Wednesday, September 24, 2008

A Magnificent Mind

This is what just came in my email from Dr. Daniel Amen, MD. Dr. Amen is a psychiatrist who has written many books and sutided the special x ray images of many, many brains.

A Magnificent Mind Can Be Yours
I just finished filming a new PBS special based on my new book, Magnificent Mind At Any Age, that is coming out December 2nd. Over the next few months I will include snippets of the book and PBS show in our Brain in the News e-newsletter.

Here is a piece from Chapter 2: A Magnificent Mind Starts With A Healthy Brain...
“Brains run the world. They run the stock market and the local market. They run huge corporations and the “mom and pop shop” down the street. Brains run churches, banks, hotels, tennis clubs, dry cleaners, professional basketball teams, Internet dating services and universities. Brains run marriages, choirs, homeowner associations and terrorist groups. Your brain runs you and is significantly involved in running your family.

Yet, even though the brain is involved with everything we do at work and at home, we rarely think about or honor the brain. There is no formal education about the brain in MBA programs; no brain training programs at church; no brain exercises in customer service or management programs; and no real practical education about the brain in school. The lack of brain education is a huge mistake, because success in all we do starts with a healthy brain. The characteristics of a magnificent mind include personal responsibility, clear goals, good attention, consistent effort, effective social skills, impulse control, motivation, integrity and creativity. Yet, few people realize that all of these are brain functions. A healthy brain makes these characteristics easier to incorporate in your life, while a damaged or struggling brain makes these much harder.

Taking great care of your brain is essential to a magnificent mind. Here is an example. In one of the graduate psychology courses I taught I asked for volunteers for our healthy brain study. By the year 2000, we had amassed tens of thousands of SPECT scans for clinical reasons, such as ADHD, anxiety, depression, autism, Alzheimer’s disease, brain trauma, marital strife and violence. In order to further our research efforts we needed to build a large normal database to compare our clinical studies. I solicited normal people wherever I went. Surprisingly, they were not that easy to find. Christy, one of my favorite students, came up after class very excited. She said, “You have to scan my 82 year old grandmother, Anna. She is one of the most normal people I know. You will love her.” On Christy’s advice and her grandmother’s agreement, we screened Anna and indeed found her to be healthy. She met all of the criteria for the study: no psychiatric illness at any point in her life, no substance abuse, brain injuries, first degree relatives with psychiatric illness and she was not on any medications. Anna had been married for 58 years and was a loving wife, mother and grandmother. She had a sharp, curious mind and was active in her church and community. She had solid relationships that spanned many years. Anna never drank alcohol, never smoked and tried to eat healthy. Anna has one of the healthiest brains I had ever seen, out of nearly 50,000! Her brain fit her life.

The First Steps to a Healthier Brain

Most of us are never taught about how important the brain is, so we go through life thinking about everything but this critically important organ (weight, skin care, finances, children, internet dating, vacations, careers, sports). I live in Newport Beach, CA, the heart of the OC (Orange County). We have often been called the plastic society because we have more plastic walking around our streets and beaches than almost any other place in the world. I often say that we care more about our faces, our boobs, our bellies and our butts, than we do our brain. How stupid is that? When you really want to change, the first place to always start is with your brain.

In the weeks to come I'll be giving our Brain in the News family more peeks at the upcoming book and PBS Special, I'm very excited about it and I think both the book and TV Special have great information for helping you have a better brain and a better life - isn't that what we all want? Here's a quick look at the new book's chapter titles...

Part One: A Magnificent Mind Starts With A Healthy Brain

Chapter 1. Are You Wired for Success or Failure? The Secret Behind Why Some People Achieve Their Dreams and Others Don’t

Chapter 2. A Magnificent Mind Starts with a Healthy Brain: Essential Strategies

Chapter 3. Encourage Brain Envy: Eliminate the Daily Habits That Hold You Back

Chapter 4. Hidden Short Circuits May Be Ruining Your Life: Learn How to Identify and Correct Your Vulnerable Areas

Chapter 5. If Your Were My Family How Would I Treat You? The Four Circles of Health and Healing and Why You Should Consider Natural Treatments

Chapter 6. Natural Ways to Heal Attention Deficit Disorder

Chapter 7. Natural Ways to Heal Anxiety and Depression

Chapter 8. Natural Ways to Heal Memory Problems and Insomnia

Part Two: A Magnificent Mind Makes Your Dreams A Reality

Chapter 9. Ignite Your Passion: Light Up the Brain Circuits that Drive Success

Chapter 10. Make Your Own Miracles: Use Your Brain to Define Your Dreams and Make Them a Reality

Chapter 11. Know When to Apply the Brakes: Strengthen Your Brain’s Internal Controls

Chapter 12. Embrace the Truth: Liberate Yourself from the Lies Polluting Your Brain

Chapter 13. Get Unstuck: Enhance Your Brain’s Ability to Change and Adapt

Chapter 14. Develop Mental Toughness: Cultivate a Resilient Brain

Chapter 15. Enhance Your Social Networks: Build a Brain Trust

Chapter 16. Be a Maverick Thinker: Stop Anxiety from Allowing Others to Run Your Life

Chapter 17. Create Lasting Trust: Send the Signals that Build Integrity

I hope you'll be able to view the new PBS special when it comes out and thanks to the many who've been so supportive of the program airing currently. When we, individually and as a society, embrace a focus on developing healthier brains, good things can happen for us all.

