In this section you will find everything pertaining to the subject of brain health and preventing cognitive decline. Whether you are wondering how to prevent Alzheimer’s or what to eat when experiencing brain fog, this Brain Health section explores the connection between proper nutrition and brain preservation and development.
Category: Brain Health
By Dr. Austin Perlmutter
In the wake of the global spread of the 2019 coronavirus (COVID-19), many of us have started to think more carefully about our health. How can we reduce our risk of infection and of infecting others? How can we improve our immune function? What might the virus do to our lungs, heart and blood vessels? But while these questions are very important, it’s also critical to consider how a pandemic affects our brains and how to guard them against this damage. Specifically, we need to be considering strategies to protect our mental and cognitive health.
We’ve long known that mental health suffers in periods of high stress. So it’s no surprise that the current pandemic has been linked to a spike in feelings of anxiety and depression. A troubling May 2020 survey reported that over 34% of Americans are now experiencing these symptoms. This comes at a time when the world is already experiencing an epidemic of mental illness. Continue reading
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
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
Clearly, one of the most important goals of the conversations we try to spark here is empowerment. This empowerment is especially valuable as it relates to brain health.
Max now has a new book, The Genius Life, that looks not only at food, but at a variety of other important lifestyle factors that very much add to our level of empowerment with the goal of keeping our brains healthy.
Why do we not generally discuss the fact that there is an epidemic of mental illness in our society? Or that our lifestyle choices may have an impact on our risk for these conditions (like depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, ADHD, and others)? Though incidence of these conditions is skyrocketing, for the past four decades standard treatment hasn’t much changed, and success rates in treating them have barely improved, either. Meanwhile, the stigma of the “mental illness” label―damaging and devastating on its own―can often prevent sufferers from getting the help they need.
One of the central themes in Brain Wash is regaining the ability to make good choices. Not a day goes by that we don’t see or hear about another new book telling us how a specific diet, or other lifestyle change, will likely bring about health. As you might expect, I know many of these authors (and I’ve been honored to host many on The Empowering Neurologist) and, these days, almost all of these books are absolutely providing terrific information. Where the disconnect happens is between information and action, meaning it’s all well and good to read these books, but thereafter, choices have to be made to implement the material that has been learned.
The leading causes of death and disability worldwide are chronic degenerative conditions. These familiar diseases including cardiovascular disease, cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, and type II diabetes are increasing globally, at a dramatic rate, in every region, and in all socioeconomic classes. To be clear, chronic degenerative conditions exceed deaths caused by famine, war, and even infectious diseases. Importantly, this was not always the case.
What has changed? Certainly, it hasn’t been our genetics. Our DNA has changed very little in the past hundred thousand years. And yet, we are suddenly experiencing a virtual explosion in the prevalence of these conditions.
To understand why do these conditions are now so widespread, we have to ask if there’s any shared mechanism that underlies chronic degenerative diseases as a group. Indeed there is. In a word, it’s inflammation. All of these conditions represent a consequence of increased levels of inflammation within the body, and higher levels of inflammation can damage heart arteries, the brain, the joints, and even disrupt the function of the immune system allowing cancer to manifest.
So, if inflammation is at the root of what our now the most pervasive diseases on our planet, it really makes sense to explore how our modern world is amping up inflammation as this should clearly provide us some action points to live a healthier and longer life. Continue reading
The number of Americans diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease has continued to grow at a dramatic rate. Currently, it is estimated that some 5.8 million Americans (of all ages) have Alzheimer’s disease. By and large, this is a disease of elderly individuals, with approximately 5.6 million of those diagnosed age 65 or older. To put that number into context, consider that this means 1 in 10 people age 65 or older suffers from Alzheimer’s disease. Further, it is instructive to note that there are some 200,000 individuals here in America under age 65 years who have also been given the diagnosis.
Despite heroic research efforts, Alzheimer’s remains a disease for which there is no cure or meaningful treatment whatsoever. That said, it is critical that we ask ourselves if there is any evidence that the disease could be prevented, or at least explore what could be done to lower one’s risk. Continue reading
Today, we’re releasing the third and final video in our Unhack Your Brain miniseries.
By: Austin Perlmutter, M.D.
As we enter the 2020s, we’re faced with a strange paradox. Despite widespread access to all the things that are supposed to make us happy, we’re lonely, anxious and depressed. We are separated from sustainable joy.