Book Recommendations

Here you’ll find editorial book reviews for brain health books along with my personal take on the book just below.

Healing ADD: The Breakthrough Program That Allows You to See and Heal the 6 Types of ADD by Daniel G. Amen

Hard, visual data make a compelling case for the existence of attention deficit disorder (ADD) in this pioneering work by Daniel G. Amen, M.D. Using a nuclear medicine technique called “single photon emission computed tomography” (SPECT)–a controversial step, according to some of his peers–Dr. Amen scans patients’ brains to identify various abnormalities. From more than 8,000 such studies and more than 12,000 patient evaluations, Dr. Amen concludes that six–not the formerly presumed two–different types of ADD exist. This book encompasses the full spectrum of Dr. Amen’s work: from symptom identification to clinical evaluation, to diet and medication recommendations, to everyday strategies for living with ADD (whether the reader is a parent of an ADD child, or has been diagnosed with the disease.)

No stranger to the skepticism surrounding this topic, Dr. Amen begins with a list of dead-on myths (including “ADD is overdiagnosed”) and surprising facts (“Many people with ADD are never hyperactive”). From this intriguing beginning flows a highly readable chapter on the signs and manifestations of ADD in all ages. Dr. Amen’s full description of SPECT imaging includes multiple brain scan photos that nicely support his theories. But the most satisfying element of this well-researched presentation occurs in the final half of the book; here, Amen thoroughly explores the biological (diet, exercise, medication), psychological (from personal coaching to psychotherapy), and social support (parenting and school strategies) needed to heal each type of ADD. This book will prove a valuable tool for parents, adult sufferers, and medical professionals seeking practical support for managing this increasingly recognized condition.

This book offers conventional as well as natural solutions to the different types of ADD.  I use this book for myself and my family.  I really found this book to be most helpful in regards to reasons WHY AD(H)D occurs and SOLUTIONS for AD(H)D.  These solutions cover pharmaceutical and natural remedies, alternative treatments and behavioral modifications.  I recommend this book for anyone wanting more info on ADD.  Dr. Amen also has a great ADD Type quiz on his website.  See our ADD Resource page for the link.

Getting Rid of Ritalin by Hill & Castro

Ritalin is not always effective, it often has side effects and it does nothing to treat the cause of attention deficit disorder (ADD). Yet four million children take Ritalin to control ADD or hyperactivity. There’s a better alternative, called neurofeedback, which the authors, a psychiatrist and a psychologist, have found effective for up to 80% of the hundreds of clients they have treated. Neurofeedback is a scientifically proven form of brainwave biofeedback that teaches patients how to overcome the slow brain wave activity that is at the core of ADD. Neurofeedback teaches the brain how to increase and maintain its speed permanently. Thus, it corrects the problem rather than treating symptoms. In addition, it is quick, noninvasive, and cost-effective. Getting rid of Ritalin gives you all you need to know about the subject, including the role of nutrition, the need to eliminate toxic substances, the health effects of too much television, and the need for sensitive parenting. It even includes a list of neurofeedback practitioners around the country. Neurofeedback: It works better, it is safer, and it corrects the problem.

Neurofeedback is only a small section of this book. I LOVED the non drug options listed.  I enjoyed the discussion on the “low-arousal hypothesis” in the chapter on what causes ADD. The authors address forms of ADD both with and without the hyperactivity component. The chapters on nutrition and toxins were comprehensive.  The chapter on television and video games was significant as well, specifically documenting “the old wives tale that TV rots your brain” has been officially proven.

The Healing Power of Neurofeedback by Steven Larsen

Provides an alternative to the more invasive therapies of electroshock and drugs.  Shows how this therapy helps ameliorate anxiety and depression as well as childhood developmental disorders.  Includes extraordinary case histories that reveal the powerful results achieved This book explores a much less invasive but highly effective technique of restoring brain function: the Low Energy Neurofeedback System (LENS). Developed by Dr. Len Ochs in 1992, it has had extraordinary results using weak electromagnetic fields to stimulate brain-wave activity and restore brain flexibility and function. The treatment works across a broad spectrum of human activity, increasing the brain’s abilities to adapt to the imbalances caused by physical trauma or emotional disorders—both on the basic level and in the more subtle areas of cognitive, affective, and spiritual processes that make us truly human. While the treatment has had remarkable results with individuals who have experienced severe physical trauma to the head and brain, Stephen Larsen sees it also as an important alternative to chemical approaches for such chronic behavioral disorders as ADHD and monopolar and bipolar depression.