To your brain health,


Daniel Amen, M.D.
CEO, Amen Clinics, Inc.
Distinguished Fellow, American Psychiatric Association

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Positive Thinking and Viruses

Hum.... I just got this from one of my list serves, HCP:

A recent
study published in Psychosomatic Medicine reveals that people
who choose to look at the glass as half full are 33% less likely
to get sick when exposed to a virus. Why? Positive emotions
prompt the release of chemicals that strengthen the immune system.

No wonder we all get sick, with whatever virus is floating around, when we are stressed! Get a notebook! Start writing down every negative thing. Look at the silver lining of the negative. Write it down. Focus on the silver lining part of the problem throughout your day. See if it makes a difference.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Journals and Diarys

Keep a journal. Call it a diary or whatever you want, but keep one.

I just rad an article in Yahoo about the oldest man in the world. This is part of what it said:

Tanabe, recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records as the oldest living male last year, eats mostly vegetables and believes the key to longevity is not drinking alcohol.

The former civil servant lives with his son, drinks milk every day and has no major illnesses, although he now writes in his diary only once or twice a month. He used to write on a daily basis.

Tanabe credits his long life to not drinking alcohol. But nowhere does he or the article credit that writing in his diary every day.

Let me tell you what a diary or a journal is. It is a a story of your life. If you keep writing in your journal/diary, you keep your story going. You don't want it to end. At least your life is interesting to YOU! And you are the most important person to please.

Even Rick Warren, minister and author of THE PURPOSE DRIVEN LIFE, says to keep a journal. Why? So that you learn lifes' lessons, God's lessons, quicker. You don't have to keep relearning things over and over and over. Who wants to do that?

When I keep a journal, it has been an invaluable source of learning about my life. You record not only the things that have happened, but your feelings as well. Try it.

When I don't keep a journal, when I get out of the habit, and it is a habit, my life simply isn't as rich. And that is not depressed.

If you are depressed,or going through a new stress, for sure start a journal. When I am depressed, or starting a new stress, keeping a journal gives me a feeling of power. At absolute worst, I become an observer of my life. I become rather interested in finding out how it turns out.

I have said this a bunch of times before, if you are depressed, especially if you are going through grief, get a dog and start a journal. It is that simple. Get a therapist too, get massages, get spiritual counseling, but allow it all to work quicker for you by having a dog that accepts you unconditionally, and a journal that allows you to be an active observer of your life.

Good Luck!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Prevent Heart Attacks and Strokes by Brushing Your Teeth!

If you didn't read this article in Yahoo News, you ought to. I read this research about ten years ago. It is a simple, simple way to prevent heart and artery problems. Get out that tooth brush, floss, go to your dental hygenist an dentist routinely!

How to avoid heart disease: brush your teeth, say scientists by Marlowe Hood
Wed Sep 10, 7:16 PM ET

Here's another reason to brush your teeth: poor dental hygiene boosts the risk of heart attacks and strokes, a pair of studies reported this week.

Heart disease is the number one killer worldwide, claiming upward of 17 million lives every year, according to the World Health Organization.

Smoking, obesity and high cholesterol are the most common culprits, but the new research shows that neglected gums can be added to the list.

"We now recognize that bacterial infections are an independent risk factor for heart diseases," said Howard Jenkins of the University of Bristol in Britain, at a meeting of the Society for General Microbiology in Dublin.

"In other words, it doesn't matter how fit, slim or healthy you are, you're adding to your chances of getting heart disease by having bad teeth," the professor said.

There are up to 700 different bacteria in the human mouth, and failing to scrub one's pearly whites helps those germs to flourish.

Most are benign, and some are essential to good health. But a few can trigger a biological cascade leading to diseases of the arteries linked to heart attacks and stroke, according to the new research.

"The mouth is probably the dirtiest place in the human body," Steve Kerrigan of the Royal College of Surgeons in Dublin said.

"If you have an open blood vessel from bleeding gums, bacteria will gain entry to your bloodstream."

Once inside the blood, certain bacteria stick onto cells called platelets, causing them to clot inside the vessel and thus decreasing blood flow to the heart.

"We mimicked the pressure inside the blood vessels and in the heart, and demonstrated that bacteria use different mechanisms to cause platelets to clump together, allowing them to completely encase the bacteria," he said.

This not only created conditions that can provoke heart attacks and strokes, it also shielded the bacteria from both, immune system cells and antibiotics.

"These findings suggest why antibiotics do not always work in the treatment of infectious heart disease," Jenkins said.

In separate research, a team led by Greg Seymour of the University of Otago Dunedin in New Zealand showed how other bacteria from the mouth can provoke atherosclerosis, a disease that causes hardening of the arteries.

All organisms -- including humans and bacteria -- produce "stress proteins," molecules produced by conditions such as inflammation, toxins, starvation, or oxygen deprivation.

