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
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
It’s something we all do at the holidays, when we’re surrounded by gingerbread men, hot cocoa, fruitcakes, and chocolate candies. Faced with the choice of the sweet treat or healthier alternatives, we remind ourselves the holidays come but once a year, and we all fall into a sugar-laden trap. Continue reading
How does excess body fat affect the brain? Over the past several years we have been describing the various mechanisms whereby body fat increases the production of the chemical mediators of inflammation, and how inflammation is the underpinning mechanism of brain degeneration like we see in Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s. But beyond considering risk of these conditions, it’s worthwhile to gain some understanding as to how excess body fat might, moment to moment, affect how the brain is functioning. Continue reading
As I write you this post, we sit less than two months away from the release of my newest book, Brain Wash: Detox Your Mind for Clearer Thinking, Deeper Relationships, and Lasting Happiness, which I co-wrote with my son, Austin Perlmutter, MD. As we’ve been having more conversations about this book with friends, family, and this community, both Austin and I have come to appreciate that Brain Wash is a little bit different.
Take, for instance, Grain Brain Whole Life Plan. This book provided extremely important information and lifestyle recommendations intended to help you live a longer and healthier life. These recommendations covered a wide array of categories, including exercise, diet, and stress reduction. But like so many books that are available these days, as well as online programs and health-related television shows, it’s one thing to receive this terrific information, but even the very best of information, like what we hope we portrayed in the Grain Brain Whole Life Plan, is useless unless decisions are made to implement the recommendations. Continue reading
It’s relatively straightforward – the best time to do something about fending off Alzheimer’s disease and dementia is well before you start to experience warning signs of cognitive decline. As has been well-documented on this blog before, inflammation in your 20s, 30s, 40s…really, at any stage in life, has been associated with increasing your risk for Alzheimer’s disease, a disease for which there is no cure.
Look around and ask yourself, could things be better? We believe the answer is a resounding yes. And this is our ultimate goal in bringing out our new book, Brain Wash.
Brain Wash is a functional roadmap for understanding how so much of what characterizes our modern world influences our brains and, most importantly, our decision-making. From our modern diets to our lack of restorative sleep to our virtual addiction to our digital experiences, the trappings of modern times actually conspire to keep us unfulfilled, impulsive, and self-centered. Brain Wash begins by bringing these powerful influences into stark reality. We present a framework for appreciating the negative impact of these exposures, and then provide a set of practical interventions for reclaiming our brains and improving our physical and mental health. Continue reading