This book had wonderfully detailed explanations of different conditions that can benefit from Neurofeedback. The case studies were detailed but not drawn out.  I found the assessments in the book to be extremely telling.  The sections on which foods / chemicals to avoid led me to another booking this list of reviews, Why is Your Child Hyperactive?  I thoroughly enjoyed the section on Traumatic Brain Injury, where I learned out that even a strong jolt without a bump on the head can cause damage.

Why Your Child is Hyperactive by Ben Feingold

Contains detailed information by the doctor who first reported that hyperactivity in children is often caused by artificial food coloring and food flavoring. Includes the Feingold diet and how it should be applied.

After reading this book I finally understood how one tiny mint Tic Tac could set off my child.  The research in this book is decades old but incredibly valuable in today’s supermarket. I loved the KP diet offered along with the option of adding certain culprits back in over time.  The recipes make adhering to the diet easy to achieve.  This is a great book alone or a great segue way into reading a few other books on our Health Book Recommendation & Review list: Salt Sugar Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us, The Crazy Makers, Brain Allergies

Healing Young Brains: The Neurofeedback Solution by Robert Walter Hill, Eduardo Castro.

Neurofeedback is a scientifically proven form of brainwave feedback that trains the child’s brain to overcome slow brainwave activity, and increase and maintain its speed permanently. Neurofeedback is quick, noninvasive and cost effective. In fact, 80 percent of the time, neurofeedback is effective without any of the side effects associated with drugs commonly used to such childhood disorders as autism, ADHD, dyslexia, sleep disorders, and emotional problems.

Healing young Brains examines each disorder separately and explains in easy to understand terms: the manifestation of the disorder, the diagnosis, and the rationale for treating the disorder with brainwave training.  Healing Young Brains is a great guide for parents as it contains all they need to know about treating their children with neurofeedback as an alternative to drugs.

Non-Drug Treatments for ADHD by Brown & Gerbarg

Information on alternatives to medications in the treatment of ADD/ADHD. There is something in here for everyone, from the conscientious parent to the well-established practicing psychiatrist. The resources section alone is worth the price of this book.  The authors delve deeper into the core dysfunctions of ADD/ADHD than you’d find in a standard ADD/ADHD treatment plan. The information supplied is well-researched and science-based. Early chapters provide information about diagnostic issues and the scientific foundation for understanding the known causes of ADHD, as well as how different treatments may work and why. Multiple contributing causes of ADHD exist—genetic, nutritional, chemical, psychological, trauma-based, and environmental—and the authors explain how treatments need to be strategically combined and tailored to the patients’ unique needs and sensitivities. Later chapters present integrative strategies that combine the best practices of psychological treatments with herbs, nutrients, cognitive enhancers, mind–body practices, and brain stimulation.  A comprehensive resources section at the end of the book features a compilation of need-to-know websites, journals, books, and supplement brands with dosing recommendations. Psychiatrists, psychologists, and other therapists are equipped with access to the very latest research in both conventional and complementary and alternative approaches.

This book does a wonderful job explaining the different faces of ADD/ADHD along with laying out the uses of drugs vs more natural approaches. I particularly liked the section of how the simple action of conscious breathing can affect our minds instantly.  The authors note that the problem today, particularly for people with ADHD and similar diagnoses, is that the autonomic system is often out of balance.  They go on to explain that the autonomic nervous system has two main counterbalancing branches, the sympathetic and the parasympathetic. The sympathetic system drives the stress response. Once the threat is gone, the parasympathetic system soothes the mind and recharges the body.   Brown & Gerbarg go on to explain that act of slow breathing stimulates the vagus nerves, the main pathways of the soothing, healing, recharging (parasympathetic) part of the nervous system.  I love when books give you something you can implement immediately.

Limitless You, The Infinite Possibilities of a Balanced Brain by Lee Gerdes

Thanks to advances in neuroplasticity, we now know that the brain can require its own network and thereby optimize its capabilities. Capitalizing on these advances, brain training invites the brain to become more in tune with itself.  Limitless You explains this process, the many benefits of a balanced brain, and Brain State Technologies’ approach to brain training.

