Brain Beat: A Scientific and Evolutionary Perspective of Brain Health examines the origins of the pillars of brain health, expounding the current scientific basis for recommending physical exercise, cognitive exercises, sleep hygiene, socialization and brain-foods. However in addition to the “how” question, the more important “why” question is addressed from a neuro-archeological and evolutionary standpoint. The clinical and laboratory brain sciences are replete with ever increasing numbers of publications about brain plasticity and the powerful aspects of preventative medicine. Once dismissed as non-existent, we now know that brain plasticity and “brain building” occurs on a daily basis. Why did physical exercise evolve to produce new brain cells and connections and how and why did we become “born runners” and become “wired to run”? Why an important function of sleep is the pruning the brain’s connections made during the day and why are diverse diets associated with good health in differing traditional human societies? Why is socialization protective against dementia and cardiovascular disease? New scientific, evolutionary and anthropological research is presented on how these processes were ingrained into our brain circuitry and linked to appropriate reward mechanisms, some of which have resulted in “mismatch diseases” today. Disparate disciplines such as geology, climatology and astrophysics give insights as to how our body, brain and mind were forged by “fire and ice”. With a better understanding of how we evolved, comes improved adherence and compliance to healthy living proclivities.
“In this clearly written book Dr. Michael Hoffman, an outstanding behavioral neurologist, describes the evolution of the human brain. This knowledge of evolution allows the reader to better understand the brain’s function, as well as the means by which we older people can help preserve this penultimate gift of nature.”
Kenneth M. Heilman MD, FAAN
The James E. Rooks Jr. Distinguished Professor
Department of Neurology
University of Florida College of Medicine
Gainesville, FL. 32610
“This intriguing book by Dr. Michael Hoffmann is full of interesting points about the connections across our brain, behavior and the world we inhabit. He combines evolutionary concepts with history, philosophy, science and medicine. Everything is connected and his innovative concepts can help us explain the intersection between environment and our brain, and motivate the reader to take better control of their own brain health.”
Ralph L. Sacco MD MS FAHA FAAN
Professor and Olemberg Chair of Neurology
Executive Director McKnight Brain Institute
Chief of Neurology Jackson Memorial Hospital
Miller School of Medicine
University of Miami
BRAIN BEAT is a scholarly and exceptionally lucid presentation of Neuroarcheology and brain health. It is also a good read. What I find most useful is the gradual and fascinating exposition of how present-day individuals have evolved from earliest origins to the point where we are changing ourselves through what is now called cultural Neuroarcheology. The explanations of biological, neurological, and psychological specifics provide the beginner with a solid scientific background, and the professional with a new way to think. Lucid, scholarly, and a fascinating read, BRAIN BEAT will provide you with both the basics and advanced aspects of Neuroarcheology and how it relates to brain health. This integrative new field brings the sciences and social sciences into a new theoretical and practical integration. Dr. Hoffman makes Neuroarcheology understandable to the lay public, while simultaneously challenging us professionals to “think different.” If you are serious about life, don’t miss this important book.
In short, this book is outstanding.
Allen E. Ivey, Ed.D., ABPP
Distinguished University Professor (Emeritus)
University of Massachusetts, Amherst