REVIEW: Your Brain, Explained by Marc Dingman
Sleep. Memory. Pleasure. Fear. Language. We experience these things every day, but how do our brains create them?
Your Brain, Explained is a personal tour around your gray matter. Neuroscientist Marc Dingman gives you a crash course in how your brain works and explains the latest research on the brain functions that affect you on a daily basis.
You’ll also discover what happens when the brain doesn’t work the way it should, causing problems such as insomnia, ADHD, depression, or addiction. You’ll learn how neuroscience is working to fix these problems, and how you can build up your defenses against the most common faults of the mind.
Along the way you’ll find out:
· Why brain training games don’t prevent dementia
· What it’s like to remember every day of your life as if it were yesterday
· Which popular psychiatric drug was created from German rocket fuel
· How you might unknowingly be sabotaging your sleep
Drawing on the author’s popular YouTube series, 2-minute Neuroscience, this is a friendly, engaging introduction to the human brain and its quirks from the perspective of a neuroscientist–using real-life examples and the author’s own eye-opening illustrations. Your brain is yours to discover!
Dear Dr. Dingman,
I know a bit about the functions and anatomy of the human brain from watching PBS documentaries but after reading this book, a lot of things made much more sense to me. There were actually several “aha!” moments as I read your concise explanations about our ‘little gray cells.”
For all that it’s considered the main thing that has allowed humans to rise above all other animals and basically take over – much to the modern detriment of the planet – we actually know precious little about how the brain works. Our brains can do amazing things (like “fill in” the missing bits of visual information we can’t see due to the lack of rods or cones in a certain section of our retina – honestly, try the visual experiment included in the book) and lots of what it can easily do must have helped us survive out on the Savannah eons ago. But much of how it does what it does is still being revealed.
Some of the fantastic things the brain does that we rely on to survive (fear, memory, sleep, language, sadness, pain, pleasure, movement, vision) and – frankly – take for granted are divided into chapters and then clearly discussed often using examples of famous patients whose experiences have allowed doctors and scientists to discover how things can all go horribly wrong. Long held beliefs are being shown to need further clarification and researchers are realizing the brain has many tricks and mysteries up its sleeves – so to speak. There’s what we know, what we know we don’t know, and the unknown unknown.
I think you managed to avoid presenting the information in either too technical terms or conversely dumbing things down. It’s complex stuff, sure, but written with elegant simplicity and some nifty diagrams. You’ve made this informative and – better still – fun. It’s also timely in many ways as chapters are linked to current medical issues confounding us – memory with Alzheimer’s, pleasure with the opioid addiction, movement with Parkinson’s, and why not feeling either pain or fear can be bad things for humans. Knowledge will increase or be changed as we learn more about this fantastic organ we rely so heavily on but this is a darn good introduction to begin understanding what we know today. B
Want to know more? Check out Dr. Dingman’s “2 minute neuroscience” episodes on youtube.