|Basic InformationLatest NewsLinksBook Reviews|10 Minute Solution: Butt Lift10 Minute Solution: High Intensity Interval Training101 Ways to Meditate29 Gifts3-In-1 Total Body Fitness with Desi Bartlett30 Minute Ab & Butt Blaster5 Day Fit Yoga5 Mega Miles with Toning Band7 Weeks to 100 Push-Ups8 Keys to Body Brain Balance8 Keys to Practicing MindfulnessA.M. EnergyAccessible Yoga for Every Body DVDAfter the Ecstasy, the LaundryAge-Proof Your MindAgeless Mobility: Pain-Free Wellness For LongevityAlmost MeatlessAM/PM YogaAnswers for AristotleAnywhere, Anytime, Any Body YogaAthlete's Guide to YogaAuthentic HappinessAwakening Self-EsteemBack in Action: Yoga for a Healthy BackBalanced AssetsBedroom Body: Booty Burner, Core & Pelvic Floor WorkoutBeginners Meditation & Mindful StretchingBeginners Yoga DVDBeginning YogaBellyFit ElementsBetter Sex Through YogaBody By BethennyBorn to Balance - Balance BasicsBreath-Centered YogaBreathingBuddhist Boot CampCalm Body Clear MindCalm EnergyCalm Focus JoyChakra MeditationsChoosing CivilityClassical Pilates Technique DVDComplementary and Alternative Therapies ResearchCore Fusion - Pilates PlusCore Fusion - Pure Abs & ArmsCore Fusion - Thighs & GlutesCore Fusion Body SculptCore Fusion Lean & TonedCore Fusion Power SculptCore Strength PilatesCore Strength Vinyasa Yoga Power Hour with Sadie NardiniCore YogaCreative Core AbsCreative Writing In Health And Social CareDance Off the Inches: Cardio Hip Hop PartyDance the Chakras Yoga WorkoutDeep Stretch / Yin YogaDetox YogaDr. Andrew Weil's Guide to Eating WellDr. Andrew Weil's Guide to Optimum HealthDr. Andrew Weil's Mindbody ToolkitEastern Body, Western MindEasy YogaElement: Barre ConditioningElement: Targeted Toning Pilates for BeginnersElement: Yoga for Stress Relief & FlexibilityElements of Yoga, Earth FoundationsElements of Yoga, Fire DynamicElements of Yoga: Air & WaterEmotional Chaos to ClarityEmotions, Stress, and HealthEvamarie Pilipuf's Yoga Express DVDEvery Day Yoga for Every Body DVDEveryday GreensEveryday Workout for the Everyday WomanEveryday Yoga for Stress Release Everything VeganExhale Core Fusion 30 Day SculptFamily YogaFast Food for the SoulFat and FuriousFear and Other Uninvited GuestsFit Family Fun CircuitFit in 5 DVDFlat Abs PilatesFlow and YinFlow YogaFluid Power Vinyasa Flow YogaFully PresentGaiam Pilates Slide and Sculpt Kit with DVDGaiam Pilates Total Toning KitGaiam Yoga For Weight Loss KitGet Ripped & ChiseledGood MedicineGoodbye, ThingsHandbook of MindfulnessHealing the Heart and Mind with MindfulnessHealing Through Movement: Pilates Head to ToeHealthy AgingHealthy Sexy Beautiful Kundalini YogaHemalayaa's Yoga for Young Bodies DVDHemalayaa: Bollywood BootyHot Body Cool Mind - Level 1Hot Body Cool Mind: Waking Energy How to Cook Everything VegetarianHow Would Buddha Act?I Contain MultitudesI'd Rather LaughIn Defense of FoodInsight Yoga Earth: Balancing Yin EnergyInsight Yoga Heaven: Balancing YangInsight Yoga with Sarah PowersIntegrated YogaIntegrative MedicineIntroduction to Ashtanga Yoga DVDIntroduction to Qi YogaIntroduction to Yoga DVDIt's Up to YouJanis Saffell Beverly Hills YogaKids Teach Yoga - Flying EagleKidYogi - Yoga for ChildrenKnowing the Nature of FearKripalu YogaKripalu Yoga Dynamic DVDKripalu Yoga Gentle DVDKundalini Yoga : DVDKundalini Yoga for Beginners & BeyondKUNDALINI YOGA for Your Week - MONDAYKUNDALINI YOGA for Your Week - TUESDAY - CoreKundalini Yoga Meditation for Beginners & BeyondKundalini Yoga Meditation for Complex Psychiatric DisordersKundalini Yoga on the BallKundalini Yoga Solar Power All-In-One WorkoutKundalini Yoga to Detox and Destress DVDKundalini Yoga Transformer