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.
And this is the focus of our new book, Brain Wash. In Brain Wash we explore the specifics related to what threatens our ability to make good decisions. The decisions that are so threatened range from our personal lifestyle choices to how we interact with other people, and even how we look upon our planet. Brain Wash reveals how the process of inflammation, which is central to our most pervasive degenerative diseases, like heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, and even cancer, also directly compromises our ability to make good decisions.
From an anatomical perspective, Brain Wash demonstrates that good decision-making, planning for the future, and even empathy and compassion are functions of one part of the brain called the prefrontal cortex. On the other hand, not thinking through our decisions, impulsive actions, and even narcissism, the opposite of empathy, are what manifest when another part of the brain, the amygdala, is in charge. The revelation of Brain Wash is that the process of inflammation, be it from a lack of sleep, poor food choices, or not exercising, locks us into functioning from the amygdala and keeps us from the prefrontal cortex, the brain’s decision-making center.
Said differently, we see the goal, optimal health, awaiting us on the other side of the lake, but when we start paddling to get there we discover our boat is full of holes, and taking on water. No matter how much we read about rowing technique or the body of water we’re trying to cross, it can’t help us when the vessel that’s supposed to carry us there is compromised. This is where we stand today. We’ve got all the information about how to promote optimal health, but our ability to make healthy decisions is impaired.
So it’s time that we regain this ability and distance ourselves from what we describe in Brain Wash as Disconnection Syndrome—being disconnected from the prefrontal cortex, disconnected from making good decisions, disconnected from planning for the future, and disconnected from empathy for ourselves and others. This is the beautiful message of Brain Wash: empowering people to finally take charge of their decision-making, engage in a more empathetic life, and make better choices for their own future, and our future together.
I hope you’ll join Austin and I on this journey.