarly, shopping occasionally at a small bookstore offers
pathways linked to a particular food.
more opportunities for genuine social interactions with "book
people." You're more likely to encounter recommendations
from the staff related to your interests, opening up a whole new
reading adventure: "If you like this author, why not try..."
I n A Natural History of the Senses, author Diane Ackerman
points out that taste is tightly linked to social activityâ€”the
Power Breakfast, celebratory meals, state dinners, ice cream
and cake for birthdays, wine and drink for all types of occa-
sions. And since taste is such a sensitive, intimate sense, it is
closely linked to emotional memoryâ€”
think "comfort" food.
As we grew up, we usually shared
the day's events with our families at
an evening meal. Foods mark spe-
cial events in our lives or are as-
sociated with religious rituals
(the Jewish Seder), or a hol-
iday (Thanksgiving), or a
birthday or anniversary.
At meals, our visual,
olfactory, tactile, taste,
and even our emotional/
pleasure systems are in
1. MAKE MEALTIMES SOCIAL
high gear, feeding associations into our cortex and tapping
directly into the most primed memory circuits. Think about
it...the sight and feel of silverware, glasses, candlelight...the .Remove the morning paper and other distractions from the
tastes and textures of bread, finger foods, fried chicken...the breakfast table a few mornings a week and allow your attention
tapestry of smells...the sounds of sizzling steaks, clinking to focus on what and with whom you're eating and drinking.
glasses, conversation and laughter as well as the emotions that
â€¢ At dinnertime, turn off the radio or TV and have everyone
foods evoke...make mealtime potentially a gustatory free-for-
sit down together. Perhaps start the meal with a prayer or
all for the senses.
grace that binds people together and links words to food.
And yet, because it's easier, we tend to make mealtimes
predictable and repetitive: We eat the same cereal every
^ Remember how teachers used to say, "Let me have your undi-
morning, the same deli sandwich for lunch, and, if it's Tues-
vided attention"?Neuroscientists studying the brain mechanisms of
day, meatloaf for dinner. However, mealtimes, more than our
attention found that it is indeed a limited resource. The more atten-
other daily activities, offer us the chance to bring all our
tion you devote to reading a newspaper the less brainpower is avail-
senses to the table in a pleasurable and brain-healthy way.
able for noticing other things or people in your environment. Of
Every meal provides an ideal opportunity to engage with
course, keeping up on current events is not bad, but it's worth asking
spouses, children, friend, or coworkers, and these interactions
yourself whether you are reading for information or for isolation.
have demonstrable positive effects on brain health. By chang-
ing how you eat, without changing what you eat, you benefit
â€¢ At work, organize a brown-bag club where you eat with a
your brain. group, swap lunches.
â€¢ If you live alone, invite a friend for mealtime, even if it's
just takeout Chinese. Reinforcing social contacts pays off in
KEEP YOUR BRAIN ALIVE AT M K A I, T I M F, S
2. SHARE A MEAL IN SILENCE 3. MUSICAL CHAIRS
You'll be surprised at how the foods you taste and the things .A.t dinnertime, have everyone switch seats. In most families,
you hear are greatly enhanced. You'll automatically slow down, everyone has his or her "own" seat, and it's remarkable how per-
savor the food, feel its texture, smell its bouquet, and hear a manent these arrangements become. Switching seats changes
new ambience that conversation usually smothers. whose "position" you occupy, who you relate to, your view of
the room, and even how you reach for salt and pepper.
^ The absence of verbal communication forces you to use different
associative circuits to "speak" and to decipher what's being "said." ^ Like rearranging your desk (page 72), changing your seat at
the dinner table provokes "social rearrangements." Each seat has
associations attached to itâ€”the kid's seat, the head of the house-
hold's seat. Simply by changing places you are challenging and re-
working these timeworn associations.
