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
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