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6 Compelling Books by a Neuroscientist

By Pam Lamp June 17, 2021 Lifestyle

Still Alice, published in 2007, was a tough book for me to read. My dear mother-in-law suffered from Alzheimer’s, and the novel hit way too close to home. As I muddled through the touching story, a combination of neurological facts and heartbreaking family dynamics, I could barely keep a dry eye.

Since then, I’ve read every single book, all bestsellers, by Dr. Lisa Genova. As she combines meticulous research with heartfelt stories and beloved characters, the Harvard-educated neuroscientist introduces us to brain disorders most of us know nothing about.

I hope you enjoy these recommendations (all by the same author) – and learn a few things along the way…


After racing through this latest release – non-fiction – I feel better about all those details I can’t remember!

According to Dr. Genova, like our bodies, our memories age. They don’t work as well as they did when we were 30. And our processing speed slows down.

But… I can’t remember the reason I walked into the bedroom? Can’t find my phone or keys? Cannot remember the name of the person I met five minutes ago? This is normal. I am normal. These irritating events do not indicate the beginning of Alzheimer’s.

In her engaging style, Dr. Genova dives into how memories are made and offers interesting factoids as to why we aren’t designed to remember all the tiny details. And – thank goodness – checklists and notes and visual cues are fine to use to prod our memories.

Although no magic pill exists, Dr. Genova outlines steps we can take to improve our memories and enhance brain health. Nothing shocking or new here but, coming from this expert, I may embrace the practices more. 

Still Alice

A 50-year-old Harvard professor, mother of three children, and devoted wife, Alice has a lot of life left to live. When she forgets routine words and loses her way home on a run, worry and fear set in. At 50, Alice learns she has early-onset Alzheimer’s.

Dr. Genova was in her 20s when her grandmother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. Witnessing her bouts of disorientation and frustration, Dr. Genova wondered what ran through her grandmother’s mind. Did she understand any of what she was going through?

Written from the perspective of the person afflicted with this horrid disease, Still Alice shows readers how Alice feels as her memory slips away. Julianne Moore won the Best Actress Oscar for the film version of this novel. I recommend the book and the movie.

Every Note Played

Also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, ALS is a progressive disease of the nervous system. Because it causes loss of muscle control, eventually the stricken individual cannot move his/her limbs, speak, eat, or breathe. Sadly, no cure exists. 

For Richard, a world-famous concert pianist, the disease begins in his hands. As he becomes increasingly paralyzed and can’t live on his own, his ex-wife cares for him. 

A heartfelt story of how the former couple copes with, and understands, their past.

Left Neglected

If this book doesn’t make you ignore your phone pings while driving, I don’t know what will…

Sarah, a multi-tasking mom and high-powered career woman, glances at her phone for just a second. And that’s all it took. 

Because I’d not heard of Left Neglect Syndrome, this may be my favorite in Lisa Genova’s book series. After an injury of this sort, an individual’s brain does not recognize one complete side of the body. With Left Neglect, Sarah did not see the left side of her face in the mirror. She didn’t realize she had a left arm or hand. She doesn’t eat the food on the left side of her plate.

The left side of her body, and everything else, does not exist.

Love Anthony

Last year, almost 1 in 50 children in the United States were diagnosed with autism. We all know families touched by the autism spectrum disorder and its tendency to severely limit social skills, relationships, speech, and communication.

In this moving novel, readers meet Anthony, a non-verbal little boy with autism. As his young mother comes to terms with his diagnosis, she faces an even tougher challenge.

A gripping novel of unconditional love. 

Inside the O’Briens

Joe is a 43-year-old Massachusetts police officer when he starts to worry. He’s increasingly confused, angry, and his body moves when he doesn’t want it to.

Huntington’s Disease is a rare neurodegenerative disease with no treatment or cure. As the disorder progresses, an individual will suffer physical, mental, and behavioral decline. And each of Joe’s four children has a 50 percent chance of inheriting this from their father. 

Would you want to know, before the disease manifests, if you carry the defective gene? 

Have you read any of Lisa Genova’s books? Are you familiar with these diseases? What do you do to keep your memory as healthy as possible?

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The Author

It’s never too late to learn something new. At Who I Met Today – a blog and podcast – Pam Lamp interviews people from all walks of life. Through conversations about health, hobbies, books, food, and travel, she invites you to join her, explore new territory, and expand your horizons.

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