KEEP YOUR BRAIN ALIVE AT MEALTIMES
4. HOLD YOUR NOSE 5. PLAN A DEMOCRATIC MEAL
AS You TRY DIFFERENT FOODS
.Let each person in the family (even the youngest) decide one
item on the menu. Peanut butter and steak may not sound
JVLost of what we call taste actually depends on smell. By
appetizing, but it is not going to hurt you, and it may provide
closing your nose, you bring basic taste information and tac-
material for some bizarre associations.
tile cues to the fore and experience the texture and consis-
tency of food using your mouth and tongue.
^ Taste buds sense sweet, salt, sour or bitter, astringent, and
metallic tastes. Your experience of a food based on these qualities,
compared to flavor from olfactory stimulation, utilizes different
KEEP YOUR BRAIN ALIVE AT M EA LT I M E S
6. A TASTE DOWN MEMORY LANE â€¢ Childhood Revisited.
Look for foods that might rekindle "'" â€¢
childhood memoriesâ€”a baseball- 'C
Certain foods reactivate and exercise the memory or emo-
park hotdog with that neon-yellow t' '
tional circuits that were associated with them in the first
mustard, birthday cake and ice V
place. In a memorable passage from Remembrance of Things
cream, Popsicles, s'mores, maca-
Past, Marcel Proust describes the overwhelming pleasure of
roni and cheeseâ€”or any ethnic or I /
childhood memories and associations unleashed by the taste
regional foods you used to eat as a â€¢-.-.-.
of a madeleine cookie dipped in tea:
child and no longer do.
At once I had recognized the taste of the crumb of madeleine soaked â€¢ The First Bite.
in her decoction of lime-flowers which my aunt used to give Re-create your first meal with a spouse or lover. Foods you
me... immediately the old grey house upon the street, where her had on a first date or at your wedding can bring back to life
room was, rose up like the scenery of a theatre...and with the long-dormant synapses and provide you with a new route for
house the town, from morning to night and in all weathers; the enhancing past and future memories.
square where I was sent before luncheon, the street along which I
â€¢ Don't Forget the Stuffing.
used to run errands, the country roads we took when it was
The foods of Thanksgiving, Passover, Christmas, and the
fine. ..so that in that moment all the flowers in our garden and in
Fourth of July can conjure up all the feelings and memories
M. Swann's park, and the water-lilies on the Vivonne and the
of holidays past. One taste and, like Proust, you'll be recalling
good folk of the village and their little dwellings and the parish
the smell of your grandfather's pipe and your Aunt Rosie
church and the whole of Combray and of its surroundings, taking
telling you not to play under the table. Try creating one of
their proper shapes and growing solid, sprang into being, town
these meals again on a day that's not a holiday.
and gardens alike, from my cup of tea.
KEEP YOUR BRAIN ALIVE
AT M E A LT I M E S
7. INTRODUCE NOVELTY â€¢ Change the order in which you eat your food. Try starting
with the dessert and ending with the chips. This may seem
frivolous but your brain won't think so. It's primed to han-
Eat waffles or cereal for dinner. The Norwegians eat their
dle this unexpected strategy.
main meal for breakfast. You could try that too.
â€¢ Change where you eat your mealâ€”a different room, out-
side, on the porch, on the floor (have an indoor picnic!).
â€¢ Puree in a blender one fruit and one vegetable that you
have never combined before. Taste it and make up a catchy
name for the new concoction. This could be a fun taste
game for a group of food lovers.
â€¢ Eat your food using your "wrong" hand. A small change like
this makes even the most routine acts of eating challenging.
AT M E A I. T I M E S
9. FOOD FOR THOUGHT
8. SPICE UP YOUR SETTING
IVlealtimes are also an excellent opportunity to introduce
.Lnhance your sensory environment. As we've said, meals are
Neurobic stimuli from exotic foods, tastes, and smells:
not just about food. Candlelight, visually pleasing china and
Once a month try a cuisine that's novel to you. When you
flowers, beautiful tablecloths, and music provide multisensory
eat the same thing at the same time of day, the associative ca-
stimulation to link with the smells and flavors of food. When
pacity of your smell and taste systems is blunted. So:
you don't have the time or money to indulge, try a new set of
place mats or a vase of flowers, or use the good china once in
â€¢ Prepare a breakfast from another country. Here are some
a whileâ€”even when you're alone. typical ones. (The ingredients are generally available at eth-
nic markets, restaurants, or supermarkets, and finding them
^ Enriching the sensory, social, and emotional environment sur-
can be a Neurobic experience.)
