The Mindspan Diet: Reduce Alzheimer’s Risk, Minimize Memory Loss, and Keep Your Brain Young

Preston Estep. Ballantine, $27 (320p) ISBN 978-1-101-88612-0
In his eye-opening first book, Estep, director of gerontology at the Harvard Personal Genome Project, proposes “mindspan” as a quality-of-life standard for an era when people are living increasingly longer. As he writes, “lifespan measures how long we live, but how fulfilling that life is depends on how well your mind works during that time.” Estep thus examines populations who have both long lives and long mindspans—which he calls the “mindspan elite”—using the latest information on metabolism and genetics to understand their dietary secrets. Most surprising is his assertion that after age 40, iron, dairy, and whole grains can be harmful to metabolism and contribute to diseases associated with aging, including dementia. Estep’s insights into aging are informed by the last 60 years of research into senescence—the “array of physical changes that accompany the decline of… reproductive ability.” The downside to this fascinating, important book is that it’s another bolus of the food-as-medicine philosophy that can make readers feel guilty if they develop disease. However, Estep includes plenty of practical info on improving one’s mindspan and puts some refined grains back on the table. The book includes extensive notes and an appendix with “cheat sheets.” Agent: Mitchell Waters, Curtis Brown. (May)
Reviewed on: 04/18/2016
Release date: 05/03/2016
Genre: Nonfiction
Hardcover - 532 pages - 978-1-4104-9397-2
Ebook - 978-1-101-88613-7
MP3 CD - 978-1-5047-6721-7
Compact Disc - 978-1-5047-6719-4
Compact Disc - 978-1-5047-6720-0
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