Keeping your brain sharp starts with your waistline

BOOK REVIEW

Keeping your brain sharp starts with your waistline

Neuroscientist MARK SOLMS gives the thumbs-up to Sanjay Gupta's book Keep Sharp: How to Build a Better Brain at Any Age, a rare combination of good science and self-help. But the building has to start early, and there is important news about your waistline.

THE unfortunately surnamed Dr Sanjay Gupta is well-known to any viewer of CNN, where he is the Chief Medical Correspondent. He is a neurosurgeon by training, a qualification which by itself does not equip one to write a book on how to improve your brain health (unless the improvement you are looking for is the removal of a brain tumour). But Gupta’s other job has provided him with much wider medical knowledge than the average neurosurgeon.

In this book, he draws also on the extensive network of personal contacts that he enjoys with top-flight medical scientists around the world as a result of his journalistic work.

As its title suggests, this is a self-help book, but it is also much more than that; for some readers, perhaps a little too much more, because Gupta’s stated aim is not only to tell us what to do to stave off the risk of cognitive decline that we all fear so much, but also to explain why he recommends the steps that he does and how they work. In other words, he provides an unusually comprehensive overview of what we know today about the neurological mechanisms of cognitive decline, some of which might be a little too technical and detailed for the average reader...

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