Most of us are familiar with the concept of "use it, or lose it." It applies to muscles, and especially to our brains (e.g.
foreign languages, playing an instrument, chess, bridge or golf, etc.). According to Restak, modern technology both helps
and hinders the development and maintenance of short- and long-term memory. While the computer benefits us by retrieval and
storage of large amounts of information, the storage and rapid retrieval of information may exert a stunting effect on our
Restak provides 28 steps that any person can take to improve brainpower. For example, in step 19, he describes how to accept
uncertainty and ambiguity.
Veterinary students would especially profit from his suggestions because they find that most diseases described in textbooks
are prototype examples rarely observed by practicing veterinarians. In fact, just as no two patients are alike in health,
no two are alike in disease.
Here is a challenging puzzle in which you must embrace ambiguity, and think outside the box. How are the following objects
What do you think? First, do these five words share any features in spelling or pronunciation? Are there any objects with
which you could associate these objects? What parts do they have in common? What if we add:
(See #3 answer.)
Additional steps to improve the capacity of your brain recommended by Restak incude:
- Learn as much as possible about how your brain works.
- Apply the knowledge of the human brain to organize your ideas.
- Your capacity for learning remains and may increase as you grow older.
- Learn about your brain's motor programs and how to use them.
- Improve your memory by using a memory system.
- Train your powers of logic.
For those of you who want to maintain and even expand their cognitive ability, I highly recommend this book. The ISBN number
of Mozart's Brain and the Fighter Pilot is 0-609-604445-7. It was published in 2001 by Harmony Books, New York.