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Can untreated high blood pressure increase your risk of Alzheimer’s disease later in life? Yes. Absolutely.

Untreated high blood pressure throughout life damages your brain by causing “hardening of your blood vessels” and increasing the number of abnormal #Alzheimer’s plaques; and that is why you will be more likely to become demented in your 80s.

Majid Fotuhi, MD PhD

July 12, 2018

 

Ref:

https://apnews.com/592702c1a39c4d48aa33b432dd330c26

Does our brain go through a remodeling during teenage years? Yes. Absolutely.

Our brain keeps making new cells and remodel pathways for balance, memory, and emotional control during early childhood. The last set of pruning, updating, and renovation of these neuronal pathways happen during teenage years. These substantial changes in the brain structure account for why teenagers may experience turmoil in their behavior and do things that don’t always make sense. Once these changes our completed, our brains are in top notch condition in our 20s. Beyond that, our brain maintains its ability for plasticity and repair; it changes for better or for worse, but not to the same degree that happens in our teenage years. 

Given that anatomical changes happen to the brains of teenagers, we (as parents) need to be patient with them. We need to allow them to find their new pathways in life and guide them to make good decisions. Also, we need to help them eat well, sleep well, and exercise a lot. And of course, we should help them avoid concussions or drug abuse.

Majid Fotuhi, MD PhD

July 3rd, 2018

Ref:

Our brains go through major remodeling during our teenagers. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/07/180702133855.htm

Is the simplistic concept that too much amyloid causes late-life Alzheimer’s correct? No. Absolutely not.

In 1960’s some researchers proposed the hypothesis that too much accumulation of a protein called Amyloid can cause shrinkage in the brain which then leads to dementia (called Amyloid Cascade Hypothesis).  Initially, it looked like we were finally going to cure Alzheimer’s disease once and for all. But more and more research failed to show that amyloid plaques “cause” brain shrinkage. Pharmaceutical companies spent billions of dollars on finding drugs that reduce levels of amyloid in the brain. They were successful in doing this, but the patients who took the drug did not improve. Many pharmaceutical companies finally realized that amyloid may not be the key target for prevention or treatment of Alzheimer’s disease, but the research community in this field keeps pushing the cascade hypothesis. 

I think Amyloid is likely a marker for damage to the brain, more so than being the culprit itself; it is the smoke, not the fire. Lack of sleep, concussion, and vascular risk factors have all been associated with too much amyloid in the brain. We need to focus on factors that have been shown to improve brain health, such as exercise, diet, and quality sleep for ways we can prevent late-life cognitive decline. 

 

Majid Fotuhi, MD

June 21, 2018

 

Ref:

https://www.sciencealert.com/we-might-been-wrong-what-kills-brain-cells-alzheimer-s-disease-beta-amyloid-tau-protein-app

Can too much alcohol prime your brain for getting Alzheimer’s disease? Yes. Absolutely.

Too much alcohol can shrink your brain. It can also impair your brain’s ability to clear the accumulation of toxic Alzheimer’s protein called amyloid, which will put you at risk for becoming demented.

Drinking one or two glasses of alcoholic beverages (maximum of one per day for women and two per day for men) can have some anti-inflammatory benefits for the brain and the heart. You should only consider drinking 1-2 glasses daily if you already exercise at least 45 minutes 4 times a week, sleep well 8 hours a night, have a low stress lifestyle, and keep challenging your brain on a daily basis. If you are not doing these things, then you should limit your drinking to social occasions on weekends only. 

If already have memory problems, you should not drink even one drop of alcohol. It will expedite the rate of your memory loss with aging. 

 

Majid Fotuhi, MD PhD

June 7th, 2018

 

Ref:

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/322037.php

Is there a link between frequent violent hits in hockey and risk of dementia late in life? Yes. Absolutely.

