Cognitive Conditioning

There are two types of brain connectivity.  The first is brain reserve, which is generated starting around 42 days of age. The second is cognitive reserve, which is a measure of the connectivity we develop throughout life or in other words, the integrity of our brain. We have no influence over the former at this point, but we do have control over the latter and can do things to expand it, even later in life.  It's never too late to teach an old dog new tricks!

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Neuro Naps

Okay, I have to apologize because I've been sleeping on this blog.  I hate to make excuses, but I've been content and busy with a new job, fully immersing myself in SoCal living (I mean, I even bought a long board), marathon training and getting my Zzzzz's. Without further ado, welcome to installment 5/6 in my brain health series! This series is inspired by 'The Alzheimer's Solution' by Drs. Dean and Ayesha Sherazi. 

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Stress Management for Your Memory

Welcome to installment 4/6 in my brain health series! This series is inspired by 'The Alzheimer's Solution' by Drs. Dean and Ayesha Sherazi. In my first post, I explained that lifestyle choices can prevent up to 90% of Alzheimer's cases.  For the 10% of cases that can't be prevented due to very strong genetic risk (such as in those that carry the APOE4 gene), lifestyle changes can delay presentation or progression of the disease by up to 15 years. There are 5 main lifestyle tenets for optimizing brain health that I am covering over the course of this blog series.  They include nutrition, exercise, stress management, sleep and regularly engaging in complex cognitive activities. The focus of this post is stress management and its impact on brain health.

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Cerebral Cardio (Exercise and Brain Health)

One of the most pertinent relationships between exercise and brain health has to do with blood flow.  Anything that reduces blood flow throughout the body (such as reduced pliability of arteries, arterial plaques, high cholesterol, and long periods of inactivity) also reduces cognitive function because, well, less blood flow to your brain.  Reduced blood flow especially impacts the medial temporal lobe of the brain, which governs short-term memory.  It’s no coincidence then that this is often the first noticeable symptom of cognitive decline.

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Build Your Own Brain Shield

 I'm obviously a long-time believer in using lifestyle medicine to prevent and manage the majority of chronic diseases, but while it seems intuitively obvious that gorging oneself on processed foods can't be good for your brain, I hadn't read a lot about lifestyle and brain health (outside the realm of mental health).  That's why I was particularly interested when I heard about 'The Alzheimer's Solution' by Drs. Dean and Ayesha Sherazi, who are co-directors of The Brain Health and Alzheimer's Prevention Program at Loma Linda University Medical Center in California.  I think this book is applicable to EVERYONE of ALL ages and I highly recommend reading it, but I will do my best to summarize their research over the course of a few sequential blog posts.  

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Superfood Spotlight: Amla Powder

Recently though, I've made an exception to my own rule and started enthusiastically recommending Amla Powder.  Never heard of it? Neither had I until about a year ago. Amla is powdered dried Indian Gooseberry fruit which has been used for centuries in Ayurvedic medicine and now there are lots of evidence-based Western medical studies supporting its use. 

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December 2017 and January 2018 Hit List

I've been slacking a little the last two months, so this list encompasses  the things that made me smile, think, celebrate and learn in December, 2017 AND January, 2018. This month I am also celebrating 15 years of independence from meat, fish and poultry and this year marks 10 years completely powered by plants!

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You've Got the (Healing) Power

Just like healthy eating, meditating, shifting mindsets, journaling and retraining stress responses are also preventative practices.  Someone could easily be in tip-top marathon shape and eat all the broccoli in the world, but still succumb to illness if plagued by chronic, poorly managed stress. 

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