Archives for October 2018

Stress Shrinks Your Brain!

Stress, of any kind, will automatically cause survival responses that are extremely beneficial, except when these responses become chronic. When we encounter stress, our hypothalamus triggers our pituitary to signal the adrenal glands to release cortisol and adrenalin. Chronic elevations of adrenal hormones have negative health effects, especially on our brain. Conclusion: Higher serum cortisol was associated with lower brain volumes and impaired memory in asymptomatic younger to middle-aged adults, with the association being evident particularly in women. Bottom Line: Stress is just one component that results in loss of brain function, and it must be managed well if we are to keep our memory and not slide into any type of cognitive impairment. In other words, what the authors are describing in ... Read more

Inflammation Nation: Food Can Destroy You

Hello everyone: You hear me rant on and on about inflammation and how it destroys the brain, so here are 2 resources to clarify this. The first paper says that systemic inflammation causes brain damage (Alzheimer’s), the second tells you where some of that inflammation comes from: “Neuroinflammation plays an important role in the advancement of this disorder (Alzheimer’s), and n–3 (ω-3) polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) (aka Omega-3’s) are involved in both the reduction in and resolution of inflammation.” The paper in the link above says that neuroinflammation is a key component of Alzheimer’s disease, and that Omega-3 essential fatty acids can help quench that fire. The point is that the Standard American Diet (S.A.D.) is loaded with bad fats. The next paper shows you what the S.A.D. does to ... Read more

Movement Is An Anti-Inflammatory Medication!!

Hello Everyone: Here is another great paper on how movement not only protects the brain, but reduces inflammation through multiple pathways: In summary, here is what the authors state: • Movement protects the brain, immune system, and energy metabolism • This is ‘vital’ for optimal emotional and cognitive brain function • Movement optimizes the stress response, • Movement optimizes brain chemistry • Movement normalizes inflammatory biochemistry and immune function • Not enough movement leads to ‘dysregulation’ of these processes and can lead to o Depression o Cognitive decline (memory loss, ability to do what used to be easy etc.) o Emotional difficulties o Increased brain and systemic inflammation (which leads to more neuro-degeneration) o Neuro-endocrine processes (negative changes ... Read more

The Eyes Don’t Lie: What Our Eyes Tell Us About Our Brain

Hello Again Everyone: As we finish our small series on eye movements as an excellent window on brain health and function, it turns out the literature has known for quite a while that eye movement abnormalities can reveal lingering brain damage/malfunction after concussion/traumatic brain injury. Here is an excellent paper: The authors state: Post-concussion syndrome (PCS) can affect up to 20%–30% of patients with mild closed head injury (mCHI), comprising incomplete recovery and debilitating persistence of post-concussional symptoms. Eye movements relate closely to the functional integrity of the injured brain and eye movement function is impaired post-acutely in mCHI. The PCS group performed worse…(on the eye movement tests)… indicating that…Poorer subconscious oculomotor function in the PCS group supports the ... Read more

ADHD and Your Frontal Lobe: Your Eye Movements Don’t Lie!!

Hello again everyone: We are continuing our discussion of how eye movements can reveal which parts of our brain may be under-functioning. In this case, abnormal or insufficient control of the ability to hold the gaze on the object of interest (this is called fixation) without intrusive eye movements are directly related to frontal lobe-basal ganglia deficits in function. This also included different types of voluntary fast movements called saccades. Those with ADHD had abnormal movements and reaction times pointing to those specific brain areas. The authors state the following: “In the pro-saccade task, ADHD participants had longer reaction times, greater intra-subject variance, and their saccades had reduced peak velocities and increased durations. In the anti-saccade task, ADHD participants had greater difficulty suppressing ... Read more