Dr. Marie Pasinski is a Harvard Medical School graduate, a neurologist at Massachusetts General Hospital, and a faculty member at Harvard Medical School.
She is also the daughter of Richard and Patricia Burke, of Auburn.
Her field of study includes dementia prevention, and the effects of diet, exercise and socialization on the brain. She wrote a book with Jodie Gould titled “Beautiful Brain Beautiful You: A Seven Step Guide to a Better, Smarter, Younger You.”
Women today are so busy — working, caring for their children and often their parents too — that today’s fast-paced technological world can seem overwhelming to them. We’ve all experienced things like Mommy Brain or Senior Moments, where we forget why we entered a room or where we put our keys.
This book details seven steps that will help women look and feel younger and healthier that don’t involve surgery or expensive cosmetics.
Dr. Pasinski explains in easy-to-understand terms how the brain is constantly changing and creating new connections. One important thing a person can do to keep creating those connections is to indulge in new experiences.
She uses examples of women she has met in her practice, including a new mother, a workaholic, an empty nester and an older woman who suffered a stroke, to show how opening up your mind to new experiences can help keep your brain and body healthier.
Making simple changes in your daily routine, such as taking a different route to work, trying a new recipe, visiting a museum during your lunch or listening to a new radio station can help your brain make new connections and strengthen itself.
Choosing a “passionate pursuit” involves mastering a new skill like gardening, learning to play a new instrument or learning to use a computer, and it goes a long way to creating new connections in the brain. Dr. Pasinksi herself learned how to play the piano at the age of 40.
Dr. Pasinski recommends simple things, like going to www.dictionary.com and signing up to get the “word of the day” emailed to you, as an easy way to expand your vocabulary and brain. (Katie Couric does it and frequently shares them with her Twitter followers.)
In addition to opening yourself up to new experiences, Dr. Pasinksi says that staying connected to family, friends and neighbors is also important in keeping a sharp mind. People who have many social interactions with others have stronger cognitive functions as they age.
She also talks about the effect of positivity on a person. Thinking negative thoughts and socializing with negative people can have an influence on a person’s emotional and physical health. Studies show that being a “glass half-full” person, as opposed to a “glass half-empty” one, will keep you healthier and happier.
I liked what she said about “challenging old ideas.” Dr. Pasinski states that it is good to challenge our own long-held views. We shouldn’t spend time with only those who agree with our views on art, politics or parenting styles. Exposing our brains to different ways of thinking fires up new neural paths.
Keeping a file of interesting articles you’ve read and movies, books or events you’ve enjoyed not only expands your mind, but also gives you topics for discussion for a social event or date. You could even write a blog or journal with these topics.
Dr. Pasinksi says that you can take charge of your brain and body through minding your health.
Start by scheduling an appointment with your primary care physician. She gives a list of items to talk to doctor about, and how to find the best doctor for you.
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The section on “minding your body” has a lot of good information, from knowing the signs for a stroke and explaining what the numbers of a fasting lipid panel mean to the tests your doctor should be running on you.
Exercise and diet contribute not only to good body health, but to good brain health as well.
The book gives practical ideas to starting an exercise plan than you can live with, whether you are a novice or a triathlon participant like Dr. Pasinksi.
Knowing what to eat to maintain optimal health can be confusing, but the book lays out what the body needs, from the foods by color to the best produce to “go organic” with, to the types and amounts of protein a person should consume.
And remember when your mother told you to “stand up straight”? Dr. Pasinski explains why you should have listened to her and gives you exercises to help you maintain good posture, even if you ignored good ol’ mom growing up.
“Beautiful Brain Beautiful You” is a practical, helpful book that is easy to follow. Dr. Pasinski uses examples and references studies, and with Gould, presents the information in a way that keeps the reader interested.
Even using just a few of the tips will make your life better and more beautiful.
Dr. Pasinksi also has a wonderful website, www.MariePasinski.com, that has more information and helpful tips.
For more reviews, visit http://bookchickdi.blogspot.com.
Diane La Rue is a member of the National Book Critics Circle. Her lifelong goal is to read one book per week; she submits reviews monthly for The Citizen. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Book: “Beautiful Brain Beautiful You: A Seven Step Guide to a Better, Smarter, Younger You”
Authors: Dr. Marie Pasinski with Jodie Gould
Cost: $15.99, paperback
Length: 245 pages