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.
December of 2019 marks the publication of a new medical textbook, The Microbiome and the Brain (CRC Press). The text features chapters focused on a number of important topics, among them the role of gut bacteria in a variety of medical conditions including autism, multiple sclerosis and Alzheimer’s disease. The common theme throughout the book, as one would surmise from the title, is the relationship between the gut and brain health. The chapters have been written by some of the most well respected researchers and clinicians from around the world, and I am honored to be the editor-in-chief of this important contribution.
One area in which the relationship between the gut and the brain that seems to be getting a lot of attention as of late focuses on how variations in the gut bacteria may ultimately contribute to alterations in mood. Specifically, there is currently a fairly in-depth pursuit to understand the relationship between nuances of bacterial constituents and depression. Continue reading
By: Austin Perlmutter, M.D.
Depression is a global epidemic, a leading cause of disability that affects over 300 million people worldwide. Unfortunately, rates of diagnosed depression are continuing to rise in the United States, especially in our youth. When these disheartening statistics are combined with the relatively poor efficacy of our antidepressant medications, it becomes increasingly important to ask whether there may be non-pharmaceutical methods of treating this crippling condition. In recent years, scientific research has increasingly answered “yes.” Continue reading