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.
Integration Psychotherapy, pioneered by our guest, Dr. Ingmar Gorman, is a fascinating technique that brings a powerful level of therapeutic efficacy to the use of psychedelics. Psychedelic experiences are certainly becoming more available, and what we learn today is how fundamentally important it is to appropriately process these experiences after they have occurred. So much literature is being published describing the efficacy of psychedelic compounds in the treatment of things like PTSD and refractory depression, but as Dr. Gorman makes clear, it’s not just the taking of the medicine that fully allows realization of improvement. Equally important is the post-experience therapy that helps frame and contextualize what the psychedelic experience has presented. Continue reading
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
Why are most Alzheimer’s patients women?
It may come as a surprise to you, but women outnumber men when it comes to Alzheimer’s disease sufferers by a ratio of 2 to 1. Why Alzheimer’s affects women so adversely is unclear, but we do know there is a lot of science that’s beginning to make sense of this statistic. Moreover, now that we are gaining ground on understanding why the female brain is more susceptible to this devastating disease, it allows us to begin getting our arms around the idea that specific lifestyle changes may be very important as they relate to reducing a woman’s risk.
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.
We call this state disconnection syndrome. Continue reading
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
Of all the interventions we discuss in Brain Wash, mindfulness and meditation may be the hardest to reconcile with the modern daily routine. This is because we’re trained, from a young age, to constantly focus on solving the next problem, and that purposefully slowing down our minds is basically a waste of time. However, this mentality has created a loss of perspective and made it tremendously difficult to understand our own thoughts and actions. With distractions growing in number and intensity every day, it becomes increasingly important to implement mental safeguards like mindfulness and mediation into our routines. This is how we make a break from unconscious thinking and create the space to course correct our lives. We cover the essential strategies for incorporating mindfulness and meditation into each day in Brain Wash. In addition, here are three helpful ways to make mindfulness and meditation practice a part of your day.
- Meditate on the move: We fully appreciate that the hectic nature of modern life can make it difficult to perform a traditional meditation practice. However, there are several ways to expand your possibilities for meditation. One easy way to increase your time meditating is to engage in walking meditation. This practice can be done anytime you’re walking around—simply focus on the act of walking, the feeling of taking each step, the sensations of lifting up your feet and the wind moving past your skin.
- Bring mindfulness to your meals: It’s become status quo to eat our meals in front of the TV (hence TV dinners). While this can be an enjoyable way to watch a movie, we have to remember that humans are very bad at multitasking. For example, when we’re watching TV while we eat, we’re not paying attention to our food. Because we’re not focused on the meal, we are less likely to recognize when we’re full, and more likely to keep on eating (ever wonder how you’re able to eat a giant container of popcorn at the movies?) If you find yourself struggling with overeating, try taking a break from distraction while you eat, and just focus on the food. You might find you enjoy the meal more, and eat less!
- Create a space: It’s clearly harder to remain focused on meditation when we’re being distracted. Creating a specific location for meditation can help get the body and mind ready for meditation, making it easier to drop into your routine. This doesn’t mean you need to build an elaborate altar. A framed photograph of something relaxing in a corner of a room that’s been cleared of distracting clutter can be all you need.