Brain Trust

You probably don’t play football, but this blog has something to do with all of us. I am in Chicago, where the NFL Draft is taking place as I write this. On the airplane flying here, I saw the film “Concussion” starring Will Smith as the medical coroner and researcher who first identified head trauma as an identifiable condition for athletes. The New York Times just published an article by Scott Martelle, citing a study released by the American Academy of Neurology, which found that 40% of retired pro football players suffer from some degree of brain injury.

If you saw “Concussion” you know that the explanation is that the human skull was never designed to withstand repeated blows. Some mammals that boast horns and antlers also have shock absorbers built in so that head butting does not cause brain injury. Apparently humans were not designed with this same protection, so multiple small bleeds can occur, and certain proteins get released. In a webinar on the subject I learned that these proteins might turn on an inflammatory response in the immune system.

Over time, this produces a type of dementia because the neurological connections in the brain are interrupted. Think of it like pouring coffee on your keyboard. The software is not damaged, but the connections are interrupted.

Caught early enough, and treated with the correct natural medicine, the damage could be minimized, according to the webinar. But so often the damage is extensive before symptoms appear.

This is perhaps even more dangerous for younger players, whose developing brains may put them more at risk. Chiropractors have warned against kids playing football for years, because of the intense strain on tendons, muscles and bones, which could introduce a young boy to a lifetime of difficulties. And now there is even more reason to re-think football for young players.

Even if you are not a parent, or a player, there is something to consider about these new findings. If you have never seen anyone with Alzheimer’s or dementia, you may not realize the devastation wreaked by these brain disorders. Not only does the person affected have a declining quality of life, they may become violent and difficult to handle. Instead of being loving parents and grandparents, enjoying their elder years, they can become almost unrecognizable in temperament and personality.

Alzheimer’s made the news recently when Will Farrell pulled out of a comedy film based on President Ronald Reagan’s struggle with the disorder. Here is what Reagan’s daughter, Patty Davis, wrote to Will Farrell, “Alzheimer’s is the ultimate pirate, pillaging a person’s life and leaving an empty landscape behind,” Ms. Davis, 63, wrote in her blog Thursday. “It sweeps up entire families, forcing everyone to claw their way through overwhelming grief, confusion, helplessness, and anger. Perhaps for your comedy you would like to visit some dementia facilities. I have — I didn’t find anything comedic there, and my hope would be that if you’re a decent human being, you wouldn’t either.”

So, we all need to protect the health of our brains, and it is not too late to start. are a few basics you can apply now.

1) First, stop using any personal products or cooking utensils that contain aluminum. When I researched the effects of aluminum on WebMD, there were dozens of studies documenting the horrific effects of this toxic metal on nerve and brain healthy. Choose porcelain, stainless steel, glass or iron pots and pans. For non-aluminum deodorants, shop at Health food stores or see a list here.

2) Eat organic and unprocessed foods to avoid toxic chemicals and pesticides, which are neurotoxins. The only way to escape from a sea of neurotoxins in our food supply is to get smart about the foods you choose. Neurotoxins disrupt or destroy the capacity of our nervous systems to pass information along nerve and brain pathways. That is the wiring for how our bodies are run. If someone cuts that wires from the electrical control panel in your house, there is no surprise that the lights won’t come on. Eating foods containing neurotoxins is like letting someone erode away at your internal wiring. The lights don’t just go out at death. They can become dimmer and dimmer. And toxins can also affect mood and attitude towards life, so if you are suffering, you may need a detoxification program.

3) Eat plenty of healthy fats. The brain contains a lot of fat and the nerve cells are protected by an envelope composed of fats. So, one theory about the current epidemic of brain disorders is that we have not been eating enough of the right kinds of fats for the past 60 years since the non-fat craze started. Corn oil is pro-inflammatory and Fish Oil is anti-inflammatory. Eliminate corn and canola oil and include coconut, olive and fish oil in your cooking. Be sure to eat fats raw and uncooked as well, such as organic butter and raw nuts. Frankincense Essential Oil may provide some health benefits for the brain.

4) Watch alcohol, drug and medication use. Not only do drugs and alcohol affect the brain, but they strain the detoxification pathways in the liver and kidneys, causing the whole body to be more toxic as a whole.

5) Maintain a healthy weight and balanced blood sugar levels. An overweight or obese body is usually a body with inflammation and insulin resistance. The earlier this is handled, the better. Inflammation means that the immune system is constantly “on” and does not get a chance to calm and switch off. This is a perfect recipe for burnout, and we all need all the help we can get from our immune systems.

Healthy brains begin in the womb. For all of us, taking care of the brain has become a priority, given the rising epidemic of brain disorders. To keep your wits about you, be smart and do a detoxification program and follow the tips above. By the time symptoms hit you, it may be too late to reverse the damage. We have plenty of grey matter, and brains should easily last a lifetime. To stay connected to your loved ones, you have to keep your own wiring in working order. We can help. Call us. 818-562-1400.