How Does the Brain Affect Our Lives? (Part 22)

A Book Review: Younger Brains, Sharper Brains by Eric R. Braverman, M.D.

by Maggie Dail, M.A., Learning Specialist

We have finally arrived at Braverman’s final chapter and recommendations:

Chapter 14- The Daily Smarts

Once you have followed the six steps, Braverman recommends the Daily Smarts:

Stimulate brain and body with daily exercise

Monitor diet and mood by keeping a journal

Actively engage in life to stay mentally fit

Read something every day to increase intelligence

Take your medication, nutrients, and hormone therapies as prescribed.

Sleep to restore and reset your brain. P. 253

I recommend that you purchase this book to get the many specifics that I left out including the Braverman Brain Advantage Test.

What parts of this book have you found helpful?

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How Does the Brain Affect Our Lives? (Part 21)

A Book Review: Younger Brains, Sharper Brains by Eric R. Braverman, M.D.

by Maggie Dail, M.A., Learning Specialist

Part III – Your Brain, Your Body

Chapter 13 – Reversing Disease Makes You Smarter

Braverman reminds us that “almost every illness of the body wears down the brain. The brain burns up when metabolism is out of control; it swells in an inflammatory response to an immune system issue; it dries out as it calcifies from bone density loss; it rusts from exposure to metals and toxins and it gets choked to death from a diminished ” P. 229

“This is why the cascade of poor health is so often experienced in the following order of events.

  • Loss of brain power and speed
  • Loss of visual, verbal, and working memory
  • Loss of complex attention
  • Loss of cognition, abstract thinking ability, inductive reasoning, and spatial orientation
  • Glands and organs of the body begin to fail” p. 230-231

The body ages when brain speed declines– over the next few pages Braverman lists the physical health breakdowns and the brain chemical deficiency. P. 231-233

Then on pages 234-235, Braverman has a chart that shows diseases that affect cognition.

Frequently, he has mentioned things like, “By following the Braverman Protocol, you can take your health into your own hands by first making small but significant lifestyle changes.” P. 236

Dr. Braverman spends extra time on the following: cancer, chronic pain, diabetes, elevated cholesterol levels, hypertension (high blood pressure), multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, seizures and epilepsy, sickle cell disease, stroke, thyroid disorders.” P. 237-248

One interesting thing Braverman said: “Seizures occur on a continuum: anxiety, depression, insomnia and panic are on one end, and epilepsy on the other.” P. 243

“Brain Training reverses tinnitus” according to a Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis (2011) p. 243

Dr. Braverman counsels the reader to “work with your doctor to reverse disease and restore your memory.” He says to “start with the very best physical.’ He lists 12 different ultrasounds and scans that he would include in such a physical. P. 248-250

After dealing with life-threatening conditions, Dr. Braverman would use his “steps of care” using the mildest options first and progressing as needed. P. 250-251

Next time we will finish up the last chapter of the book with Braverman’s “Daily SMARTS.”

How Does the Brain Affect Our Lives? (Part 20)

A Book Review: Younger Brains, Sharper Brains by Eric R. Braverman, M.D.

by Maggie Dail, M.A., Learning Specialist

Chapter 12: Step Six – Brain-Balancing Medications

We have finally arrived at Braverman’s sixth and final step for “preserving and improving memory and attention.” (cover)

Braverman spends this chapter listing medications that he uses with his patients when other things do not work by themselves. These medications enhance the brain chemicals mentioned in this book.

  • GABA medications lessen anxiety and increase confidence
  • Anti-depressants are common types of serotonin-enhancing medications
  • Aspirin may be good for your thinking
  • Other medicines restore memory
  • Dopamine medications help increase attention
  • Cholinesterase inhibitors may help improve Alzheimer symptoms
  • Leptin – enhancing medications help balance your brain chemistry
  • “Medical Marijuana Won’t Help Your Thinking” – while he has used the pill form with a small set of his patients, he still considers it a “neurotoxin”

This reviewer is not a medical doctor and for her, personally, prefers using all of the other possibilities before taking prescribed medications.

We are set to finish up with Part III – Your Brain, Your Body

How Does the Brain Affect Our Lives? (Part 19)

A Book Review: Younger Brains, Sharper Brains by Eric R. Braverman, M.D.

by Maggie Dail, M.A., Learning Specialist

 

Chapter 11- Step Five: Natural Hormones Jump-Start Quick Thinking

“The correlation is particularly important because your hormones control different aspects of cognition at each of the developmental stages of life.”

