My husband, a neurosurgeon, walked with me to an appointment I had with an editor. He noticed on her desk she had a number of books on body building. “You know,” he commented, ‘you can do the same thing
with your brain. Cognitive exercises will build up it up.”
The young editor was not interested. She wanted me to write a book on allergies, which I did.
When I told my agent about my husband’s observation, she obtained a contract for the book, Build Your Brain Power from the first publisher she contacted, St Martin’s.
After the contract was signed, I attempted to interview scientists who specialized in the brain and its function. I received cold responses
“Your brain comes with a certain amount of brain cells when you are born and you never develop more.” They quoted from the current anatomy books. I remember one particular neurologist from a state university who was very annoyed. He embarrassed me about the ludicrous idea humans could develop more brain cells.
I interviewed a wide assortment of experts. My husband observed patients at New Jersey Neurological Institute and elsewhere.
The book’s first edition was published as Build Your Brain Power in 1986. When a second up-dated edition came out in 2003, it was named Brain Workout by the publisher.
The book was successful world-wide and I believe helped spur a whole industry of books, websites, games and medical departments concerned with building brain power.
My husband died in 2011 but he left piles of teaching material. I found the following among his papers:
- Do a dance, especially a square dance. Square dancing requires you to move to music while following the announcer’s instructions at the same time.
- Do addition and subtraction and multiplication without a calculator. Math exercises the left side of the brain
- Do play music. Wind instruments bring more oxygen to the brain. Piano and guitar help hand-eye coordination. Playing any type of instrument exercises the right side of the brain. Even just listening to music stimulates the brain
- Do study a foreign language. It activates both the right side and left side of the brain
- Do begin writing your memoirs. Reminiscing stimulates the brain
- Do increase your intake of lecithin, a substance in fish and dairy products. Lecithin aids the transmission of information between brain cells.
- Don’t put yourself under unnecessary stress. Even minor chronic stress, such as sitting in traffic destroys brain cells
- Don’t smoke cigarettes or drink alcohol to excess–they both destroy brain cells.
- Don’t get depressed or bored, they both cause brain stagnation.
- Don’t spend long periods of time in darkened or windowless rooms. Lack of light can cause depression and brain stagnation.
- Don’t spend time with people who criticize or discourage you from taking on new challenges…It dampens your brain’s ability to be creative
- Don’t use your age as an excuse for being brain lazy!
Note: The book, which has been quoted and cannibalized many times is still current. Re-published in 2003— by ASJA Press— BRAIN WORKOUT is available on Amazon.