To say there is no link between severe concussions in hockey and risk of #dementia late in life (#CTE) is like saying there is no link between smoking and lung cancer. We need new rules to stop the violent hits in hockey.  Thousands of hit to the brain, in any sport, can lead to dementia later in life. I respectfully disagree with the NHL commissioner, Mr. Bettman.

 

Majid Fotuhi, MD PhD

Ref:

http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/hockey/ct-spt-brooks-orpik-concussion-20180603-story.html

Do patients with concussion, also known as mild TBI, receive adequate follow up care? No. Absolutely not.

About 3 million Americans have some symptoms due to concussion. Fewer than half of these patients are scheduled to receive follow up care. Even patients with multiple concussion do not receive adequate care, in part because the name “mild Traumatic Brain Injury” is misleading; there is nothing “mild” about having daily headaches, dizziness, nausea, difficulty doing simple tasks such as typing, cooking, or driving as well as not being able to read, understand, or manage your daily affairs.  But why is this?

Unfortunately, there are no guidelines on “standard of care” for concussion the same way we have standards on how to care for patients with diabetes, heart failure, multiple sclerosis, or hypertension. Moreover, physicians do not have any instructions on how to care for patients who often have multiple interacting symptoms such as irritability, insomnia, poor attention, and inability to organize their daily tasks. Those patients who do show up for regular follow-up care often get fragmented treatment by specialists who focus only one aspect of their symptoms (such as insomnia or attention – not taking full responsibility for all of their problems). 

Until we have standard guidelines and multi-disciplinary centers (such as our brain center) throughout the country, patients need to take an active role in caring for themselves. They need to appreciate that their lingering symptoms can be treated and should insist on getting effective interventions that will end their misery – even if this means seeing multiple specialists and multiple treatment program.  They should not accept their symptoms as their new “norm.” They should fight to get back to their usual self.

 

Majid Fotuhi, MD PhD

May 27, 2018

https://consumer.healthday.com/cognitive-health-information-26/traumatic-brain-injury-1002/little-follow-up-for-many-concussion-patients-734198.html

Can running 30 minutes a day improve your mood, sleep, focus, and memory? Yes. Absolutely.

Many recent studies have shown that running, by increasing blood flow and boosting levels of growth factors in your brain, can improve your mood, sleep, focus, and memory.  Running is the only way we know of to increase the number of your brain cells (neurogenesis) in the memory center of your brain (hippocampus). Even walking one mile a day can reduce your risk of Alzheimer’s disease by 48%.

 

Majid Fotuhi, MD PhD

May 27, 2018

 

Ref:

https://www.middletownpress.com/technology/businessinsider/article/The-amazing-benefits-running-has-for-your-body-12877764.php

Is it possible to grow new neurons in your brain even if you are old? Yes. Absolutely.

Here are some of the ways that you can increase the size of your brain, in part by growing new neurons and in part by growing new blood vessels, new connections, and new synapses:

  • Get fit — people who walk at least one mile a day reduce the risk of getting Alzheimer’s by 48 percent simply by increasing the amount of oxygen to their brain.
  • Eat a Mediterranean diet — rich in vegetables, fruits, whole grains, beans, nuts, olive oil and fish and low in red meat, processed foods, poultry and dairy, eating a Mediterranean diet will make your mind sharper in six months and less susceptible to Alzheimer’s.
  • Have a purpose in life; follow your passion — studies show that people who have a sense of purpose in life can harbor significant amounts of Alzheimer’s pathology in their brain without showing the symptoms.
  • Take omega-3 supplements — omega-3fatty acids are highly concentrated in the brain and are important for healthy cognitive and behavioral functions.
  • Learn new things — the process of learning and acquiring new information and experiences can stimulate new brain cell growth.
  • Sleep well — poor sleep is a risk factor for cognitive
  • Meditate — a general consensus concerning cognitive decline has led many scientists to search for new preventive strategies, with growing evidence that meditation can serve as a potential tool.

Majid Fotuhi, MD PhD

May 26, 2018

 

Ref:

Can You Grow Your Brain?

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