One function of stress proteins is to guide other proteins across cell membranes.

But they can also can latch onto foreign objects, called antigens, and deliver then to immune cells, provoking an immune reactions in the body.

Normally, the body does not attack its own stress proteins.

But bacterial stress proteins -- which are similar -- do trigger a response, and once that has happened the immune system can no longer differentiate between the two, said Seymour.

"White blood cells can build up in the tissue of arteries, causing atherosclerosis," he explained in a phone interview.

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Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Chiropractic Activator Method

This is a picture of a chiropractic tool called the activator. If you are terrified of chiropractic, but have been told you really need an adjustment, or are still in pain for whatever reason, call around and find a chiropractor that uses the activator method. It is a very patient friendly, low impact method. There will be no popping. You will stay in one position. All parts of your body are easily adjusted with it. I prefer this method as a patient.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Emergency Evacuation

I adore Flylady! This is what she wrote for emergency evacuation. I live in the south, in Texas. Many of my friends live along the coast. But no matter where you live, it seems we all have to be concerned with the possiblity of emergency evacuation for one reason or another, from the natural (fires, snowstorms, hurricanes,flooding, etc.) to the unnatural (spilled toxic waste from overturned tanker trucks or railroad cars.) When disaster hits, your adrenalin can get drained quickly, and there goes your health--the one thing you most need in an evacuation setting! Check out this list, and see if it can help you in planning for your potential evacuation, and in so doing, drain less of your adrenalin when the time comes. Thanks Flylady!

FlyLady here; There is not any STUFF that is worth giving your life
for. Please evacuated when the authorities tell you too.

Here is an essay I wrote to help you be prepared. It is a check list.
Keep this in your Control Journal. Please spend 15 minutes right now
and start. Don't say this can never happen to you!

Dear Friends,

Here it is that time of year again when we are faced with the threat
of Evacuation from our homes. We never know when we this could happen
because of fire, train wreck, floods or hurricanes. It is up to us to
be prepared!

1. PEOPLE: Have a plan for getting out of the house and make sure
everyone knows it. Have an emergency bag of food and water for your
family. Include wholesome snacks and treats for the children: dried
fruit, nuts, peanut butter, crackers and granola bars.

2. PETS: Keep pet carriers and leashes readily available to lead pets
to safety. Also take pet food with you.

3. PICTURES: Keep negatives or CDs of pictures in a lock box or at a
family member's home. Have picture albums in one place ready to grab
and go at a moments notice.

4. PAPERS: Have all your important papers in a lock box at a bank and
only keep copies at the house. This keeps you from panicking. If you
have them at home then put them in a folder that you can easily grab
if you have to move fast. Color code it so you can find it!

5. PRESCRIPTIONS: Take your medications with you. Don't forget the
ones that have to be refrigerated like insulin. Have small ice chest
and cold packs readily accessible to pack and go. If you have babies;
remember their formula or medications.

6. PURSES and PETRO: This is where you keep your identification,
credit cards and cash. Keep a stash of cash for emergencies and grab
it. You may not be able to use an ATM in the event of a power outage.
Make sure your car always has a half a tank of gas.

7. PROPER CLOTHES and COMFORT ITEMS: According to the weather
conditions; gather up a change of clothes along with outer clothing:
coats, rain gear, boots, gloves and hats. If you have babies remember
diapers. Remember to grab your children's favorite blanket, stuffed
animal or toy. A game or a deck of cards could keep them occupied and
calm too.

8. PLANNER/CALENDAR/ CONTROL JOURNAL: These documents have all the
information you will need from phone numbers, insurance numbers and
important dates. They are small and filled with things you don't have
to try to remember.

9. PERSONAL PROTECTION: Many of us still have that time of the month.
Be sure and grab a box of your preferred protection. It may be hard to
find if you have been evacuated. Stress can cause our bodies to do
strange things too. So be prepared. Take medication for cramps too.

10. PHONES, RADIOS, FUEL FOR THE CAR: Many of us have cell phones now.
Always keep them charged up and have a charger in the car or an extra
battery. They may not work in the event of power outages, but then
they might. Know which local radio station has emergency bulletins.
Keep your battery powered radio tuned to that local station and have
plenty of batteries for it. Also keep a old type regular phone that
does not operate with electricity. GAS PUMPS don't work without power
either. You can't leave if your car is on empty. So keep your car fuel
tank topped off when it hits a half of tank. This way you will have
gas to drive at least a couple of hours. Evacuation routes are usually
bumper to bumper traffic. Having a tank filled will keep you less

11. PATIENCE: This is one of the most important things to pack. Keep
it inside of you so that you have a clear calm head. Having your P's
to Preparedness list guiding you will keep you patient. In the event
of an evacuation there will be lots of displaced people. Being patient
will make things less stressful. Your children need to see you calm
and collected. This will help keep them calm too.

We can FLY in the face of Danger and Emergency if we are prepared.
Don't wait till you are being asked to evacuate. Everyone thinks that
it could not happen to them. Well it could and it is up to you to make
sure you are prepared.

Don't wait! DO IT NOW!!