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

Here are some notes collected from various Dr. Daniel Amen 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
    • Procrastination
    • Not learning from mistakes
  • Low pre-frontal cortex activity shows up in:
    • Smoking
    • Internet gambling
    • ADD (looking for stimulation)
    • Weak conscience
    • Low persistence
    • Low energy, depression
  • Suggestions for helping thinking/executive function:
    • 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,  goes from idea to idea – flexible
  • Sees options, helps you to cooperate
  • Detects Errors
  • Problems:
    • Works too hard
    • Area where people can get stuck on a worry or obsession, compulsions, addictions or hold grudges
    • Fault-finding, micro-managing, rigid and inflexible, oppositional
    • Looks on the surface to be selfish and inflexible
    • With major depressive disorder, low serotonin in area of anterior cingulate gyrus
  • 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 Brain and Body

  • 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), healthy fats (omega-3, organic extra-virgin olive oil, wild-caught, low mercury and low PCB fish, avocados, walnuts)
  • Clean spring Water
  • Quality multivitamin/mineral supplement
  • Purified Fish oil supplement 1-2 grams/day (or algae oil which contains both EPA and DHA, if you are vegan or vegetarian)

Good food choices for the brain (Choose organic if possible)

    1. Avocados
    2. Bueberries
    3. Broccoli (contains folate)
    4. Green tea (contains L-theanine)
    5. Oatmeal (avoid if your personal health conditions require a grain-free diet)
    6. Oranges
    7. Red bell peppers
    8. Salmon (wild-caught)
    9. Spinach (the folate and other B vitamins are good for brain)
    10. Turkey (organically raised, pastured)
    11. Walnuts (omega -3)

Eat from the rainbow – increase amount of antioxidants by eating from every colour. The Mediterranean diet is great for this – 7 to 10 servings of fresh vegetables and fruits daily, preferably in season.

Work your Brain

  • Helps your brain make new connections. Also further embeds all memories
  • learn things that are new and different – 15 minutes / day –      Lumosity.com, TEDx videos
  • Exercise – boosts blood flow, BDNF (helps grow new neurons),  boosts Serotonin – especially aerobic combined with coordination (e.g., dancing. Do this 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:

  • Positive social connections
  • New learning
  • Great diet
  • Sleep
  • Exercise
  • Physical healthy
  • Healthy anxiety (helps get things done)
  • Meditation
  • Gratitude
  • Challenge your ANTs (Autonomic Negative Thoughts). Positive thinking helps to change your brain’s neuronal pathways in a good way.

At 25 (males 28) the brain finishes developing

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