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Book Review: Brain Wash

Detox Your Mind for Clearer Thinking, Deeper Relationships, and Lasting Happiness

by David Perlmutter, MD, and Austin Perlmutter, MDLITTLE, BROWN SPARK
reviewed by Andrea Perkins
Practice
Brain Wash book cover

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Why does our unprecedented and unlimited access to everything we believe we need not make us happy? Why, during an era of instant global connectivity, do we feel so isolated?

Anxiety and depression, argue Austin and David Perlmutter (author of Grain Brain), are the result of near-constant interaction with instant-gratification technologies that are manipulating and probably even physically altering our brains.

What sets this book apart from many like it is a reliance on data-backed statistics from clinical

studies of all kinds. Guess how many selfies the average millennial may take over a lifetime? 25,700. (Millennials also show lower empathy levels than previous generations.) Guess how much of your lifetime, assuming you’re an average American, you will spend looking at a screen? 22 years.

Internet addiction affects a quarter of a billion people, or close to five times the population of England, but high-tech hijacking isn’t the only culprit. The foods we’ve been programmed to crave influence behavior and control gene expression, and you can’t readily get to the bottom of disconnection syndrome without discussing our increasing separation from the natural world, which the Perlmutters do.

It’s refreshing to find Western medical perspectives that acknowledge the impact our relationships to nature, technology, and each other have on our health. David, a neurologist and Fellow of the American College of Nutrition, has won numerous awards for advancements he’s made in his fields. His son Austin is an expert on the effects of burnout, depression, preventive care, and chronic disease management. Their science-based practical lifestyle interventions for detoxing the brain do foster clearer thinking, deeper relationships, and healthier habits. I know because I tried some of them. The book ends with a 10-day program that includes a meal plan with 40 recipes.


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