rounding meals feeds your brain, even though you may not be Japan: seaweed, rice, fish, tea
aware of it at the time. Conversely, when you strip life down to its
France: croissants, cheese, coffee
basics, you deprive your senses. While eating a frozen dinner at a
Mexico: tortillas and beans
bare table with the TV on satisfies basic caloric needs, it doesn't do
Brazil: coffee, milk, bread and jam, cheese and
much for your olfactory or taste systems, and certainly the emo-
ham with papaya
tional impact and novelty factors are low.
Bulgaria: Hot platter of eggs or cold platter of eggs,
meats, yogurt, honey, bread, and jam
Try the same thing at dinner. (In cities you can "take out"
Chinese (and eat with chopsticks!)
Japanese (chopsticks again)
KEEP YOUR AT MEALTIMES
10. CLOSE YOUR EYES
Southern fried chicken (eat with your hands)
Moroccan (eat everything with your fingers)
AND OPEN WIDE
Hispanicâ€”Mexican, Brazilian, Spanish (just eat!)
Accompany the meal with appropriate ethnic music to add Identify food on your plate only by smell, taste, and touch. A
an auditory dimension to taste sensations. food's flavor includes its texture, aroma, temperature, spici-
^ Smell and taste, of course, are intimately involved in one's re-
sponse to foods. But texture plays a role in enjoyment, too, and by
isolating your tactile appreciation you create a different neural
route. The tongue and lips are among the most sensitive parts of
the body (even more sensitive than the fingertips).
K f. f- P YOUR BRAIN A L I V F.
12. Now YOU'RE COOKIN'
11. HOLD A "BLIND" WINE TASTING
something from scratch. It doesn't have to be a five-
Invite family and/or friends to bring a bottle of a particular
course gourmet meal. Making a simple Italian pasta sauce gives
kind so that you'll be comparing similar wines. The ritual of a
all your senses a good workout. As you chop and saute onions,
wine tasting involves at least three of your senses. Wine experts
herbs, and spices, aromas permeate the kitchen and flood you
judge the color, the aroma, and the taste (sweet, sour, sharp,
with memories. You're engaging your tactile senses when chop-
soft, fruity, heavy, light, complex, oaky, and how it will taste in
ping and peeling, and then in testing the consistency and tex-
conjunction with spe-
ture of the sauce as it reduces. A good cook constantly tastes for
cific foods). Of course,
flavor, adding and adjusting spices a little at a time.
too much tasting can
also bring your emotions
and sense of balance into
play, so be moderate.
13. HAVE A SEXY MEAL
1 here was a famous eating scene in the film Tom Jones, where
the starring couple turn each other on by making each bite
highly sensual and suggestive. Stage your own erotic meal with
someone you care about and include other sensory enhance-
ments like candles, flowers, music, and incense.
W hether it's the end of a long day, a hard week, or a busy
month, we all need time to relax and refresh our mind.
But not all relaxations are necessarily good for the brain.
Watching hours of TV is the most obvious example. Research
has shown that watching television literally numbs the mind:
The brain is less active during TV-viewing than during sleep!
And a constant diet of television
is linked to fewer social interac-
tions, which in turn has long-
term negative consequences.
In contrast, there are many
enjoyable, relaxing activities
that incorporate the principles
of Neurobics. Some of your ex-
isting leisure-time activities are
probably more Neurobic and
better for your brain than oth-
ers. So the first step is to take
stock of how you spend free
KEEP YOUR BRAIN A I. I V E
1. NEW PLACES, NEW FACES
time and evaluate whether it includes a good proportion of
Neurobics. The key is striking a balance between brain-stim-
ulating Neurobic activity and those times when you simply 1 hroughout this book we've emphasized the importance of
need to put your mind in idle. breaking routines, and vacation time opens up rich possibili-
We've grouped exercises into three categories: vacations, ties. Go where you've never been before. Travel broadens, but
leisure time, and hobbies. not if you seek out the McDonald's in Paris or the shopping
mall in Santa Fe. Make it a point to explore the visual, audi-
tory, and olfactory differences a new place offers. Sample the
local food and entertainment, and shop and travel the way
the locals do. Try to avoid traveling in large tour groups, and
really get to meet people in different cultures.
