Books: Young Children

It’s All in Your Head: A Guide to Understanding Your Brain and Boosting Your Brain Power

513DSA188CL._SX317_BO1,204,203,200_Discusses the physiology and evolution of the brain, definitions and measuring of intelligence, problem solving, and other related topics. Also includes suggestions for further reading and activities for stimulating creative thinking and other intellectual abilities.

Barrett, S. L., Espeland, P. &Urbanovic, J. (1992). It’s All in Your Head: A Guide to Understanding Your Brain and Boosting Your Brain Power. Minneapolis, MN: Free Spirit Publishing.

Your Fantastic Elastic Brain Stretch It, Shape It

51cXJb4P76LDid you know you can stretch and grow your own brain? Or that making mistakes is one of the best ways your brain learns? Just like how lifting weights helps your muscles get stronger, trying new things without giving up—like finding the courage to put your face in the water the first time you’re at a pool—strengthens your brain. Next time, your brain will remind you that you overcame that fear, and you will be braver!

Deak, J. (2010).  Your Fantastic Elastic Brain Stretch it, Shape It. Canada: Little Pickle Press, LLC.

You Can’t Use Your Brain If You’re a Jellyfish

61+kYE3qb2LThis title provides a fun and informative look at brains—insect brains, bird brains, dog brains, monkey brains, and our brains—and how they have each adapted to particular survival needs. This complex subject is made not only understandable but fascinating, and sometimes even funny!

Ehrlich, F. (2014). You Can’t Use Your Brain If You’re a  Jellyfish. New Jersey: Blue Apple Books.

The Brain Our Nervous System

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The human brain is behind everything you do. From taking your first step to creating the computer, this vital organ gives humans the ability to learn and adapt to an ever-changing world. Learn all about your amazing, versatile brain with award-winning science writer Seymour Simon.

Simon, S. (1997). The Brain Our Nervous System. New York: Morrow Junior Books.

Now You See it, Now You Don’t: The Amazing World of Optical Illusions

61wlStUx1RLThis classic book on optical illusions explores dozens of visual riddles about distance, depth, brightness, contrast, and color. Newly designed and filled with more than eighty illustrations — plus eight full-color pages of optical illusions — Now You See It, Now You Don’t lets youngsters see for themselves why they can’t always believe their eyes!

Simon, S. (1998). Now You See it, Now You Don’t: The Amazing World of Optical Illusions. New York: HarperCollins Publishers.

Books: Middle School

 

Neurocomic

61NpKjR-SDLDo you know what your brain is made of? How does memory function? What is a neuron and how does it work? For that matter what’s a comic? And in the words of Lewis Carroll’s famous caterpillar: “Who areyou?”

Neurocomic is a journey through the human brain: a place of neuron forests, memory caves, and castles of deception. Along the way, you’ll encounter Boschean beasts, giant squid, guitar-playing sea slugs, and the great pioneers of neuroscience. Hana Roš and Matteo Farinella provide an insight into the most complex thing in the universe.

Farinella, M. & Ros, H., (2014). Neurocomic. London: Nobrow Press.

Phineas Gage: A Gruesome but True Story About Brain Science

51zWvL7aisLPhineas Gage was truly a man with a hole in his head. Phineas, a railroad construction foreman, was blasting rock near Cavendish, Vermont, in 1848 when a thirteen-pound iron rod was shot through his brain. Miraculously, he survived to live another eleven years and become a textbook case in brain science.

At the time, Phineas Gage seemed to completely recover from his accident. He could walk, talk, work, and travel, but he was changed. Gage “was no longer Gage,” said his Vermont doctor, meaning that the old Phineas was dependable and well liked, and the new Phineas was crude and unpredictable.

His case astonished doctors in his day and still fascinates doctors today. What happened and what didn’t happen inside the brain of Phineas Gage will tell you a lot about how your brain works and how you act human.

Fleischman, J. (2002). Phineas Gage: A Gruesome but True Story About Brain Science. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co.

The Human Brain: Inside Your Body’s Control Room

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The amazing abilities of the human brain are endlessly fascinating to kids. How do we think? How do we remember? How does our brain work with the senses to enable us to experience the world around us? What happens when a person’s brain is injured, and what can be done to help fix it? This book puts readers right beside the brain researchers and doctors who are constantly seeking answers to these questions.