I found Limitless You to be quite informative. It puts in to plain words how our brains respond to life’s challenges, and particularly explains why and how symptoms (i.e. anger, sorrow, obsession) can ‘take front stage’ in our lives due to brain patterns. The analogies and client accounts made the subject matter very understandable.If you have ever wondered why people do the things that they do, especially when they know it is not a good idea, it will all become quite clear.  Understanding why allows us to remain compassionate and be forgiving. The book goes on to explain how neurofeedback training guides the brain to self balance as new neural pathways are created around a state of brain balance and harmony. Whether a person is dealing with severe head/brain trauma, mental/emotional abuse, addiction, or simply looking for optimal life performance, the proof is in the pudding and this book shows us how it is possible.

A Symphony in the Brain by Jim Robbins

In the decade since Jim Robbins’s A Symphony in the Brain was first published, the control of our bodies, brains, and minds has taken remarkable leaps. From neurofeedback with functional magnetic resonance imaging equipment, to the use of radio waves, to biofeedback of the heart and breath, and coverage of biofeedback by health insurance plans, the numerous advances have driven the need for a revised edition to this groundbreaking book that traces the fascinating, untold story of the development of biofeedback.

Discovered by a small corps of research scientists, this alternative treatment allows a patient to see real-time measurements of their bodily processes. Its advocates claim biofeedback can treat epilepsy, autism, attention deficit disorder, addictions, and depression with no drugs or side effects; bring patients out of vegetative states, even improve golf scores or an opera singer’s voice. But biofeedback has faced battles for acceptance in the conservative medical world despite positive signs that it could revolutionize the way an incredibly diverse range of medical and psychological problems are treated. Offering a wealth of powerful case studies, accessible scientific explanations, and dramatic personal accounts, Robbins remarkable history develops our understanding of this important field.

This book does a great job describing the startling technology of brain wave training, its history of how this technology developed. It goes on to catalog the many areas of application, such as ADD/ADHD, learning disabilities, epilepsy, head injuries, chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia, addictions, sleep disorders, stroke rehabilitation, and even assisting patients to come out of coma.  The book goes on about the potential to develop extended human capacities; for optimizing our brain functioning, accessing creativity and deep meditative states, and attaining new levels of mental and physical health.  This book left me enthusiastic at the possibilities this fascinating technology creates for changing brain dysfunctions and dramatically changing people’s lives. It includes a directory of web sites for learning more, obtaining detailed references to the scientific literature, and identifying qualified referral sources.

Brain Allergies: The Psychonutrient and Magnetic Connections by Willam Philpott, Dwight Kalita and Linus Pauling

Brain Allergies explores links between environmental substances (foods and chemicals), infections, and nutritional deficiencies and inflammation of the brain and behavioral dysfunction. This fully updated second edition includes information on the healing powers of vitamin C, amino-acid therapies for degenerative diseases, nutrition and autism, and how “supernutrition” may prevent brain disease.

Most of us relate allergies to hives or sneezing but not AD(H)D or suicidal tendencies.  Even sensitivities that do not show up on IgG tests can result in behavior disorders, learning disabilities and even serious mental health issues. This book has some case studies that absolutely shocked me but when I continued reading the explanations, they made perfect sense.  Thanks to this book I got my daughter checked for allergies / sensitivities.  Once uncovered, she went from almost being expelled from school to a model student within 2.5 months.  Her teachers were shocked how eliminating a few things could make such a difference.  With all the elements (foods, medicines, airborne & water borne chemicals) that we are exposed to in today’s world, this book is a must read.

Excitotoxins: The Taste That Kills by Russell L. Blaylock

Ex-ci’-to-tox-in: a substance added to foods and beverages that literally stimulates neurons to death, causing brain damage of varying degrees. Can be found in such ingredients as monosodium glutamate, aspartame (NutraSweet®), cysteine, hydrolyzed protein, and aspartic acid.

Citing over five hundred scientific studies, Excitotoxins explores the dangers of aspartame, MSG, and other substances added to our food. This is an electrifying and important book that should be available to every American consumer.

This book is written by a doctor and the first third of the book is very technical. Once you get through it (you could even skip over it) the information is definitely worth the read. It goes into detail how the brain functions and develops which you don’t necessarily need to know in order to benefit from all of the other information on how through our diet we are damaging ourselves. After all, we are responsible for our own health and what we put into our bodies.  Dr. Blaylock does a wonderful job of presenting the facts. He’s brilliant and covers this topic very well. In fact, he cited 493 resources, which include plenty of legitimate sources.