^ At every turn, traveling involves something novel for the
senses. Spatial maps used for everyday navigation are suddenly
unusable and new ones must be constructed. The stress you may
feel taking in new sights, sounds, foods, and a foreign language is
actually your brain moving into high gear! An afternoon spent
talking with the owner of a small shop in a new place may be
more memorable (and better for your memory) than going to yet
another "must see" sight.
KEEP YOUR BRAIN ALIVE AT LEISURE
2. Go CAMP 4. A DIFFERENT SLANT ON THINGS
A camping trip is definitely different from a week by the If you choose one of these vacations, you'll
pool at a resort! have contact with people of very different
backgrounds and outlooks on the world.
^ There's probably no more di-
Volunteer as a counselor for a school or
rect way to experience the unex-
scout trip. Volunteer to work for a charity.
pected than camping. Not only are
you responsible for constructing
your shelter, you have to navigate Go on an Earthwatch or similar environmental vacation.
trails with a compass, make food,
and deal firsthand with the chal- If you're a sit-on-the-beach type, consider an active tripâ€”a
lenges of weather and terrain. bicycle tour or a hike on the Appalachian Trail. If you're the
hyperactive type, consider a leisurely cruise.
Go to a farm or a dude ranch where vacationers work the farm.
3. A "Do UNTO OTHERS" PROJECT
^ The main point is to do something that challenges and engages
With your neighbors, get involved in a community project,
your mind not because it's difficult but because it's different from
such as sprucing up a local park. Not only will you interact
what you normally do on vacation.
with kids, neighbors, and the local authorities, but you'll
probably use your hands (and brain) in unexpected ways.
KEEP YOUR BRAIN ALIVE AT LEISURE
5. BE CREATIVE
Take a creative workshop. Lots of places both in the U.S. and
abroad offer week- or month-long courses in writing, paint-
ing, photography, sculpting, music, acting, archaeology, or
whatever you've always wanted to try your hand at.
Try a sports camp. There are "camps" galore, including tennis,
golf, scuba diving, riding, baseball, and rock climbing.
Vacation at a cooking school. Your eyes, nose, tongue, sense
of touch, and emotions will get an extra workout, and you'll
develop mental skills planning, timing, and executing com-
^ Novelty is the backbone of any good vacation. Increase the Neu-
robicpotential by adding a learning experience to it.
6. THE JOY OF JOY RIDING ^ Most of the time you're in a car, you have specific destinations
in mind (and usually a routine way to get there). Not being sure of
what comes next, where you're going to end up, or even how you'll
llead out without a plan and with family or friends for a
get back turns up your attentional circuits to notice all the new
"Random Drive." Each passenger gets a turn to suggest where
sensory stimuli around you. You (and your passengers) are also ex-
to go or what to doâ€”"Stop here" or "Turn left now" or "Let's
ercising spatial navigation skills. And while you can play these
wade in that stream!" Or try "Map Toss": Put a map of your re-
games by yourself, by including family and friends you provide op-
gion on the floor and have everyone throw a coin on it. Then
portunities for shared experiences, shared memories, shared meals,
go to a randomly determined place that strikes your collective
and shared associations.
fancy. En route, use some of the exercises in the "Commuting"
chapter to enhance your social and sensory experiences.