  • Highest peak for memory and attention – just after puberty – increase of hormones
  • Memory and attention wane at hormonal decline – menopause or andropause p. 195-196

“Bioidentical hormone supplements work as nutrients that feed an aging brain.” P. 196

Different hormones decline at different ages.

Nonbioidentical hormones to avoid: Methyltosterone (Android, Testred, Virlon); Conjugated estrogens (Prempro, Premarin); Medroxprogesterone (Provera); Cadaver growth hormones (cadaver-GH); birth control pills Highlighted text box, p. 199

19 Hormones You Need to Know –  From A (Aldosine) to V (Vitamin D) – Braverman introduces the reader to each of these 19 hormones.p. 199-206

Natural Hormones are one choice for menopausal women – “We now know that MCI and menopause are dynamically related.” P. 206 Braverman writes about “what menopause looks like” and that “perimenopause precedes menopause.” Then he speaks of “men menopause too.” P. 208-211

Next time: Step Six – Brain-Balancing Medications

How Does the Brain Affect Our Lives? (Part 18)

A Book Review: Younger Brains, Sharper Brains by Eric R. Braverman, M.D.

by Maggie Dail, M.A., Learning Specialist

Chapter 10: Step Four: Exercises That Boost Your Brain

Health Benefits of Physical Exercise Include:

  • Losing weight and keeping it off
  • Improving sexual function
  • Strengthening cardiovascular health
  • Maintaining bone density
  • Improving brain function

“If you constantly engage in mental and physical activities, particularly those that get more difficult as you progress, you can increase your cognitive reserve.” P. 178

  • Braverman Brain Workout –choose a domain or domains
  1. Enhancing Memory –Visual Memory
    1. Drawing maps from home to varying locations – farther and farther away
    2. Take 5 playing cards from a deck; look one at a time; memorize number and suit; turn cards over and write down what you saw and in the correct order; keep adding.
    3. Select a photo (album, Facebook etc.); Write down as many details as possible from memory
  2. Enhancing Memory– Verbal Memory
    1. Listen to the news for 2 minutes. Write everything you remember. Add more time as you go.
    2. Think of songs that contain the word blue in the title or lyrics. Keep adding; after 4 days go on to another word.
    3. Memorize a haiku, repeat from memory. Increase in complexity.
  3. Enhancing Memory -Improve your Immediate Memory
  4. At bed time make a list of everything you ate that day.
  5. Close eyes and describe what you are wearing; more challenging describe what others are wearing.
  6. List 5 people you spoke to during the day. Gradually increase the number.
  7. Enhancing Memory-Improve Your Working Memory
  8. Using an address book or e-mail contact list; remind yourself how each person looks and when you saw them last.
  9. Write down how much money you spent during each transaction.
  10. Chunking sorts large amounts of information into subgroups. For example: a grocery list can be remembered by what is in each aisle. P. 182-182
  11. Enhancing Attention
  12. Tapping a table as many times as possible in 30 seconds; increases by 15 seconds until you get to 2 minutes – faster all of the time.
  13. Practice reading with different kinds of background sound – music, news programs, etc. Increase by 5 minutes each time.
  14. Play: Game of Five Differences – looking at two images with 5 differences (apps available). Begin with 2 minutes and reduce gradually to 15 seconds.
  15. Take a walk – increase your speed as you progress.p. 183
  16. Enhancing IQ –
  17. Abstract IQread a newspaper from cover to cover.
  18. Creative IQ – Flexibility “What if…challenges.
  19. Emotional IQ – getting out of the house; listening to lectures or sermons
  20. Perceptive IQ – be a good role model and teacher p. 184

 

Braverman also includes activities for becoming more sensitive or intuitive; becoming more rational and how to break bad habits. P. 185-186

He suggests rotating through the types of activities on different days of the week.

