Everything you do and everything you experience affect the fabric of your brain and dictate your brain’s fate. What you eat, what you think, how well you sleep, how you feel emotionally, your level of physical activity, and how well the rest of the systems in your body function all affect your brain’s biology. Brain Weaver, the subject of our podcast today, written by physicians at the forefront of research in brain functioning, invites you to achieve optimal brain health by successfully weaving together a tapestry of your bio-psycho-social-spiritual dimensions. Basically, we’ll learn that there are quite a few other variables that we can bring to bear on our quest to create a better brain. Continue reading
While we accept the notion of the important influences of lifestyle choices as they relate, for example, to the heart, the immune system, lung function, longevity, and even cancer risk, the notion that what we choose to eat and the amount of exercise we get, in terms of influencing the brain, until recently, has been kept off the table. Fortunately, there are dedicated researchers around the country who are part of a vanguard team, making it very clear that we are, in fact, the architects of our brain’s future. Our choices, day in and day out, are exceedingly influential in terms of how our brains will change over time, for better or worse.
Certainly, this has been a central theme in the books I have been writing over the years, as well as other elements of my social outreach. But importantly, and gratefully, I am not alone in this endeavor.
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
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.
There has certainly been a lot of information appearing in scientific literature as of late indicating that coffee consumption is good for the brain. One recent report has revealed what I believe to be a very specific mechanism that directly relates the consumption of coffee to the well-established reduction in risk for Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Continue reading
How does simply moving around affect the brain? For the past several years I’ve been doing my best to get out the information that shows how aerobic exercise benefits the brain by increasing the growth of new brain cells, as well as reducing the risk for brain degeneration. However, it looks like most adults are not achieving the 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity/week recommended by the 2018 US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Physical Activity Guidelines. In fact, this level of physical activity is only achieved by 57% of adults aged 40-49, and a paltry 26% of those aged 60-69.
That said, researchers recently set about exploring whether simply moving around would have a beneficial impact on brain health. They designed a study of 2,354 participants (with an average age of 53) that ran for three years. The subjects wore an accelerometer that basically determined both the number of steps they took each day as well as the intensity level of their activity. Continue reading
By: The Dr. Perlmutter Team
One of the most exciting developments in lifestyle science over the last decade has been the sharpening focus on the central role that our resident microbes (bacteria) play in regulating overall health. These microbes, together with their genetic material and metabolic byproducts make up what is collectively known as the microbiome. It is becoming readily apparent that the trillions of microbes living on and within us play a fundamental role in almost all of the systems of the body. Even as recently as 10-20 years ago, we did not understand the extent to which the gut microbiome can influence a person’s mood, regulate appetite, produce essential vitamins, regulate the immune system, and influence systemic inflammation.
Over the past 10 years, in the various books that I have written, there has been a persistent emphasis on the importance of DHA, an omega-3, in terms of brain health. DHA represents over 90% of all the omega-3, polyunsaturated fatty acids in the brain, and further, it’s 10 to 20% of all the brain’s fat. DHA is especially concentrated in the gray matter, and is also an important part of the cellular membrane of neurons. DHA also has an important role to play in the functioning and structure of mitochondria, the release of neurotransmitters, the expression of DNA, the creation of the myelin insulation around every neuron, the management of neuroinflammation, and even the growth and differentiation of brain cells.
DHA plays a particularly important role in the frontal lobes, allowing us to maintain executive function, pay attention to the various tasks in which we are engaged, and even plan for the future and solving problems. Continue reading
Estimates indicate that approximately 11% of school-aged children in United States have attention-deficit/ hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Further, approximately 2/3 of these children are currently being medicated for this diagnosis. The most common medications are essentially stimulants like amphetamines or methylphenidates, including drugs like Adderall and Ritalin.
The areas of the brain that are potentially damaged or disrupted by these medications include the basal ganglia, brain structures that are involved in coordinated movement. The other area that is potentially involved is the cerebellum, which also plays a role in movement. Continue reading
We talk a lot about how environment and lifestyle choices impact your cognitive health, but have you ever considered that where you choose to live may be a key factor in determining the health of your brain? Continue reading