KEEP YOUR AT LEISURE
7. EXPRESS YOURSELF 8. IMPROV
1 he visual arts are just one example of using creative expres-
Do a group art project. Get out drawing paper and crayons or sion as a brain exercise.
paints and have each person draw something associated with a
Dub a segment of a TV show with your own script. Record the
specific theme (a season, an emotion, or a current event, for
show, then play it back without sound. Have each player pick a
role and make up dialogue for the part. When everyone is ready,
run the tape silently again to your voice-overs. Try the same
Create a mural together on the same paper. For added stim-
thing with an animal show like a National Geographic special.
ulation, try holding the crayon or paintbrush with your feet
It's bound to elicit belly laughs.
instead of your hands.
Play a family video with different kinds of background music
^ Art is a medium for activating the nonverbal and emotional
(scary, romantic, etc.) on a CD or tape player. Notice how it
parts of the cerebral cortex. When you create art, you draw on parts
transforms what you're watching and creates new associations
of your brain interested informs, colors, and textures, as well as
with the event.
thought processes very different from the logical, linear thinking
that occupies most of your waking hours.
Make a video about whatever strikes your fancy. Invent a
story, conduct "man-in-the-street" interviews, or film the
commonplaceâ€”your pet in the backyard, or a family meal
from preparation to eating and cleaning up.
KEEP YOUR BRAIN ALIVE
9. SPEAK IN SILENCE
Play "smell and tell." Each participant closes his eyes, sniffs
an aroma that is held under his nose, and tells what associa-
tions come to mind.
Learn sign language. Learning any foreign language is Neu-
robically stimulating, but learning American Sign Language
Form a band using real or made-up instruments such as pots,
(ASL) is especially so. Signing requires your hands (and the
pans, a bottle, comb, coffee can, etc.
parts of the cortex that control them) to do something com-
pletely new: be responsible for communication. And your vi-
Assign parts and read a play aloud. Or choose a monologue,
sual cortex must learn to associate particular hand positions
and then memorize, prepare, and stage it as an actor would.
with meaning, forming links to the parts of the cortex re-
sponsible for language and communication. Sign language is
^ Singing or reading aloud promotes interaction of the right and challenging, complex, and rich, and requires integrating new
left brain and activates normally unused pathways. types of sensory information to take the place of the usual au-
ditory associations. If you do learn some sign language, you
Listen to a piece of music and try to identify the instruments
will also be able to communicate with the hearing impaired
playing. Jazz and blues are good for this exercise. Go to a con-
in a much richer way than when they are reading your lips.
cert or watch a music video, and then listen to the same piece
again on a CD. It's a novel way to "see" with your ears.
Communicate a thought or idea to someone without using
your voice. Playing charades is one fun way to do this, and
both actor and guesser benefit.
KEEP YOUR BRAIN ALIVE AT LEISURE
10. PLAY THE "TEN THING GAME" 11. PLAY "NAME THAT SOUND"
Oomeone hands you an ordinary object. You must use it to \Jn an old radio show, contestants would try to identify
demonstrate ten different "things" that the object might be. sounds the host would play for them. You can make up your
Example: A fly swatter might be a tennis racket, a golf club, a own after-dinner version of this game. During the week,
fan, a baton, a drumstick, a violin, a shovel, a microphone, a record sounds on your Walkman from around the house or
baseball bat, or a canoe paddle. In some ways, this game is park or work. Play them back for the family and have each
similar to punning, whereby you reach into your mental person try to "name that sound." Or buy a sound-effects CD
sound database and associate a sound/word with something or cassette (there are lots available) and play the game.
else like it in a humorous way.
12. BRAINATHON 13. PARK ANYWHERE
If you already exercise to stay fit, why not give your brain a xarks are designed for leisure activity, especially for exercise
workout at the same time? Running on a treadmill is not the of all types.
same as running through a park or your neighborhood. The
predictable program of a machine in a gym demands almost Try something new like bird-watching or identifying flow-
ers or trees. Fly a kite or go sledding.
nothing of your brain. Walking, jogging, or cycling on a trail
or sidewalk opens you up to multisensory experiences with
unpredictiblility at every corner.. .Which way do I go at this Feed the ducks or squirrels (by yourself or with a child). The
intersection? Will that dog come after me? Look out for that advantage of Neurobics is that even something small, if un-
kid on the tricycle! So vary your exercise routine by doing it predictable, is enough to get your brain moving.