The book introduces young readers to the inspiring men and women who are making incredible advances in the world of brain science. The informed, educational text and insightful illustrations help them understand all the latest developments in this exciting field of human science.

Simpson, K. (2009). The Human Brain: Inside Your Body’s Control Room. Washington D.C.: National Geographic

Books: High School – Adults

Super Brain: Unleashing the Explosive Power of Your Mind to Maximize Health, Happiness, and Spiritual Well-being

51JzO4YLg-LA manual for relating to the brain in a revolutionary new way, Super Brain shows you how to use your brain as a gateway for achieving health, happiness, and spiritual growth. The authors are two pioneers: bestselling author and physician Deepak Chopra and Harvard Medical School professor Rudolph E. Tanzi, one of the world’s foremost experts on the causes of Alzheimer’s. They have merged their wisdom and expertise for a bold new understanding of the “three-pound universe” and its untapped potential.

Deepak, C., & Tanze, R. (2006). Super Brain: Unleashing the Explosive Power of Your Mind to Maximize Health, Happiness, and Spiritual Well-being, New York: Harmony Books.

The Brain That Changes Itself: Stories of Personal Triumph from the Frontiers of Brain Science

51Il8+du8YLAn astonishing new science called “neuroplasticity” is overthrowing the centuries-old notion that the human brain is immutable. In this revolutionary look at the brain, psychiatrist and psychoanalyst Norman Doidge, M.D., provides an introduction to both the brilliant scientists championing neuroplasticity and the people whose lives they’ve transformed. From stroke patients learning to speak again to the remarkable case of a woman born with half a brain that rewired itself to work as a whole, The Brain That Changes Itself will permanently alter the way we look at our brains, human nature, and human potential.

Doidge, N. (2007). The Brain That Changes Itself: Stories of  Personal Triumph from the Frontiers of Brain Science, New York: Penguin Books.

The SharpBrains Guide to Brain Fitness: How to optimize Brain Health and Performance at Any Age

41OzY1F7dLL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_The SharpBrains Guide to Brain Fitness cuts through the clutter of misconceptions, superficial and conflicting media coverage, and aggressive marketing claims, to help readers discover what really works, and what doesn’t, to improve brain health and performance at any age, to delay or prevent cognitive decline, and become smarter consumers of both media coverage and scientific research in the process.

With useful, pragmatic and personalized tips and suggestions that are easy to implement, the SharpBrains Guide offers a groundbreaking new approach for self-assessing current brain fitness needs and identifying the most relevant and evidence-based methods to preserve and enhance brain function throughout life. Whether your goal is to become more resilient, enhance memory, ward off Alzheimer’s disease, or simply improve mental focus to perform better at work, this how-to guide shows you exactly how to “use it or lose it.”

Fernandez, A., & Michelon, P., & Goldberg, E, (2013). The SharpBrains Guide to Brain Fitness: How to optimize Brain Health and Performance at Any Age, (2nd ed.). [San Francisco, Calif.]: Sharpbrains, Inc.

Brain Games #4: Lower your Brain Age in Minutes a Day

71NpAa8wRzLThis is the fourth book in the popular Brain Games: Lower Your Brain Age in Minutes a Day series, which was developed to help people increase their memory, sharpen their reasoning, and expand their creative thinking. Working the puzzles in this book can provide a vigorous mental workout for virtually everyone from teenagers to senior citizens.

Goldberg, E., (2007). Brain Games #4: Lower your Brain Age in Minutes a Day, Publications International, Ltd.

The New Executive Brain: Frontal Lobes in a Complex World

41nyIJFh1gL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_In The New Executive Brain, Goldberg paints a sweeping panorama of cutting-edge thinking in cognitive neuroscience and neuropsychology, one that ranges far beyond the frontal lobes. Drawing on the latest discoveries, and developing complex scientific ideas and relating them to real life through many fascinating case studies and anecdotes, the author explores how the brain engages in complex decision-making; how it deals with novelty and ambiguity; and how it addresses moral choices. At every step, Goldberg challenges entrenched assumptions. For example, we know that the left hemisphere of the brain is the seat of language–but Goldberg argues that language may not be the central adaptation of the left hemisphere. Apes lack language, yet many also show evidence of asymmetric hemispheric development. Goldberg also finds that a complex interaction between the frontal lobes and the amygdale–between a recently evolved and a much older part of the brain–controls emotion, as conscious thoughts meet automatic impulses. The author illustrates this observation with a personal example: the difficulty he experienced when trying to pick up a baby alligator he knew to be harmless, as his amygdala battled his effort to extend his hand. The New Executive Brain, Goldberg affirms Goldberg’s place as one of our most creative and insightful scientists, offering lucid writing and bold, paradigm-shifting ideas.