All-In-One WorkoutKundalini Yoga: Green Energy of the HeartLife MakeoversLifeForce Yoga to Beat the Blues--Level 1LifeForce Yoga to Beat the Blues: Level 2Living BeautifullyLiving Room Yoga DVDLiving Room Yoga: Twist and BendLiving Your Best LifeLiving Your DreamLunar Flow YogaMadhur Jaffrey's World VegetarianMake It Fast, Cook It SlowManage Your Depression Through ExerciseMaui PilatesMayo Clinic Wellness Solutions for Back PainMayo Clinic Wellness Solutions for IBSMayo Clinic Wellness Solutions for InsomniaMean GenesMeditation in a New York MinuteMeditations for BeginnersMindful AmericaMindful AngerMindfulnessMindfulness for BeginnersMindfulness-Based Treatment Approaches: Clinician's Guide to Evidence Base and ApplicationsMisadventures of a Garden State YogiMozart's Brain and the Fighter PilotNamaste Yoga: Season 3 Part 1NeuroLogicNew York PilatesNext-Level PilatesNutrition Essentials for Mental HealthPassionate VegetarianPerfect in Ten AbsPerfect in Ten: PilatesPerfect in Ten: StretchPerfect in Ten: YogaPilates AnatomyPilates for BeginnersPilates for MenPositivityPower to the Peaceful YogaPower YogaPower YogaPower Yoga for HappinessPower Yoga: Core PowerPower Yoga: Fat BurnerPrenatal FlowPrescriptive StretchingPresence Through Movement: Yin YogaPsychology Moment by MomentPure and Simple YogaPure SculptPure Yoga Pilates with Kerry BestwickQi Gong Fire & Water With Matthew CohenQi Gong Flow for BeginnersQi Gong for Low Back PainQi Gong for Upper Back and Neck PainQi Gong for Weight LossQi Workout AM/PMQiGong for Healthy Joints & BonesQiGong IllustratedQuick Blast MethodReach - Upbeat Toning & Flexibility for a Dancer's BodyRed Lotus YogaResistance Stretching With Dara TorresRestorative Yoga PracticeSara Ivanhoe's Taste DVDSaving NormalSelf-CompassionSeven Challenges To Change Your Life DVDSleep BetterSolar Flow Yoga DVDSoupsSparkSpontaneous HappinessSports Hypnosis in PracticeStep By Step Strength TrainingStep by Step Tai ChiStrength & SpiritStrength, Grace, HealingStress ReliefStrong & SculptedStrong Body, Ageless BodySun SalutationsSuper Natural CookingSuper Seniors: Box, Balance, & Lift SupersurvivorsSurf Yoga SoulSybel's Yoga For Sports & FitnessSybel's Yoga For Sports & Fitness Vol 2Tai Chi for Beginners with Grandmaster William C. C. ChenTaming Your Inner BratTeach Yourself MeditationTeen YogaTeenYogi DVDTen Minutes to RelaxThe Accidental VeganThe Angelica Home KitchenThe Art and Science of MindfulnessThe Athlete's Guide to YogaThe Beginner's Guide to Healthy EatingThe Best Things You Can EatThe Booty Barre -Total New BodyThe Breathing FieldThe Cafe Brenda CookbookThe Complete Book of Raw FoodThe Complete Vegetarian HandbookThe Easy Yoga WorkbookThe Feeling Good HandbookThe Five Things We Cannot Change ...The Good LifeThe Happiness of PursuitThe Healing Remedies SourcebookThe Healing Remedies SourcebookThe Health Psychology HandbookThe Healthy KitchenThe Heart of YogaThe Indian VegetarianThe Jewel Tree of TibetThe Joy of MeditatingThe Kettlebell BoomerThe Little Book of Healthy TeasThe Little Soy BookThe Little Yoga BookThe Mood CureThe Mozart EffectThe Myth of Freedom and the Way of MeditationThe Perfect ExerciseThe Pilates Workout JournalThe Playful BrainThe Quest for Peace, Love, and a 24'' WaistThe Road to Calm WorkbookThe Spa DeckThe Spirit of Buddhist MeditationThe Stoic Art of LivingThe Ultimate BALLET YOGAThe Ultra MindsetThe Way of StretchingThe Weight of the NationThe Well-Tuned BrainThe Will to Live and Other MysteriesThe Yin Yoga KitThink SmartTotal AstangaTotal Health the Chinese WayTotal PilatesTotal-Body ToningTransform Yourself with Jivamukti YogaTransformative YogaTrudie