Sail a model boat or make one with a simple piece of wood, a
stick, and a piece of paper for a sail. Have races!
Settle on a bench, close your eyes, and take in what happens
around you. Let your mind free-associate by using the sounds
and smells you experience.
KEEP YOUR BRAIN ALIVE AT LEISURE
14. START A NEW HOBBY Build a small model airplane or car while wearing a patch
over one eye. Because you lose depth perception, your brain
has to rely on new cues. Your sense of touch and spatial skills
llobbies that are most Neurobically stimulating require you
are required to fit small pieces together.
to use several different senses in nonroutine ways and to make
fine distinctions within one sensory system.
Fly fishing, for example, puts you in a novel sensory environ-
ment (a river), requires you to think like a fish and to pay at-
tention to the time of day, the feel of the water, and the types
of insects around you. Other examples are archery, photogra-
phy, woodworking, and cooking.
Master a new gadget such as a computer, video or still cam-
era, telescope, ham radio, musical instrument, Windsurfer, or
Learn touch typing. If you still hunt and peck, it slows down
your enjoyment of the computer. Practicing touch typing en-
gages the brain in a different way. It offers all the Neurobic
benefits of integrating your tactile, spatial, and visual senses
without having to be blindfolded.
KEEP YOUR AT LEISURE
15. GROW A GARDEN,
GROW YOUR BRAIN
Whether it's a rooftop flower garden in the middle of a city
or a half-acre vegetable plot out in the country, gardening is
a good example of a richly Neurobic exercise.
Why? Because you use all your senses in the process: feel-
ing the earth, smelling the fruits and plants, tasting sprigs of
herbs. And your brain's planning and spatial abilities are
called into action as you decide which plants to put where,
the direction of the sun, and how much water is needed. At
the end there are potent rewards: fresh, homegrown fruits
and vegetables, flowers, or a beautiful yard.
1. Dr. Fred Gage of The Salk Institute and researchers at Sahlgrenska
University Hospital in Sweden discovered new cell growth in the hip-
pocampus, an area of the brain closely tied to learning and memory, in five
patients ages fifty-five to seventy. See the November 1998 issue of Nature
Medicine for a full report. Using similar techniques, Elizabeth Gould of
Princeton University and Bruce S. McEwen at Rockefeller University re-
ported that new cells are constantly being generated in the hippocampus of
adult monkeys. (See Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, Vol. 95.)
2. Over the past ten years, the issue of whether brain cells die with normal
aging has been reexamined by a number of scientists, using much more
accurate methods than previously available. The conclusions are clear.
Studies such as those by Stephen Buell, Dorothy Flood, and Paul Cole-
man at the University of Rochester have found that in normal people,
even very late in life, the actual number of nerve cells really doesn't change
much. So it's likely that most of the nerve cells you had when you were
twenty are still very much alive when you're seventy. Even the magnitude
of mental decline in normal aging has been overstated: At least 90 percent
of the population will age without having to deal with the severe impair-
ments brought about by diseases or strokes.
K F, E P YOUR BRAIN A LI V E
of a brain cell is determined by the complexity of its pattern of dendritic
3. In an influential study published in Science (Vol. 206) and expanded in
branches, this doubling of growth suggests that neurotrophins can literally
Brain Research (Vol. 214), Stephen Buell and Paul Coleman found that
add more mental horsepower. We were also quite surprised to find that sim-
neurons in the aging human hippocampus (a brain structure critical in
ply adding neurotrophins was not enough. The nerve cells had to be send-
learning and memory) actually grew longer dendrites. Interestingly, in the
ing or receiving impulses in order to respond to them. The message was
brains of individuals afflicted with Alzheimer's Disease, this growth did
clearâ€”adding neurotrophins to active neurons made dendrites grow. Con-
not occur. It appears, therefore, that many neurons retain the capacity to
versely, we found that removing neurotrophins made dendrites atrophy
grow even late in life.
(which suggests one reason that brain inacitivity leads to mental decline).
