Dr Daniel Amen on TEDxOrangeCoast – Change your Brain, Change your Life

Change your mindset

Here are our notes from Dr Amen’s lectures:

Pre-frontal cortex – makes up 30% of the human brain

  • Executive function
  • Focus, forethought, judgement, empathy, learning from mistakes
  • Problems:
    • Impulse control problems
    • Not much empathy
    • Short attention span
    • Procrastinate
    • Don’t learn from mistakes
  • Low activity shows up in:
    • Smoking
    • Internet gambling
    • ADD (looking for stimulation)
    • Weak conscience
    • Low persistence
    • Low energy, depression
  • Suggestions for helping:
    • Write out goals – emotional, health, relationships, work, money, physical
    • Exercise – intense aerobic exercise
    • Diet – high protein, low carb diet
    • Fish oil – will increase energy and concentration
    • Need to boost dopamine levels – green tea,  L-tyrosine, Rhodiola

Cingulate Gyrus

  • Brain gear shifter,  go from idea to idea – flexible
  • See options, helps you to cooperate
  • Error detection
  • Problems:
    • Works too hard
    • Deficit in serotonin
    • People get stuck on a worry or obsession, hold grudge, compulsions, addictions
    • Always fault-finding, micro-managers, rigid and inflexible, oppositional
    • Looks on the surface to be selfish and inflexible
  • Suggestions for help:
    • Distract yourself – move when you see yourself stuck on a thought
    • Offer them options so they don’t feel trapped
    • Gratitude – 5 things I’m grateful for today
    • Diet – high carb, low protein
    • Boost serotonin with 5-HTP, L-tryptophan, St. John’s       Wort, Saffron, a little Dark Chocolate
    • Exercise – aerobic + coordination, e.g., dance

Limbic System – deep in brain

  • Emotional brain, mood
  • Sets the emotional tone – positive or negative
  • Bonding, connection
  • Processes pain,  smell, libido
  • Problems:
    • If works too hard, feel sad, depressed, negative, hopeless, helpless
    • ANT – automatic negative thoughts – have to correct and remove ANTs
    • Tend to isolate themselves
    • Less interested in things that are fun, have a lot of pain
  • Suggestions for help:
    • SAMe for depression and pain
    • Exercise 4 x per week at least
    • Fish oil – omega-3
    • Write it out – talk back to the distorted fact – is it true?

Prescriptions to make your Brain Great

Protect

  • Head injuries can ruin your life
  • Avoid toxic substances: alcohol, drugs, toxic fumes, medicines
  • Sleep – more than 6 hours per night
  • Brain diet – lean protein, complex carbs (green leafy      vegetables), good fat (omega-3, fish, avocados, walnuts)
  • Water
  • Multivitamin/mineral supplement
  • Fish oil supplement 1-2 grams/day (or flax seed oil for      vegetarians)

Best food choices for the brain

    1. Avocados
    2. Bueberries
    3. broccoli (folate)
    4. green tea (theonine)
    5. oatmeal
    6. oranges
    7. red bell peppers
    8. salmon
    9. spinach (B vitamins)
    10. tuna
    11. turkey
    12. walnuts (omega -3)

Eat from the rainbow – increase amount of antioxidants by eating from every colour.

Work your Brain

  • helps your brain make connections
  • learn things that are new and different – 15 minutes / day –      Lumosity.com, TEDx videos
  • exercise – boosts blood flow, BDNF (grow new neurons),      Serotonin – especially aerobic combined with coordination (e.g., dancing) – more than 2 times/week

 Prevent Alzheimer’s Disease

  • Risk factors – head injury, untreated ADD, depression, heart      disease, genetics, drink too much alcohol, obesity, smoking, diabetes
  • Need to get diagnosed early – Brain SPECT imaging can see 5      years before dementia starts to show – loss of smell identification (loss of strawberry, pineapple, lemon, natural gas)

 The following enhance brain health:

  • + social connections
  • New learning
  • Great diet
  • Sleep
  • Exercise
  • Physical healthy
  • Healthy anxiety (helps get things done)
  • Meditation
  • Gratitude
  • ANT killing

At 25 (males 28) the brain finishes developing

Also suggest visiting Dr. Mercola’s interview with Dr. Amen at: http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2012/10/28/psychiatry-needs-spect-imaging.aspx