Styler's Warrior YogaV-Core WorkoutVegan ExpressVegan for LifeVegetarian Turkish CookingViva Vegan!Walk It Off in 30 DaysWalk to the HITS Radio RemixesWalkingWalking a Literary LabyrinthWatch Me Do YogaWeight Loss Cardio KickWellbeingWhat We Say MattersWhen Things Fall ApartWriting in FlowYin and Yang YogaYin Yoga DVDYogaYogaYogaYoga & Pilates Workouts for DummiesYoga 4 TeensYoga : Beginners Flow for EveryoneYoga AnatomyYoga and PsychologyYoga as MedicineYoga Beauty BodyYoga Bliss HipsYoga Body : Lean & Defined Total Body WorkoutYoga By Teens DVDYoga Emergency DVD: Arms & ShouldersYoga Emergency DVD: BackYoga Emergency DVD: Full Leg StretchYoga Emergency DVD: HipsYoga Flow DVDYoga for AnxietyYoga for Back CareYoga for BeginnersYoga for Energy & Stress ReliefYoga for EveryoneYoga for MeditatorsYoga for OsteoporosisYoga for Pain ReliefYoga for Regular GuysYoga for Strength & EnergyYoga for Strength & FlexibilityYoga for the Young at HeartYoga for Your WeekYoga In BedYoga in BedYoga Inside Out: Go DeeperYoga Inside Out: The Healing WayYoga Journal's Yoga for StressYoga Journal: Yoga for Strength and Toning DVDYoga Link: Core IntegrationYoga Link: Hip HelpersYoga Link: Shoulder Shape-UpYoga Nidra for Complete Relaxation and Stress ReliefYoga on DemandYoga Quick FixesYoga SanctuaryYoga SculptYoga ShaktiYoga TherapyYoga Therapy for Back PainYoga Therapy Prescriptions - 60 Health Restorative SequencesYoga To Go's Yoga Quick Fixes DVDYoga to the Rescue - Feel Good from Head to ToeYoga to the Rescue for Back PainYoga to the Rescue for Neck & ShouldersYoga to the Rescue for Pain-Free Back, Neck & ShouldersYoga Weight Loss for DummiesYoga: Freedom from Back PainYoga: Relief from Neck and Shoulder PainYoga: Spirit of Vinyasa FlowYogabodyYogawomanYou Can Think Yourself ThinYou'll See It When You Believe ItYour Body Breakthru - Your Best Body Circuit DVDYour Brain on FoodYour Brain on Food: How Chemicals Control Your Thoughts and Feelings,Your Miracle BrainZen Encounters with Loneliness
by Gary L. Wenk
Oxford University Press, 2014
Review by Leo Uzych, J.D., M.P.H. on Apr 21st 2015
Your Brain on Food is a book about the brain, drugs, and foods. The author, Gary L. Wenk, is a Professor, at the Ohio State University and Medical Center. In a "Preface", Wenk states forthrightly that the major point he wants to make in the book is that anything a person consumes (including drugs and foods) may affect the behavior of neurons, and, subsequently, how a person thinks and feels. Wenk further states clearly, in the Preface, that the book is intended not as an exhaustive review of everything known about the topic of food and drugs and the brain, but as a brief introduction to it.
The substance of the book, from start to finish, is notable especially for the instructively informative nature of the discourse presented expertly by Wenk, relating, substantively, to the brain, drugs, and foods.
There is a "Suggested Readings" section, placed structurally after the book's last chapter, providing citations, alphabetized by author last name, for some substantively germane reading materials.
Some readers, it may be said, may be disappointed by the lack of research referencing of the text's body.
Additionally, there may be concern, critically, that intellectual artist Wenk, although plainly highly adept, nonetheless paints the scientific intricacies of substantive interest with a relatively broad brush.
But overall, the book as composed, substantively and stylistically, is certainly tailored well to fit a universal reading audience.
The text's body is adorned, intellectually, with some didactically very well designed "Figures".