4. A long series of investigations by Dr. Michael Merzenich at the Univer-
6. The first neurotrophin was discovered almost fifty years ago, when two
sity of California, San Francisco, has shown the adaptability of connections
scientists, Rita Levi-Montalcini and Victor Hamburger, working at
in the adult brain. For example, in the brains of adult monkeys trained to
Washington University in St. Louis, discovered a substance that not only
use certain fingers to get food, the areas of the brain responsible for pro-
kept certain types of nerve cells alive but also caused them to sprout many
cessing the sense of touch from those fingers gradually took over much
new branches. Levi-Montalcini and another scientist, Stanley Cohen, pu-
larger regions. This means that the brain was able to "rewire" to accomplish
rified this substance, which they named Nerve Growth Factor, or NGF.
something important like getting food, and devoted more "brain horse-
It turned out that NGF occurred naturally throughout the body but was
power" to the skills required, in this case the sense of touch in certain fin-
scarce in the cerebral cortex. NGF was the first member of what became a
gers. Recent findings by Dr. Jon Kaas at Vanderbilt University and Dr.
family of neurotrophins (from the Greek word trofhe, which, loosely
Charles Gilbert at Rockefeller University have shown directly that neurons
translated, means "to nourish").
in the adult brain can actually grow new "wires" to connect to one another.
In the early 1980s Yves Barde at the Max Planck Institute in Mu-
5. The beneficial effects of neurotrophins have been documented in hun- nich, Germany, finally succeeded in purifying a molecule from the brain
dreds of experiments at leading universities throughout the world. In our that behaved just like NGF. Called Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor,
own experiments at Duke University Medical Center, we (Lawrence C. or BDNF, it was found almost everywhere in the brain, including the
Katz, A. Kimberley McAllister, and Donald C. Lo) found that adding ex- cerebral cortex. Neurotrophins have powerful effects on the machinery of
tra neurotrophins to a neuron almost doubled the size and complexity of the brain. Research by Bai Lu at the National Institutes of Health, Erin
the dendrites that branch off the neuron. And since the computing power Schumann at Caltech, and Tobias Bonhoeffer at the Max Planck Institute
KEEP YOUR BRAIN ALIVE
in Munich has shown that neurotrophins help increase the strength of
connections in the hippocampus, a part of the brain that is critical for
learning and memory. Experiments by O. Lindvall and P. Ernfors of Uni-
1. About fifty years ago, a scientist named Karl Lashley trained rats to run
versity Hospital in Sweden, using animals, suggest that the neurotrophins
a maze for a food reward, and then removed ever larger parts of their cor-
may protect neurons from damage when parts of the brain undergo a
tex to determine when they could no longer "remember" the maze. To his
stroke or are damaged by other trauma.
surprise, he found that he could remove about 90 percent of the cortex,
and the animals could still find their way! By concluding (wrongly) that
7. Hans Thoenen of the Max Planck Institute in Munich and Christine
only 10 percent of the brain was required for memory to function he
Gall of the University of California, Irvine, revealed the direct correlation
missed the more important fact that there are many different forms (rep-
between the production of growth factors and nerve cell activity. Experi-
resentations) of the same memory stored in many different places. When
ments by Anirvan Ghosh and Michael Greenberg at Harvard and Ben
the rats were learning to run the maze, they formed associations among
Barres at Stanford further showed that this activity-dependent neu-
all their sensesâ€”they felt, heard, saw, smelled their way through the
rotrophin production formed more neural branches and connections, act-
maze. They had built a net of associations. When one set of associations
ing, in effect, like a self-fertilizing garden.
was destroyedâ€”like those based on vision, for exampleâ€”they could still
rely on their auditory or tactile memories to find their way to the food.