  • Braverman Recommendations for Physical Activities
  • “The point is to get out of your comfort zone for as little as 15 minutes to see what sparks your interest.” P. 187
  • Addresses anxiety and depression
  • Increases serotonin and GABA
  • Aerobics increases blood flow p. 188
  • You need muscle mass for better thinking
  • Competitive sports make you think faster p. 189
  • Consistently increase expectation; but not to the point of pain.
  • Braverman cautions by asking a series of questions to determine whether you are ready to exercise (heart condition, pregnancy, dizziness, bone or joint – etc. ask doctor) p. 190
  • Mix it up – a routine should not be the same all the time for ever. p. 190
  • The PATH to Exercise – 5 Phase Program
  1. Stretching and warm-up – work up to walking 15 minutes daily
  2. Dynamic combinations of stretches that induce blood flow and heart pumping.p. 191
  3. Aerobic/cardiovascular training – rhythm and synchrony of whole body. P. 192
  4. Weight lifting/resistance training – for bones and muscles
  5. Cross-training – combines #3 and #4.

Braverman gives further advice that will maximize this process. P. 193-194

Next Braverman talks about Step Five: Natural Hormones Jump-Start Quick Thinking

How Does the Brain Affect Our Lives? (Part 17)

A Book Review: Younger Brains, Sharper Brains by Eric R. Braverman, M.D.

by Maggie Dail, M.A., Learning Specialist

Step 3 – Diet and Nutrition (continued)

Now for Braverman’s 10 Rules for a Younger, Smarter You:

  1. Add spices to every meal (provides nutrients and antioxidants plus it allows your foods to metabolize better – He lists 24 herbs and spices from A(allspice) to T(turmeric). 1 teaspoon of dried herbs equals 3 teaspoons of fresh. P. 149-152.
  2. The right caffeine improves cognition –should be regular, but not excessive – daily in moderate doses; tea is better than coffee or caffeinated sodas; most research on Green Tea – “can increase metabolism, decrease appetite, and provide energy for exercise. It is also linked to preventing a host of diseases that are associated with cognitive decline, from heart disease to cancer to allergies and diabetes.” These teas have brain-enhancing properties: Chamomile, Lemon balm, passion flower and roobibos. P. 152-154
  3. Eat yogurt every day to enhance brain speed – Braverman recommends low over no fat and Greek version as they are less processed. Avoid flavored varieties because of sugar content. Can create a smoothie adding some fresh fruit. P. 154-155
  4. Lean Proteins create the most brain power – “The foods you eat influence levels of both glucose and insulin, and their levels affect your ability to think clearly.” p. 155-156

Top 5 Brain-Boosting Snacks:  (highlighted text box on p. 155)

  • 1 handful of raw, unsalted nuts
  • 1-2 hard boiled eggs
  • ½ hummus and raw carrots
  • 8 oz. of unflavored low-fat Greek Yoghurt with fresh fruit, ice, and whey protein
  1. Kick the sugar habit. – First – switch to sugar substitute; Then – reduce by half each time to remove from diet. P. 156-157
  2. Choose fiber-filled foods to cleanse your body – good sources: oats, beans, dried peas, fruits, vegetables and legumes. To promote regularity and soft stools: wheat bran, whole grain products and vegetables, especially leafy green. P. 157-158
  3. Drink Water – p. 158
  4. Eat colorful fruits and vegetable to slow cognitive decline: red, orange and yellow, green, blue, violet and purple. P. 158-159
  5. Choose High-Quality Produce – local and organic p. 159-160
  6. Include all three basic food groups (carbs, protein, and fats) at every meal. P. 160-161

Regional Specialties are also brain-boosting agents – Braverman continues this step with charts on dining in Africa, Asia, Central and South America, and Europe. He continues with helpful points on what questions to ask when eating out. P. 161-167

Dr. Braverman provides charts of nutrients that make you smarter. He recommends a supplement called “Revertrol.” He calls it “Reverse it all.” P. 168-169

Choose Treats Wisely – but don’t overdo: blueberries, cranberry juice,  dark chocolate, grapes, hops, peanuts, pistachios, pomegranate juice, port and sherry, red grape juice, red wine, white grape juice, white wine. P. 169 – highlighted text box.

