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
Over the past several years a mechanistic concept has arisen that seeks to explain the pathogenesis of Alzheimer’s disease. This has been called the bioenergetic theory. Basically, it describes a situation in which the highly energy demanding cells of the brain are somehow compromised in their ability to use fuel. Make no mistake about it, brain cells require an incredible amount of energy to perform their function. In the resting state, the brain, which typically represents only 2 to 5% of total body weight, consumes up to 25% of calories burned.
The brain’s primary fuel is glucose. And one of the hallmarks of Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive failure of the brains ability to use this source of fuel, basically a situation in which brain cells are not able to utilize glucose for energy. In fact, specialized PET scanning of the brain can visualize signature areas of the brain that are less functional in terms of glucose utilization that correlate with Alzheimer’s disease. Continue reading
Our world today has certainly become far more chaotic than we had anticipated. As such, it becomes challenging to avoid toxic threatening thoughts and downstream manifestations like depression or anxiety. As our guest today makes clear, we don’t have to settle into this mental mess as if it is just our “new normal.” There is hope and there is help available to us, and the road to healthier thoughts and more happiness may actually be shorter than we think. Continue reading
Your brain is always listening and responding to an incredibly large number of hidden influences, and unless you recognize and deal with them, they can steal your happiness, spoil your relationships, and sabotage your health. My good friend Dr. Daniel Amen calls these influences “dragons” in his new book Your Brain Is Always Listening, and with good reason as he explains. Importantly, this book will teach you to tame the dragons and regain what, for many, has been so elusive, especially these days. Continue reading
In 1998, Dr. Peter Eriksson published a groundbreaking report in the journal Nature Medicine in which he described, for the first time, that the process of growing new brain cells, neurogenesis, occurs in humans. That was only 22 years ago. Prior to his publication it was generally assumed that humans developed brain cells up until our late teen years and it was downhill after that.
We now know that a person retains the ability to grow new brain cells throughout his/her entire lifetime. Importantly, it is now clear that there are various things we can do that will directly enhance this process of neurogenesis. Among the most potent stimuli triggering the growth of new brain cells are physical exercise, a ketogenic diet, whole coffee fruit extract, and there is now some pretty compelling data supporting the role of a particular species of mushroom, Hericium erinaceus (more commonly known as lion’s mane), in causing neurogenesis. Continue reading
By the Dr. Perlmutter Team
When asked what supplements I recommend for optimal health, I occasionally reply, “sleep.” Sleep is powerful on so many levels in terms of health outcomes. We know that sleep duration and quality impact inflammation, what and how much we eat, hormone balance, decision-making, mood states, and much more.
An interesting study on sleep recently appeared in one of the publications of the American Medical Association called JAMA Network Open. The researchers behind the study sought to investigate the association between sleep duration and cognitive decline. They analyzed data from 20,065 total participants in two cohort studies, one in the United Kingdom, The English Longitudinal Study of Ageing (ELSA), and one in China, the China Health and Retirement Longitudinal Study (CHARLS). The ELSA sample included people 50 years or older and the CHARLS sample included people 45 years or older. Continue reading
These days so much is being written about the health benefits of lifestyle and nutrition strategies that produce ketosis. Indeed, actually treating certain conditions is now a fair-game discussion because of the robust scientific support being generated from institutions around the world.
I have previously presented information detailing the therapeutic benefit of a ketogenic lifestyle for issues like diabetes (both types 1 and 2), dementia, metabolic syndrome, and obesity. To be sure, there’s some outstanding work being done that demonstrates the effectiveness of a ketogenic program in Parkinson’s disease (PD). And one of the pioneers in studying the ketogenic diet in PD is Dr. Matthew Phillips, a neurologist in New Zealand who we’ve previously featured on The Empowering Neurologist. More recently, I had the opportunity to co-author, along with Dr. Phillips, a book chapter focused on the use of a ketogenic diet as an actual therapeutic intervention for Parkinson’s disease. Continue reading
By Dr. Austin Perlmutter
In conventional medical practice, the connection between diet and mood seems barely, if ever, mentioned. Depression is deemed a disease of the mind, or of the brain, treatable with psychotherapy or potent pharmaceuticals. In the latter, the focus seems primarily on modulating neurotransmitters like dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine.
Yet in the last several decades, there’s also been a push to revitalize dietary interventions for mood, especially for depression. Some have advocated strongly that food-based therapy is the solution to most health issues including mood disorders. But what does the current research in this field actually say, and are we interpreting it correctly? Continue reading
Over the past decade we have been vigorously promoting the concept of Alzheimer’s prevention. Alzheimer’s disease is devastating, not just for the patient, but for families and loved ones as well. And let me be candid: watching my father succumb to Alzheimer’s was the most emotionally challenging experience of my life. Not only that, it also served to strengthen my resolve to do whatever I can to continue to raise awareness of the science that supports the notion that our lifestyle choices do indeed play an important role in determining our risk for this disease – a disease for which there is no meaningful treatment whatsoever. Continue reading
Lately, in an apparent attempt to push back from the negativity surrounding high fructose corn syrup, there seems to be an increase in the number of articles published touting the advantages of fructose as a “safer sugar.” The main point that is so often emphasized is that unlike glucose, fructose does not seem to increase insulin. Increasing insulin, which is how our bodies cope with increased glucose levels, may, when it’s constantly challenged, lead to a state in which we tend to lose our sensitivity to insulin. This means that with time, on a diet that constantly raises our glucose levels, insulin becomes less effective. Losing insulin sensitivity or becoming “insulin resistant” is not only associated with elevated blood sugar and subsequent diabetes, but also a fairly extensive list of chronic degenerative conditions that we want to do our best to avoid like coronary artery disease and Alzheimer’s. Continue reading
A central theme of our outreach messaging over the past decade centers on the role of our everyday lifestyle decisions in influencing the health destiny of our brains. As many of you know, we recently produced a docuseries Alzheimer’s – The Science of Prevention that reveals how our most well-respected scientific journals are making it very clear that each of us is truly the architect of our cognitive health destiny. We reveal exactly what we need to be doing day to day to meaningfully increase our chances of a life without Alzheimer’s disease.
And to bring everyone right up to date on the science, I’d like to discuss a study just published in the prestigious journal Neurology. Continue reading