8. One example of this kind of stimulation is the patterns of brain activity
required to produce a phenomenon called long-term potentiation, or
2. And TV viewing is passive. Your sensory systems are involved in only a
LTP. LTP is a long-lasting change in the strength of synapses between
very limited way, and you are watching someone else perform interesting
neurons and it has been clearly linked to learning and memory. The same
or exciting activities. But in the brain, watching another person doing
kinds of stimulation that produce LTP also cause increases in the levels of
something is no substitute for doing it yourself. Indeed, there is direct ev-
neurotrophins like BDNF.
idence from animal experiments done by Marion Diamond at University
of California, Berkeley, that rats who simply watched other rats playing in
an enriched environment derived no brain benefits, while the animals
who were actually playing grew larger nerve cells.
3. Michael I. Posner, Marcus E. Raichle, and Steve E. Peterson at Washing-
RAIN ALIVE ENDNOTES
6. Long-term studies by groups such as the MacArthur Foundation and
ton University in St. Louis used functional brain imaging to follow the
the International Longevity Center at Mount Sinai Hospital in New
amount of brain activity in different areas when subjects were asked to come
York City reveal that individuals who are most successful at coping with
up with a verb to go with a list of new nouns. When first presented with a
aging and have maintained the best-preserved mental capacities are those
novel list, large areas of the cortex lit up, showing increased levels of brain ac-
who have active social and intellectual networks. Similarly, a three-year
tivity in several distinct areas of the cortex. After fifteen minutes of practice,
study conducted at the University of Southern California showed that
when the task had become routine and automatic, activity in those same ar-
people in their seventies who stayed physically and socially active retained
eas returned to baseline levels. If the subjects were then given a new list, ro-
their mental faculties much better than individuals who didn't. See Suc-
bust activity returned. These researchers also concluded that the brain uses
cessful Aging by Drs. John W. Rowe and Robert L. Kahn for summaries of
different areas to generate novel responses and automatic (rote) tasks.
these and other similar positive findings.
4. For a more detailed discussion see: Dr. John Allman, "Tracing the
Brain's Pathways for Linking Emotion and Reason," New York Times, De-
5. Research by Anthony Damasio and Ralph Adolphs at the University of
Iowa has shown how dramatically emotions can enhance memories. The
researchers showed a group of people a series of photographs with a sim-
ple story about a father taking his daughter to the zoo. Weeks later, when
the same people were asked to recount the story, they could recall it only
in the vaguest terms. They couldn't remember if it was a son or a daugh-
ter. . .whether she was a blonde or brunetteâ€”or even precisely where they
were headed. When the scientists changed the emotional quality of the
story and pictures to one in which a father takes his daughter to the zoo
and she is hit by a car while crossing the road, the memory of the narra-
tive was vastly improved.
ABOUT THE AUTHORS
Lawrence C. Katz is the James B. Duke Professor of Neuro-
biology at Duke University Medical Center and an Investiga-
tor in the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. A graduate of
the University of Chicago, Dr. Katz was a post-doctoral fellow
at Rockefeller University, where he worked with Nobel laure-
ate Dr. Torsten Wiesel. He is an internationally recognized ex-
pert on the development and function of the mammalian
cortex. His recent research focusing on neurotrophins and
their effect on nerve cell growth has received widespread
recognition in the scientific community and led to the concep-
tual foundation of this book. Dr. Katz has published over fifty
original scientific articles and has received numerous profes-
sional awards for his research. In addition to his lab work on
the brain, he exercises his brain by flying and fly-fishing. He
lives in Durham, North Carolina, with his wife and children.
IVlanning Rubin, who comes from a long line of writers, has
spent most of his career writing in the communications and
advertising fields for major firms like Grey and J. Walter
KEEP YOUR RAIN ALIVE
Thompson, as well as running his own movie advertising
company. As volunteer Creative Director for The Anti-
Defamation League, he has created and consulted on scores
of public service ads. A Phi Beta Kappa from the University
of Richmond and Johns Hopkins, Manning Rubin is
presently stretching his brain as a Senior Creative Supervisor
at K2 Design, a leading interactive marketing agency in New
York's thriving silicon alley. His book 60 Ways to Relieve Stress
in 60 Seconds was also published by Workman. He lives in
New York City with his wife, Jane.
For news, views, and questions
about keeping your brain active and healthy,
visit: www. keepyourbrainalive. com.