Braverman finishes his discussion of Step 3 by listing nutrients that lower stress, fight depression, encourage faster thinking, and boost attention. P. 170-174

He recommends the following supplements for “enhancing exercise performance:” Coenzyme 10, Creatine, Glocosmine and/ or chondroitin, Glutamine, L-carnitine and whey protein. P. 174-175

He also reminds us that “not all supplement brands are equal.”  He has his own brand: Total Health Nutrients available on www.pathmed.com p. 175

Next time we will learn about Step Four: Exercises That Boost Your Brain

 

How Does the Brain Affect Our Lives? (Part 16)

A Book Review: Younger Brains, Sharper Brains by Eric R. Braverman, M.D.

by Maggie Dail, M.A., Learning Specialist

Step Three: Diet and Nutrition for a Younger, Smarter You

Currently, studies explore the link between dementia to obesity. Leptin (from Greek leptos = thin) is a hormone whose receptors are in the hypothalamus, a part of the brain that works with the endocrine system to regulate hunger and metabolism. “As you age, your body can become resistant to the leptin message…”P. 136, 137

Nutrients that positively affect Leptin (highlighted text box p. 139)

  • Acetyl-L-carnitine
  • Carnitine (easily found in a powder)
  • Conjugated linoleic acid
  • Integra-Lean irvingia
  • Melatonin
  • Omega-3 fatty acids
  • Resveratrol
  • Vitamin D

Braverman references his earlier book, The Younger (Thinner) You Diet as a plan to lose weight correctly, slowly and permanently. It encourages nutrient dense foods, especially a proper leptin level. He encourages eating as much as you can of these things: (p. 140)

  • Apples
  • Berries
  • Broccoli
  • Carrots
  • Coconut oil
  • Cruciferous vegetables
  • Eggs
  • Flaxseed oil
  • Leafy greens
  • Lean meats
  • Low-fat yogurt
  • Olive Oil
  • Oranges
  • Pears
  • Plums
  • Poultry
  • Salmon and other fatty fish
  • Spinach
  • Unsalted almonds

White foods (breads, pasta, rice, pastries and potatoes) are simple carbohydrates that metabolize quickly into sugars and then into fat. Complex carbohydrates are much better since they take longer to metabolize. “And, more important, they (complex) supply the body and brain with glutamine, the amino acid that is the precursor to GABA.” Inositol is also great. P. 141

Foods high in both glutamine and inositol are the best choices: p. 142

  • Bananas
  • Beef liver and other organ meets
  • Broccoli
  • Brown rice
  • Citrus fruits
  • Halibut
  • Lentils
  • Spinach
  • Tree nuts
  • Whole grain products

Braverman gives a list of foods with tryptophan to choose when you are blue (avacodo, chicken, chocolate, cottage cheese, duck, egg, pork, turkey and wheat germ). P. 142, 143

For better memory (acetylcholine):  almonds, beef, broccoli, broccoli rabe, cabbage, egg, fish, hazelnuts, beef and chicken liver, peanuts and peanut butter, tofu, wheat germ.  P. 143-144

Choosing Healthy Fats – “Diets that are high in saturated fat and cholesterol are significantly linked to an increase of dementia, while diets high in healthier fat choices, such as omega-3 fatty acids and olive oil, are linked to a significantly reduced risk of dementia.” P. 144-145

He also includes lists of: best dairy products, foods that help you focus and foods to avoid in order to focus. P 146-148

Next time we continue to look at this step and learn Braverman’s “10 Rules For a Younger, Smart You.”

How Does the Brain Affect Our Lives? (Part 15)

A Book Review: Younger Brains, Sharper Brains by Eric R. Braverman, M.D.

by Maggie Dail, M.A., Learning Specialist

Step Two: Smart Life Style Changes

While we may have heard about some of these life style changes, small changes can help.

  • Sleep a minimum of 7 consecutive hours, in a dark room reserved for sleeping
  • Finish eating at least 3 hours before bedtime; drink much during the day, but limit fluids especially caffeinated later in the day
  • Massages – many lengths – 15-90 minutes; many types: aromatherapy, deep-tissue, hot stone, sports, Swedish, trigger point
  • Quiet meditation- including prayer
  • Breathe deeply
  • Music – to improve mood and memory
  • Technology stimulates the brain – Lumosity, Posit Science, Brain Age and Big Brain, Merriam Webster (reviewer’s note: We using Scientific Learning’s Fast ForWord and Reading Assistant Plus as well as Hearbuilder with our clients)
  • Texting is better on cell phones due to the radiation emissions
  • Manage Stress with heart monitor
  • Cranial Electrical Stimulation to treat mood and memory
  • Chelation – detox method

Not all of these are for everyone, but some are for most.

Next time we will cover Step Three: Diet and Nutrition for a Younger, Smarter You