Food is information. What does that mean? Well we look at our food in terms of the macronutrients of fat, protein, and carbohydrates and the micronutrients like minerals and vitamins. But understand that the very foods that you choose to eat are changing the expression of your DNA.
Schizophrenia is a disabling brain disorder affecting over 1% of the American population. There does seem to be some significant genetic component to this disease in that people having a primary relative with the disease, like a parent or sibling, have a ten-fold risk for developing the affliction.
In Grain Brain, I discussed the new research that relates gluten sensitivity to schizophrenia, as well as so many other brain disorders. As you are all aware, the fundamentals of the Grain Brain Lifestyle are centered on a dietary plan that is dramatically low in carbs, gluten-free, and high in healthy fats.
In this interesting case report and literature review, researchers at Duke University specifically validate this exact dietary approach in terms of actually having significant clinical benefit in the treatment of schizophrenia, leading to what the authors describe as “modulation of the disease at the cellular level.”
In the day and age of drugs for every ailment, it is so validating to see our most well-respected medical institutions beginning to embrace the important role of nutrition in health and disease.
Everyone is familiar with inflammation. When a joint is inflamed with arthritis, it swells, gets red, becomes painful, and becomes less functional. Inflammation may also occur in areas that are less obvious such as in the coronary arteries. In fact, inflammation as a process is a cornerstone mechanism for the narrowing of the coronary arteries that typifies coronary artery disease. Inflammation is also a big player as relates to the disability that stems from diabetes, And there’s even a strong correlation between inflammation as a mechanism, and cancer.
The past several books that I have published have focused on the important role of inflammation as relates to the brain. Making the connection, for example, between inflammation and a disease like multiple sclerosis, it certainly something many people don’t have much of a problem understanding, since anti-inflammatory drugs are often used to treat this disorder. On the other hand, it seems a bit more of a stretch to connect the process of inflammation with such diseases as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. And yet, this process, inflammation, is a cornerstone mechanism related to progressive destruction that occurs in the brain as we age, as well as Alzheimer’s disease.
Years of data now clearly demonstrate connections between obesity and increased risk for cancer. However, a new study published in the well-respected medical journal, The Lancet, is one of the first to examine this risk on a large scale. With over 5 million participants, the actual data is even more potent.
This study focused on development of 22 different types of cancers and the change in frequency of cancer diagnosis with obesity, measured by way of increased body mass index (BMI). Researchers started with over 5 million participants without a cancer diagnosis, then looked at the BMI in those who developed cancer. Ten of the types of cancers showed up significantly more in those with higher BMI’s, with leukemia and uterine cancer, gallbladder, kidney, cervical and thyroid cancers increasing in direct proportion to increases in BMI. Of note, 2 types of cancers (prostate and premenopausal breast) showed up less with increased BMI. Continue reading
Years ago, if someone would have suggested that I would someday write a cookbook, I would have scoffed at the notion. After all, my training in neurology focused on identifying diseases and utilizing pharmaceutical interventions in hopes of improving a patient’s health.
In fact, in my early years of practicing neurology, this is pretty much what I did. Nevertheless, I always found myself to be a little bit out of step with my peers in terms of how we approached patient care. Ultimately, I became extremely frustrated by this somewhat myopic approach, focusing almost exclusively on treating symptoms, while the cause of various diseases we were trying to treat remained off-limits to discussion, and even exploration.
The brain remained the last bastion of the dogma that lifestyle issues don’t matter when it comes to health. Over the past several decades the idea of a “heart smart diet” became very mainstream. Women were told to eat calcium rich foods as a way to stave off osteoporosis. But until very recently, brain health and brain diseases were not included in the lifestyle conversation. Continue reading
We are hearing more and more about Parkinson’s disease, Especially lately after the death of Robin Williams. It has been estimated that as many as 1 million Americans now carry this diagnosis, And to put it into perspective, this is a number that is larger than the combined number of people suffering from multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy, and ALS.
An incredible 60,000 Americans are diagnosed with Parkinson’s each year, and it is a disease for which there is no meaningful treatment. Certainly, there are medications that are used fairly effectively to reduce the symptoms of this disease, like tremor and rigidity. But again, as stated, there is no meaningful treatment available now or in the foreseeable future.
Having said that, it makes very good sense therefore, to explore the notion of prevention as it relates to Parkinson’s disease. It is in this context that we take a look at a recent publication in the journal, Diabetes Care. In this report, 1565 Parkinson’s patients were evaluated and it was determined that the risk of developing Parkinson’s disease was an astounding 40% higher among diabetic patients compared to those without diabetes.