cover image THE NEW BRAIN: How the Modern Age Is Rewiring Your Mind

THE NEW BRAIN: How the Modern Age Is Rewiring Your Mind

Richard M. Restak, . . Rodale, $23.95 (228pp) ISBN 978-1-57954-501-7

Restak (Mozart's Brain), a neurosurgeon and popular science writer on the brain, focuses on new technology for examining the physiology of the brain (such as MRI) and how it allows us to monitor and control a far wider range of activities than was formerly possible. Recent work holds the potential for, among other things, reducing the use of psychopharmacological drugs that have unpredictable side effects; substituting one sense (touch) for another (sight); and direct repair of brain and other neurological damage. Restak also demonstrates how the brain is modified the old-fashioned way, such as by practicing a skill. The negative aspects of recent work are invoked in more polemical than scientific prose, such as the specter of social control through "medicalization" of everything, and how the overstimulation of our brains by modern society is giving us all ADD. Hackles will rise the farthest over the author's proclamation that it is proven that TV violence affects our brains in ways that lead to violent behavior without even mentioning the word "censorship." A compact if sometimes oversimplified introduction to its subject, Restak's latest is best when it stays close to the data. (Aug.)