Goldberg, E., (2009). The New Executive Brain: Frontal Lobes in a Complex World, New York: Oxford University Press.

The Wisdom Paradox: How Your Mind Can Grow Stronger As Your Brain Grows Older

51RRAKQW62LThe Wisdom Paradox explores the aging of the mind from a unique, positive perspective. In an era of increasing fears about mental deterioration, world-renowned neuropsychologist Elkhonon Goldberg provides startling new evidence that though the brain diminishes in some tasks as it ages, it gains in many ways. Most notably, it increases in what he terms “wisdom”: the ability to draw upon knowledge and experience gained over a lifetime to make quick and effective decisions. Goldberg delves into the machinery of the mind, separating memory into two distinct types: singular (knowledge of a particular incident or fact) and generic (recognition of broader patterns). As the brain ages, the ability to use singular memory declines, but generic memory is unaffected—and its importance grows. As an individual accumulates generic memory, the brain can increasingly rely upon these stored patterns to solve problems effortlessly and instantaneously. Goldberg investigates the neurobiology of wisdom, and draws on historical examples of artists and leaders whose greatest achievements were realized late in life.

Goldberg, E. (2007). The Wisdom Paradox: How Your Mind Can Grow Stronger As Your Brain Grows Older, UK: Pocket Books.

Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain

51CbFW49qrLDid you know you can beat stress, lift your mood, fight memory loss, sharpen your intellect, and function better than ever simply by elevating your heart rate and breaking a sweat? The evidence is incontrovertible: aerobic exercise physically remodels our brains for peak performance.

In SPARK, John Ratey, MD embarks upon a fascinating journey through the mind-body connection, illustrating that exercise is truly our best defense against everything from depression to ADD to addiction to menopause to Alzheimer’s. Filled with amazing case studies (such as the revolutionary fitness program in Naperville, Illinois, that has put the local school district of 19,000 kids first in the world of science test scores), SPARK is the first book to explore comprehensively the connection between exercise and the brain. It will change forever the way you think about your morning run.

Ratey, J. J., & Hagerman, E. (2008) Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain, New York: Little, Brown and Company.

Train Your Brain: How to Maximize Memory Ability in Older Adulthood

41Sp+NLPo5L._AC_UL320_SR214,320_Train Your Brain was written to provide older adults, and the people who work with them, with practical and scientifically based suggestions and interventions on how to maintain and even improve memory ability. Researchers have found that certain lifestyle factors predict the likelihood of developing memory problems. Most chapters begin with research summaries, followed by practical suggestions for taking advantage of the identified factors that affect memory. The book also contains information and suggestions for people interested in starting a cognitive enhancement program in an assisted living facility, senior center, or medical setting. Two chapters, ‘How Memory Works’ and ‘How the Brain Works’, provide readers with a foundation of knowledge so they can get the most out of subsequent chapters. The author presents the ‘Use It or Lose It’ theory of memory and aging and the overwhelming evidence that cognitive stimulation is associated with better memory ability; he also provides information on how nutrition, physical exercise, mood, stress, and sleep all affect memory. The book contains cognitive enhancement activities, with instructions, that can be used to create a memory enhancement program for oneself or others. However, even all of this information won’t help the older adult who is unmotivated to make the necessary behavioral changes, so the author includes information on how to motivate people to do the things that can improve their quality of life and their ability to make new memories.

Winningham, Robert G. (2011). Train Your Brain: How to Maximize Memory Ability in Older Adulthood, Baywood Publishing Company, Inc.

Websites

For Children

Brainy Kids

This is an online science resource for students, teachers, and parents.

Brains On!

