Younger Brain, Sharper Mind

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 26 February, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 26 February, 2012, 12:00am


Younger Brain, Sharper Mind
by Eric Braverman

How fast can you think? Are you suave and deft at witty retorts or sluggish? The answer depends on how young you are and your upkeep of your brain, according to Dr Eric Braverman in his new book.

'The brain is like a superhighway for information,' he writes.

An ageing brain resembles a highway after a jack-knifed tractor trailer accident: 'Everything stops,' Braverman says. 'Worse, the abuse the highway has taken over the years has caused it to be riddled with potholes.'

That is the bad news. The good news: the brain is plastic and adaptable. Contrary to the fatalistic drivel that scientists talked last century, dead brain cells are replaceable. Irrespective of whether you have abused your body, hope exists, according to Braverman.

'You can get your cognitive functioning back to its highest level, and even beyond. All you need is to learn how to repair and recover your brain at the earliest possible stage,' he writes, distilling 35 years of research and clinical experience into his 'protocol'.

Follow it and you can apparently build new brain cells, growing 'younger' and brighter as you age. Braverman explains what to eat to stay focused - no refined carbohydrates - and how to exercise to sharpen your memory. He also highlights the alleged benefits of hormone therapy and medications available to treat mental decline.

Braverman's guide is studded with professional case study success stories. He has, he claims, helped thousands of patients take charge of their hormones and regain the physical and sexual oomph of their twenties. You too, it seems, can have a 'vigorous, capable mind' - if you stick with his programme, which takes devotion.

Besides presenting a brain gym regimen, Braverman urges you to get physically fit - boost blood supply to the brain through exercise: an hour a day chases the brain fog away. If visiting the gym is your idea of hell, do not worry.

'Take a walk,' Braverman says. 'You can work on enhancing your reaction time by monitoring your walking speed. I find that my patients who walk fast can think fast as well.' To monitor your progress, use a pedometer or step counter, he suggests.

Braverman writes clearly but rambles, offering more depth than necessary. His key points could have been crunched into a feature article with a snappy headline.

Another downside is the amount of effort that pursuing his protocol would take. Building the perfect brain sounds like a puritanical process involving much sacrifice.

Still, Braverman offers some neat tips that are easy to execute.

One is just to add nutrient-rich super-foods, spices, to every meal.

Or you could follow his example and mix red South African rooibos tea with blueberry and green tea. The mixture yields a massive antioxidant punch that helps you channel your 'inner Einstein'.