Some quotes, drawn from eclectic sources, populate the textual body.
Here and there, snippets of anecdotal data, culled from some of Wenk's students, are inserted germanely into the body of the text.
As Chapter 1 begins, readers are alerted that the book will explore various drugs as well as a range of foods which, psychoactively, may affect the brain and behavior. The shared evolutionary history of humans and plants garners Wenk's attention; and likewise, the evolution of the gut-brain relationship attracts the attention of Wenk.
Wenk teaches that the brain craves chemicals it "thinks" it needs to function normally. To facilitate better understanding of how foods and drugs affect the brain, Wenk identifies several categories: one category being composed of chemicals (for example, coffee, sugar, and heroin) consumed in high doses with acute dosing; a second category comprised of foods (including various amino acids and high glycemic index carbohydrates) that affect the brain slowly; and a third including slow-acting, lifetime dosing nutrients (such as antioxidant-rich foods and anti-inflammatory plants and drugs).
In Chapter 2, an expansive array of topics are placed under the lens of Wenk's intellectually powerful microscope. Particularly, the intellectual eye of Wenk revealingly sights: the metabolic syndrome; blood pH; sugar; omega-3 fatty acids; obesity; endorphins; endocannabinoids; eosinophils; Toxoplasma gondii; caloric restriction; oxygen-free radicals; polyphenols; cinnamon; and chocolate.
Particular drugs or diseases that affect the function of acetylcholine neurons, as Wenk discourses at the start of Chapter 3, may potentially affect brain and bodily functions. Inside this frame, Wenk looks closely at: Alzheimer's disease; choline; botulinum toxin; curare; atropine; scopolamine; voodoo; arecoline; muscarine; and nicotine (described by Wenk as the most addictive drug used currently by humans).
Wenk teaches the basic neuroscience of dopamine and norepinephrine, in Chapter 4. Tentacles of discerning discourse reach to: amphetamine; ecstasy; ephedrine; khat; mescaline; nutmeg; cocaine; and psychosis.
Hallucinogens garner the rapt attention of Wenk, in Chapter 5. LSD, psilocybin, and bufotenine fall within the ken, of Wenk. The area of serotonin and religiosity is also spotted by Wenk.
Marijuana centric discourse forms the substantive cynosure, of Chapter 6. Wenk traces some of the historical lineaments of cannabis. The discourse ranges farther afield to endocannabinoids. And there is didactic comment about marijuana in the context of treating migraines, and also with regard to the treatment of psychic pain.
In Chapter 7, readers learn that glutamate is the principal excitatory amino acid neurotransmitter; and that GABA is the principal inhibitory amino acid neurotransmitter. As the chapter unfolds, Wenk substantively adds much flesh to the bones of glutamate and GABA. The intellectually bright flashlight of Wenk also brightly illumines alcohol, barbiturates, and benzodiazepines.
Neuropeptides are on centerstage, as Chapter 8 commences. As the chapter progresses, Wenk studies the area of opiates, specifically sighting laudanum, morphine, codeine, and heroin.
The neurotransmitter adenosine rises to the fore, of penultimate Chapter 9. Caffeinated coffee, described by Wenk as an adenosine receptor antagonist, collects considerable expert comment. The discussion further encompasses decaffeinated coffee as well as tea.
Finally, in concluding Chapter 10, Wenk gamely tackles the area of brain enhancement. In the critically blunt judgment of Wenk, no treatments are available currently that can reverse normal aging; it is impossible, in Wenk's view, to enhance the function of a normal brain, as it ages. Wenk further opines, critically, that, concerning clinical trials pertaining to plant extracts, there is a lack of research unanimity, because of various methodological problems. Concerning multivitamin-mineral daily supplements, Wenk teaches that numerous studies have found little or no long lasting benefits from taking them. However, concerning the placebo effect, the conclusion of Wenk is that the placebo effect is real, although it is not understood entirely how it works.
The body of clinical and medical research findings, relevant to the brain, drugs, and foods, continues to grow.
Wenk's intellectually impressive contribution to this burgeoning field, as embodied in this book, should be quite edifying to lay readers, and professionally very rewarding, as well, to medical scientists and clinicians.
© 2015 Leo Uzych
Leo Uzych (based in Wallingford, PA) earned a law degree, from Temple University; and a master of public health degree, from Columbia University. His area of special professional interest is healthcare. Twitter @LeoUzych