Your Brain on Food: How Chemicals Control Your Thoughts and Feeling

Gary L Wenk, Author
Gary L. Wenk, Oxford Univ., $29.95 (192p) ISBN 978-0-19-538854-1
Reviewed on: 06/28/2010
Release date: 07/01/2010
In clear, accessible prose, Wenk, a professor of psychology and neuroscience at Ohio State, offers explanations for basic brain functions while exploring how different classes of food and drugs affect those functions. "By the end of the book…you will be able to predict how substances I did not discuss, and those that have not even been invented yet, might also affect your brain." He succeeds in this important and difficult task by focusing on the big picture. He begins with readable and concise explanations of brain anatomy and then moves on to explain how various neurotransmitters (such as acetylcholine, dopamine, and norepinephrine) can act to stimulate or depress brain function. Along the way, Wenk addresses a host of fascinating topics, such as possible treatments for Alzheimer's disease, why the same drug can have opposite effects in high versus low doses, and why addiction is so difficult to overcome. He also discusses why virtually all of the over-the-counter supplements enhancing brain function are useless. The book, both enjoyable and informative, will stimulate readers' brains. 30 b&w photos, 30 b&w illus. (Aug.)