cover image Unleash the Power of the Female Brain

Unleash the Power of the Female Brain

Daniel G. Amen. Harmony, $26 (416p) ISBN 978-0-307-88894-5

In this comprehensive manual, psychiatrist and bestselling author Amen (Use Your Brain to Change Your Age) pep-talks women into optimizing their brains in order to intensify focus and happiness, not to mention orgasms. Emphasizing the need for "brain envy" in lasting motivation, Amen strategically intersperses SPECT (single photon emission computed tomography) scans that evidence diversity in blood flow and activity not only between fit and junk-fed brains but also in a woman's brain between points of her cycle. The latter effectively underscores his argument for balancing hormones as part of one's overall brain-training regimen. His advice itself isn't revolutionary: get adequate rest; consume fish oil, a multivitamin, the right probiotic; don't cling to stress or negative thoughts. What differentiates Amen's work is the research, accompanied by visuals, into the ramifications of ignoring one's mental and physical health. Applying his "four circles" approach to the female brain in particular, he recommends encompassing strategies for maintaining both serenity and acute cognitive function throughout the hormonal whirlwinds of PMS, pregnancy, and menopause in addition to hectic daily schedules. Representing a necessary intersection of biology, psychology, sociology, and philosophy, Amen's approach to conditioning the brain does justice to the complexity of its subject. (Feb.)