Integrative Health Blog

Brain Health: The Dirty Dozen for the Brain

Posted by on Thu, Jun 20, 2019

The human brain, our beautifully designed master control center, is under attack from many modern environmental issues. 

Alarmingly, we're seeing increased cognitive impairment from young to old - Autism to Alzheimer's, anxiety, depression, neuro-degenerative diseases (Parkinson's, ALS) brain fog, stroke, memory and neurological issues.  Although some of the increase is due to an aging population, we're seeing brain impairment at all age levels and the incidences are getting worse.  Losing one's cognitive function is an ultimate fear and exploring the issue of prevention is the subject of this article.

Unlike our ancestors, we now must contend with the daily assault of Wi-Fi, chemicals and what I like to call the "Dirty Dozen for the Brain."  Modern technology has improved our lives in a myriad of ways, and we can't live in a bubble. But, to start, let's look at what may be affecting us daily and what we can do to avoid or at least minimize the Dirty Dozen- and keep our brains healthy.

The Dirty Dozen for the Brain

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Tags: functional medicine, brain health

Opioid and Painkiller Abuse: Replace What is Needed in the Brain

Posted by on Wed, Aug 02, 2017

“Men occasionally stumble over the truth but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing happened.”

Winston Churchill.

It’s all over the news. Deaths due to opioids and painkillers are rising dramatically and are now exceeding the mortality rates of auto accidents and gunshot wounds combined. The new healthcare budget may pump 45 billion dollars into opioid abuse treatment, intended to treat opioid abuse with the latest, more expensive, and perhaps equally addictive  prescribed opioids. This is tantamount to trying to extinguish a kerosene fire with gasoline. Morbidity and mortality rates will continue to worsen for opioid addiction, because certain basic, scientific truths about restoring the brain’s natural opioids are being ignored in society and even in mainstream healthcare.

Historically, when educational, prevention and treatment efforts are initiated to address various diseases, the morbidity and mortality associated with the targeted diseases declines. When mosquitos were found to be the vector in the cause of malaria, reputed historically to have killed more human beings than all other diseases in the history of humanity combined, the incidence of malaria dropped dramatically. Tuberculosis may have killed as many as 1 billion people in the 1800s, and its incidence has fallen dramatically with the advent of antibiotics. You probably don’t know anyone who has suffered from polio, as this vaccine has all but eradicated this disease.

History of Opioid Treatment

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Tags: addiction, brain health, opioids

New Hope for Dementia

Posted by on Mon, May 02, 2016

Dementia is a broad category of brain diseases associated with long term, irreversible, gradual decrease in the ability to think and remember which is great enough to affect a person's daily functioning and which is worse than would be expected with normal aging.  

For decades, scientists have studied brain tissue samples of Alzheimer’s Disease victims, the largest dementia subcategory, (>50%), and have found distinctive pathological changes in the brain such as “plaque” and “neurofibrillary tangles” that are thought to somehow be causative of the disease.  The new sciences of Omics sheds new light on Dementia and is challenging long held views about its causes and treatments.

Omics, A Field of Study in Biology Read More

Tags: functional medicine, brain health, precision medicine

Seven Ways that Exercise Maintains a Healthy Brain

Posted by on Mon, Sep 22, 2014

Teresa Fuller MD, Phd

Our children’s brains are under attack.  Take a look at these startling statistics from a comprehensive surveillance report by the CDC that spanned 2005 - 2011 which shows that among children aged 3-17 years:

  • 6.8% have ADHD
  • 3.5% have behavioral or conduct problems
  • 3% have anxiety
  • 2.1% have depression
  • 1.1% have autism spectrum disorder 

Moreover, research by the National Alliance on Mental Illness has found that among children ages 9 to 17, 21% have a diagnosable mental or addictive disorder, and that suicide is the leading cause of death in youth ages 15 to 24.

These numbers show us why brain health is a major focus of research today.  The good news is that there are many things we already know about how to maintain a healthy brain.  Last week, we talked about the importance of “brain food.”  And here’s another habit that is critical to brain health -- exercise.  Your brain needs an abundant blood flow to sustain its high energy demands for function, and exercise is a great way to increase blood flow to the brain.

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Tags: children's health, pediatrics, brain health

4 Great Nutritional Brain Health Boosters for Children

Posted by on Sat, Sep 13, 2014

Brain Food for Optimal Concentration, Creativity and Cognition

Now that our kids are back in school, they’ll need all the brain power they can get.  Our brain function is so vitally connected to what we eat that Dr. Scott Shannon, noted psychiatrist says this: 

“In order to ensure that your child’s brain is able to function well…you must first ensure that it is being properly nourished.…Poor diet is without a doubt one of the major reasons we’re seeing such an incredible spike in the number of kids diagnosed with and medicated for mental and emotional disorders.  Even drugs can’t help our kids when they are quite literally being starved of their mental and emotional health.” Scott Shannon from Please Don’t Label My Child

Indeed, more and more studies are showing just how powerful food is in the function and growth of the brain.  On the other hand, the wrong foods are absolutely detrimental to brain function. We as parents need to equip our children with the tools they need for better concentration, creativity and cognition. So here are four great nutritional brain boosters:

1. Eat lots of fruits and vegetables! 

Our children need at least 5 servings of fruits and vegetables every day.  Parents of a picky eater have to be very creative about getting the fruits and veggies in, such as smoothies and milkshakes with hidden fruits and vegetables. 

How do fruits and vegetables boost brain power?

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Tags: children's health, pediatrics, brain health

Help for Depression with a Functional Medicine Approach

Posted by on Tue, Sep 09, 2014

Dr. Chas Gant, integrative and functional medicine physician,  at National Integrated Health Associates was recently interviewed on TakeBackYourHealth radio on the subject of Depression: What We Can Learn from Robin Williams.

What are the causes of depression and what can we do about it?

Listen to the interview

 

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Tags: depression, functional medicine, brain health

The Advantages of Neurofeedback Therapy

Posted by on Wed, Nov 13, 2013

Chas Gant MD, PhD

Balancing  the Brain

Neurofeedback is a non-invasive, drug-free therapy which has been found in many peer-reviewed studies to be effective for a wide range of medical and psychiatric disorders.  This is not surprising when one considers that the brain is the command and control center for the body’s nervous, endocrine (hormones) and immune systems.  Neurofeedback as a stand alone treatment essentially ignores all of the causes of chronic medical and psychiatric disorders, such as allergies (e.g., celiac/gluten), infections (e.g., Lyme/candida), metabolic imbalances (e.g., diabetes/hypertension), toxicities (e.g., heavy metals/pesticides), nutritional deficiencies (e.g., magnesium/omega 3 fatty acids) and the genetic vulnerabilities to all of this.  Neurofeedback as a stand alone treatment makes no claims about treating  the big killers, cancer, cardiovascular disease and addictions, and simply balances the command and control center, the brain, and lets those benefits cascade down through the nervous, immune and endocrine systems to effect astonishing benefits. 

I call this the top-down approach, because neurofeedback is a treatment at the top of the body (the brain) and its benefits are realized down below in the body.  Of course, the bottom up approach, addressing the underlying immune, allergic, metabolic, nutritional, infectious and genetic causes of chronic medical and psychiatric disorders is still important, and when both a top-down and a bottom-up approach are combined, the outcomes appear to be more promising than ever.

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Tags: brain health