As we have talked about so many times in these pages, our lifestyle choices play a fundamental role in determining not just how our brain functions today, but its long-term destiny as well.
My good friend Max Lugavere became a globally-recognized citizen scientist, as it relates to brain degeneration, as a consequence of his mother’s battle with a neurodegenerative condition. In his new book, Genius Foods, Max details how he was basically left empty-handed at being able to do anything meaningful to help his mother in her battle. He visited many of our country’s most well-respected academic institutions and hospitals, and ultimately received nothing more then a list of meaningless medications. Continue reading
Food allergies, and a specific skin condition called eczema, are rapidly increasing in the youth population. Now, in what may be the largest study of its kind ever performed, researchers are studying a woman’s diet during pregnancy, as well as duration of breast-feeding post-birth, to assess a child’s susceptibility to allergies, as well as risk for conditions like eczema and autoimmune disorders. British investigators, evaluating over 1.5 million people, have come up with some very compelling information.
The research is what’s called a meta-analysis, meaning that it is review of previous studies (over 400 in this case) involving over 1.5 million people, and dating as far back as 1946. The researchers discovered that there was a weak, but nonetheless demonstrable, relationship between breast-feeding and reduced risk of eczema during infancy, as well as reduced risk for type I diabetes. In addition, probiotics seemed to reduce the risk of allergic reactions to cow’s milk.
The data, however, was much more supportive of the relationship between taking a probiotic supplement while 36 – 38 weeks pregnant, and during the first 3 to 6 months of breast-feeding, and risk for childhood eczema. In fact, in those women taking probiotics, risk for eczema in their child was reduced by 22%. The scientist noted that most of the probiotics contained a bacterium called Lactobacillus rhamnosus. Continue reading
I, like many of you, have often wondered about the notion of drinking a cup of coffee after the evening meal. People often say things like, “I can’t drink coffee after 4PM or I won’t be able to sleep,” and this seems to make sense. Others, like myself, can enjoy a coffee after dinner seemingly without any consequences, as far as sleep is concerned.
To help shed some light on this issue, researchers publishing in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine recently reported the results of study in which individuals consumed 400mg of caffeine 0, 3, or 6 hours prior to their normal bedtime. These folks were compared to a similar group of people who received a placebo. Sleep was measured by self-reporting as well as through the use of a portable sleep monitor. Continue reading
Do medications “treat” type 2 diabetes? The answer is “no.” While there is a fairly robust list of drugs commonly prescribed by physicians for this situation, these pharmaceuticals tend to treat only the consequences of the disorder, like elevated blood sugar.
In this segment of The Empowering Neurologist, I have the great pleasure of interviewing one of the most forward thinking experts in diabetes in the country, Dr. Sarah Hallberg. This is her second time on the program, and with good reason. She and her team have just completed a study in which they demonstrate profound success in actually treating diabetes using a closely monitored ketogenic diet. Continue reading
As many of you know, I am a big proponent of salmon. Salmon may well be one of the most healthful foods available on the planet. Natural, wild-caught salmon is a rich source of vitamins and minerals, including vitamin B12, vitamin D, selenium, and phosphorus. In addition, it’s a terrific source for protein as well as omega-3 fatty acids.
And when talking about the omega-3s, salmon has and an astounding 1.5 g of DHA in just a 3.5 ounce serving. DHA is a critically important omega-3 fatty acid, especially for brain health. Continue reading
Is swearing good for you?
We generally assume that swearing is offensive, that it’s a sign of a stunted vocabulary or of a limited intellect. Dictionaries have traditionally omitted swear words and parents forbid them around the house. But the latest research by neuroscientists, psychologists, sociologists, and others has revealed that swear words, curses, and oaths―when used judiciously―can have surprising benefits.
In this sparkling debut work of popular science, Emma Byrne examines the latest research to show how swearing can be good for you. With humor and colorful language, she explores every angle of swearing―why we do it, how we do it, and what it tells us about ourselves. Not only has some form of swearing existed since the earliest humans began to communicate, but it has been shown to reduce physical pain, to lower anxiety, to prevent physical violence, to help trauma victims recover language, and yes, to promote human cooperation! Continue reading
In direct contradiction to what I learned in medical school, our genes do not directly determine every aspect of our health destiny. We now understand that subtle variations in genes, called SNPs, are highly influential in terms of health and disease. These variations in how genes function generally control various enzyme pathways in the body. Continue reading
How much alcohol should we consume? We have all heard that there are health benefits associated with low level alcohol consumption, like drinking a glass or two of red wine each day. Indeed, I have made this suggestion in my blogs and in many of the books I have written. While we do know that alcohol is, in and of itself, toxic to nerve cells, the scientific literature would tell us that there is decreased risk of conditions like Alzheimer’s disease in individuals who consume small amounts of alcohol each day.
In a new study appearing in the journal Scientific Reports, researchers again attempted to unravel the facts as it relates to the beneficial effects of alcohol. Before you get put off by this study’s somewhat compelling (Beneficial effects of low alcohol exposure, but adverse effects of high alcohol intake on glymphatic function) title, allow me to explain. Continue reading