Brains On! is a podcast featuring science and kids produced by MPR News and Southern California Public Radio. Questions are asked and the hosts go wherever the answers take them.. Sometimes that means talking to a food scientist or a snake handler, other times that means putting on a play about sound waves or writing songs about sleep. A different kid co-hosts each episode. They talk about the interesting stuff they’re doing and the things they think about. It’s a science lesson for your ears – so tune in and turn your brains on!

Khan Academy

Is a personalized learning resource for all ages. Khan Academy offers practice exercises, instructional videos, and a personalized learning dashboard that empower learners to study at their own pace in and out of the classroom. Topics tackled are math, science, computer programming, history, art history, economics and more. Khan Academy has also partnered with institutions like NASA, The Museum of Modern Art, The California Academy of Science and MIT to offer specialized content.

Neuroscience for Kids

This was created for all students and teachers who would like to learn about the nervous system. Discover the exciting world of the brain, spinal cord, neurons and the senses. Use the experiments, activities and games to help you learn about the nervous system. There are plenty of links to other websites to explore.

For Adults

AARP Brain Health and Wellness

Find the latest on enhancing brain health and get tips on memory improvement and stress management. Live sharp and stay sharp at any age.

What is Brain Health?

The Administration for Community Living has partnered with the National Institutes of Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and leading research groups to offer you valuable brain health resources. This information can serve as a great starting point in becoming brain healthy.

Brain Basics

Developed by the National Institute of Mental Health, this website will introduce you to some of the science behind these questions:

  • Ÿ How the brain develops
  • Ÿ How genes and the environment affect the brain
  • Ÿ The basic structure of the brain
  • Ÿ How different parts of the brain communicate and work with each other
  • Ÿ How changes in the brain can lead to mental disorders, such as depression.

SharpBrains

The mission of SharpBrains is to provide independent, research-based information and guidance to navigate the growing cognitive and brain fitness market.

www.SharpBrains.com is the firm’s educational blog and website and is one of the most popular brain blogs around.

The Dana Foundation

The Dana Foundation is a private philanthropic organization that supports brain research through grants, publications, and educational programs. Its mission is to advance brain research and educate the public in a responsible manner about the potential of research. Online and in print, the Foundation offers neuroscience-related publications, including exclusive news and feature articles and interviews, briefing papers, primers, and a blog. The online journal Cerebrum offers thought-provoking ideas from leading researchers, and the monthly periodical Brain in the News features the top brain-related stories from external publications. Report on Progress offers readers brief articles by experts on the latest advances on brain research.

Go4Life

is an exercise and physical activity campaign from the National Institute on Aging at NIH and is designed to help you fit exercise and physical activity into your daily life. Exercise is one of the main ingredients for a healthy brain so check out this website and get started on a healthier you today!

HEADS UP

HEADS UP is a series of educational initiatives, developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), that all have a common goal: Protect kids and teens by raising awareness and informing action to improve prevention, recognition, and response to concussion and other serious brain injuries. Initially, HEADS UP materials addressed health care professionals and their important role in diagnosing and managing concussions. More recent HEADS UP initiatives focus on sports programs and schools as key places to share concussion information with coaches, parents, and school professionals. HEADS UP educational materials are designed to help support individuals and organizations with their concussion efforts and are available in a variety of formats.

Searching for the Mind with John Lieff, M.D.

This blog post is intended to be an exploration of a paradigm shift in which Dr. Lieff examines the scientific understanding of the connection between the mind and the material world. Posts examine scientific discoveries, as they appear, in the fields of neuroscience, animal behavior, microbiology, molecular biology, evolution and biophysics and explore their relevance to the emerging view of the mind as an integral part of nature. Dr. Lieff graduated from Yale College with a B.A. in mathematics, and Harvard Medical School with an M.D. He is a practicing psychiatrist, with specialties in geriatric psychiatry and neuropsychiatry. He was a pioneer in geriatric psychiatry, building some of the first geriatric medical/psychiatry hospital units, and the largest geriatric treatment network in New England, which he directed for twenty years. He is a specialist in the interface of psychiatry, neurology, and medicine.

Institute for Learning & Brain Sciences (I-LABS), University of Washington

The I-LABS Library of Training Modules provides an in-depth look at unique topics in the science of child development giving particular attention to cognitive development. Access to the video modules are free once you register for a free account.