Thursday, January 23, 2020

Accelerating Brain Aging

I read a recent Gallup poll indicating that the majority of Americans favor legalizing marijuana for recreational use. So how come you don’t promote this?

I try never to promote anything that has been shown to be potentially harmful to brain function. You might find it interesting to know that Dr. Daniel Amen recently reported on results from a new study. His research may represent the largest brain imaging study ever reported, involving involved SPECT brain imaging studies of more than 30,000 people. The study found that marijuana use accelerates aging of the brain by 0.6 years and alcohol consumption by 2.8 years. I am not the least bit interested in accelerating the aging of my brain. Therefore, I would consider it completely irresponsible on my part to recommend using marijuana for recreational use or alcohol for that matter.

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

What, How, and When

I know what you eat and how you eat is important. But “when” you eat? What difference does that make?

The report of a pilot study led by Dr. Nour Makarem was published in the Journal of Nutritional Science. In a study of 112 woman (average age of 33), the researchers found that eating dinner before six pm could improve heart health, lower the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, and reduce the chance of gaining weight. Participants who ate a large portion of their daily calories after six pm had higher blood pressure, higher BMI, and poorer blood sugar control. The risk of heart disease increases for every one percent increase in calories consumed in the evening after six pm. Dr. Makarem pointed out that lifestyle approaches to the prevention of heart disease have focused on what a person eats and how much. Based on this preliminary study, when you eat may be a simple, modifiable behavior that can help lower heart disease risk.

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Brain and Humor

I've heard you talk about humor. It's January 21st and nothing humorous has happened to me so far this year. How about you?

That's most unfortunately because humor and laughter are very good for the brain. If you can laugh at yourself, you carry an unending supply of humor with you every dayas I do. For example, today at noon I was in an organization that had a noon lunch for one of the executives. During lunch, one of the senior executives, referred to as "the birthday boy," was asked, "What is your earliest memory of a joke?" Interesting question. The "birthday boy" said that when he was 10 years old he heard a man say something that was clever and funny—and although he only heard it once, the birthday boy still remembers is. It went like this

“Ladies and gentlemen, hobos and tramps, cross-eyed mosquitoes, and bowlegged ants. Early one morning, in the middle of the night, two dead boys got up to fight. Back to back they faced each other, drew a sword and shot each other An old deaf policeman heard the noise and came over and killed the two dead boys. Now, if you don't believe my story is true, just ask the blind man, because he saw it, too . . ." 

I am still laughing! Stay alert, and choose to laugh. It pays huge dividends!

Monday, January 20, 2020

Martin Luther King, Jr.

Today is a federal holiday in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr., and some of you are even off work! It’s a good time to reflect on where we have come from—which isn’t all that important in some ways—and where we are going both as individuals and as a nation—which IS very important. You may have read his 1963 letter. One sentence especially struck me, (I could have looked it up for rote exactness but I prefer to linger in the tones of his words): Let’s hope that the dark clouds of racial prejudice will soon pass away and the deep fog of misunderstanding will be lifted from our fear-drenched communities. Let’s hope that in some not too distant tomorrow the radiant stars of love and brotherhood will shine over our great nation with all their scintillating beauty. I rarely comment on controversial points of view. However, as a brain-function specialist, what I have learned about the brain leads me to believe this: regardless of gender, preference, skin tones, and a host of other things that make each person unique and that has made this nation great, we are all—first and foremost—human. That is our commonality. I could not do what I do without you. I need you in my proverbial corner. And whenever and wherever possible, I want to be with you in your corner, too. That’s how “unity in diversity” happens . . .

Friday, January 17, 2020

For Lexophiles

I have several friends who are lexophiles. We all enjoy word play and trade examples. As you may know, a lexophile is a person who loves words; an individual who derives pleasure from various use of words; and if the words can be used in humor, so much the better.
  1. Frog parking only—all others will be toad.
  2. If your car is running, I’m voting for it.
  3. What happens if you are scared half-to-death twice?
  4. My wife says I never listen to her—or something like that.
  5. Is there ever a day when mattresses are not on sale?
  6. I visited the Hokey-Pokey Clinic—and turned myself around.
  7. This is my step-ladder; I never knew my real ladder.
  8. I’d like to grow my own food—do you have any idea where I can find bacon seeds?
  9. Did you hear about the man in boxers who led police on a brief chase?
  10.    You can tune a piano, but you can't tuna fish.

Thursday, January 16, 2020

Walking & Counting

I try to get 15 minutes of brisk walking done every day—but my mind starts ruminating and even obsessing on current problems and concerns and I feel stressed. Any ideas?

I can tell you what I do when my mind decides to ruminate unhelpfully: I count my steps in relation to my breaths. Walking briskly, I count four steps while breathing in and four steps while breathing out. That keeps me in rhythm and the counting distracts me from ruminating. The counting seems to slow my conscious mind to match the rhythm of the steps my body is taking. Try it, or some variation of that. Brisk walking is touted as an excellent type of physical exercise and one that is very beneficial to the brain, as well as the body.

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Brain and Blogs

I read your blogs regularly and am learning a lot. However, every once in a while (like today!) you miss a day. Fortunately, you catch up quickly but I want to know what happens to make you miss a day?

What happens? In a word: LIFE! I really dislike missing a day or two—fortunately, I am usually able to catch up quickly. What happens? I may be in another part of the world, the plane is delayed, or there is no available Wi-Fi. Or a friend of mine suddenly has a crisis and asks me if I can possibly help out, which I am happy to do. However, in order to stay healthy and keep my life in balance, I choose to go straight to bed after the emergency is under control. Or PG&E turned off electricity for several days . . . or my computer crashed very unexpectedly . . . I am glad to know you are learning things. You (and people like you) are the reason I keep writing blogs . . .