In the past, I have written several blogs discussing the relationship of body measurements like body mass index (BMI) to cognitive function, as well as relationships between what is called the waist-to-hip ratio with atrophy of the brain. Another important relationship that we have explored extensively in the past is the connection between excess body fat and inflammation.
So, one might wonder if the mechanism whereby obesity relates to declining cognitive function, like worsening memory, may be mediated by inflammation. Basically, the question I am asking has to do with connecting these dots. Continue reading
When we were children, we were told that “please” and “thank you” were “magic words.” Indeed, they are. These days it seems like there is a palpable decline in what used to be common activity as it relates to socially appropriate behavior. And now, more than ever, expressing gratitude can go a long way towards helping someone feel happier.
There is actually science that clearly supports both how we as a culture tend to undervalue the importance of demonstrating gratitude as well as how it positively affects the recipient. And that is unfortunate because we know that the expression of gratitude improves the well-being of both the expresser as well as the recipient. So, if expressions of gratitude are such powerful tonics, why don’t we do more of them? Continue reading
It’s quite likely that very few people wouldn’t want to do everything they could to preserve the integrity and functionality of their brains. As it turns out, we, each and every one of us, have a lot to say about how our brains change over time.
We certainly don’t need to be reminded that persistent head trauma can pave the way for brain degeneration as we have seen with professional football players and others involved in contact sports. Further, there has been a lot written about the value of exercise in terms of a brain preservation program. Sleep, both its duration as well as its quality, has also gotten some of the spotlight as of late as we have begun to recognize how, during deep sleep, our brains are actually quite active in terms of ridding themselves of potentially damaging accumulations of various types of chemicals and debris. Continue reading
One of the questions on everyone’s minds has to do with why some people have such a tough time with this COVID-19 infection. Yes, we know that the elderly and people with underlying medical conditions are more likely to have serious complications, but we certainly see plenty of seemingly healthy individuals with significant issues as well. Continue reading
In our current times, it has become clear to Austin and I that the subjects at the core of Brain Wash are not only more important than ever before, but truly critical to our ability to move forward in this “new normal.” In light of that, we’re adding a new Author’s Note to the beginning of Brain Wash, which will be available immediately in the digital edition, and in future printings of paper editions. I’m also publishing this note below, so that those of you who already have a copy of the book can have access to this update as well. Enjoy.
A Letter From the Authors
The first edition of this book was published in the United States just days before a new and deadly coronavirus swept the globe. The collective anxiety, panic, and stress that descended on society—on top of what people were already shouldering—has only made our message all the more relevant, potent, and needed today. It is a message that focuses on distancing ourselves from fear, enhancing our ability to make good decisions, finding stability in our thought patterns and actions, engaging in behaviors that build physical and mental resiliency, and recognizing the healing power of empathy. As we describe in Brain Wash, when we come from a place of empathy, everyone wins.
While there has been so much attention as of late focused on infectious diseases, there is another epidemic that may have even wider implications—type 2 diabetes. In and of itself, diabetes is a significant life-threatening condition. In addition, it is strongly associated with other important and potentially life-threatening diseases like Alzheimer’s, stroke, kidney disease, coronary artery disease, and even cancer.
According to CDC data from 2018, some 34.2 million Americans, or 10.5% of our population, have diabetes. The percentage of adults with this diagnosis increased with age, affecting more than 25% of those aged 65 years or older. And clearly, the data indicates that these numbers are progressively worsening with time. Continue reading
Biological aging is clearly an important risk factor for many of our most common chronic degenerative conditions like diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, cardiovascular disease, and even cancer. So much so that these maladies are often described as “age-related diseases.”
One of the most important contributors to disease processes associated with biological aging is something called “cellular senescence.” This term essentially refers to aging at a cellular level with loss of function and even the ability to divide. There may be an upside to a cell losing its ability to replicate when we consider cancer. On the other hand, when considering immunity for example, we depend on a constant repopulation of functioning cells in order to optimize the ability of our immune systems. Continue reading