Category: Mental Health

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Sleep Duration and Cognitive Decline

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

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Can A Ketogenic Diet Treat Mental Disorders?

By the Dr. Perlmutter Team

The ketogenic diet appears often in content I share as it offers a host of health benefits for conditions including Alzheimer’s disease, epilepsy, Parkinson’s disease, diabetes, and more. That list may now include mental disorders. As I recently discussed with Dr. Uma Naidoo, nutritional psychiatry is centered on how food affects mental health. While dietary interventions are known to serve multiple preventive and therapeutic roles in human health, it is exciting that there is a burgeoning field focusing specifically on how nutrition impacts mental disorders, especially in these challenging times.

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Diet and Depression: An Updated Perspective

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

The Empowering Neurologist – David Perlmutter, M.D., and Dr. Uma Naidoo

The Empowering Neurologist – David Perlmutter, M.D., and Dr. Uma Naidoo


What an exciting and important presentation we have for you today. For many years we have been providing information focused on the pivotal role of nutritional choices as they relate to the brain, mostly in the context of neurodegenerative conditions like Alzheimer’s disease. Today, we’re going to explore how our nutritional choices actually impact us from a mood perspective with our very special guest, Dr. Uma Naidoo. Let me tell you a bit more about her.

Michelin-starred chef David Bouley described Dr. Uma Naidoo as the world’s first “triple threat” in the food as medicine space: She is a Harvard-trained psychiatrist, professional chef who graduated with her culinary schools’ most coveted award, and a nutrition specialist. Her niche work is in Nutritional Psychiatry and she is regarded both nationally and internationally as a medical pioneer in this field.

In her role as a Clinical Scientist, Dr. Naidoo founded and directs the first hospital-based clinical service in Nutritional Psychiatry in the USA. She is the Director of Nutritional and Lifestyle Psychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) & Director of Nutritional Psychiatry at the Massachusetts General Hospital Academy while serving on the faculty at Harvard Medical School.

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The Empowering Neurologist – David Perlmutter, M.D., and Drs. Danilo Bzdok and Robin Dunbar

The Empowering Neurologist – David Perlmutter, M.D., and Drs. Danilo Bzdok and Robin Dunbar


One of the most pervasive recommendations these days centers on the benefits related to socially distancing ourselves from others. And while this may be a meaningful recommendation, an unfortunate consequence seems to be increasing social isolation.

Social isolation begets loneliness, and loneliness is pervasive in modern society. Research reveals profound relationships between levels of loneliness and risk for various health conditions. Important for our current experience with COVID-19 is the relationship between social isolation and immune dysfunction. Continue reading

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3 Ways to Care for Your Brain in a Pandemic

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

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I Can Feel Your Sadness

“I can feel your sadness.” This is a declaration we are certainly hearing frequently these days. And it’s not to be taken lightly. Experiencing another person’s sadness, for example, and having the ability to share in their feelings is called emotional empathy. It is emotional empathy that helps us build emotional connections with other people and ultimately serves as the thread of our existence as social beings.

Our ability to share in the joy of another person’s success or achievement, as well as our sense of heartbreak when someone experiences a personal tragedy, are fundamental elements of our social fabric. Simply stated, our social existence depends deeply on our ability to participate in the emotional experiences of others. Continue reading

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“Actually, he may have a point.”

It’s probably been a while since you’ve heard someone say, “You know, he may have a point,” or “I see where she’s coming from, I never thought of it that way.” We are becoming an increasingly polarized society, digging in our heels with respect to our own beliefs, and closing ourselves off to any interaction with others whose beliefs may differ from our own.

Whether it’s left-wing versus right-wing, Democrats versus Republicans, or vegans versus carnivores, the ability to engage in interactive dialogue seems to be on the wane, and this is not a good thing. The ability to visit with the ideology of another person, especially when that ideology is contrary to our own, clearly offers a benefit in terms of expanding both our knowledge base. Just experiencing or attempting to understand the beliefs of another person allows us to refine our own framework for navigating the world in which we live. Continue reading

The Empowering Neurologist – David Perlmutter, MD, and Dr. Daniel Amen

The Empowering Neurologist – David Perlmutter, MD, and Dr. Daniel Amen


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.

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