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Keep Sharp

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Keep Sharp

Build a Better Brain at Any Age

Simon & Schuster,

15 min read
10 take-aways
Text available

What's inside?

Take steps to sustain brain health and function to keep sharp as you age.

Editorial Rating



Many people fear losing mental acuity as they age. Yet dementia is not an inevitable consequence of aging. Synthesizing numerous scientific studies and providing real-life examples, neurosurgeon Sanjay Gupta describes in layperson’s terms how healthy brains function, how they deteriorate and what you can do to enhance your odds of staying sharp. It’s never too early to begin applying Gupta’s formula for brain health: Physical exercise plus mental exercise plus rest plus a healthy diet plus worthy relationships equals enhanced odds of maintaining sound brain function into your 70s, 80s and beyond.


Memory is a complex, critical function that helps improve brain health.

Certain factors can contribute to decreased brain function: lack of sleep, a sedentary lifestyle, poor health, brain injury, certain medications, isolation, limited education or intellectual stimulation, and old age. Yet, a decline in brain function is not inevitable. You can improve your brain health through specific activities. 

Memory, for example, creates a continuously changing, imperfect but improvable body of information. It requires that different parts of the brain work together, so improving memory means strengthening many aspects of the brain.

Building a memory involves encoding, storing and retrieving information.When encoding, the hippocampus creates new connections using information a person takes in through their senses and by paying attention.

In the storage stage, the hippocampus converts input into short-term memory, which holds about seven items. Connections to the cortex turn some short-term memories into long-term ones. 

In retrieval, a memory moves from the unconscious...

About the Author

Neurosurgeon Sanjay Gupta is a New York Times best-selling author and chief medical correspondent for CNN.

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