June 2020 Issue - Pink Prescriptions
Maintaining optimal brain health gives us lifelong cognitive power.
Not only does the human brain control bodily functions, it is the most powerful “computer” on earth,
which helps us to understand and grasp the world around us with a full range of thoughts,
feelings and emotions. Keeping your brain in tip top condition is imperative for quality of life.
Think about it! Knowledge is power, especially when it comes to the brain.
Meet our panel of local brain health and wellness experts, as they give us the facts on protecting
our beautiful bustling brains and discuss needed tools for maintaining optimal
levels of brain clarity and function.
Harold L. Kent, MD, Bariatric & General Surgery, is owner of Georgia Coast Surgical Med Spa & More
I seem to be forgetting things more often, could I be getting dementia?
Can medical products such as Prevagen help brain health?
We tend to forget things as we age, it’s just a normal part of the process according to the NIH National Institute on Aging. Realizing we forget usually means we are not getting senile or demented.
Dementia can include memory loss, difficulty in communication, anxiety, hallucinations and mood swings. A person with dementia may wander, get lost and may unknowingly engage in dangerous behaviors. Approximately 3 million cases per year are diagnosed in the United States. Alzheimer’s disease is the leading cause and includes frequent and chronic difficulties in mental functioning--not just occasionally forgetting where your car keys are. It is due to deposition of proteins in the brain and brain atrophy. Other causes of dementia include arteriosclerosis, metabolic disorder, infections with high fever, certain medications, vitamin deficiencies, alcohol abuse, poisoning, cancer—primarily brain cancer or metastases—and diseases such as Parkinson’s and Huntington’s. (resource: Focus Medica)
Dementia will limit a person’s ability to function normally at many levels including the ability to live alone and perform activities of daily living which are second nature to normally functioning individuals. Demented patients may require around the clock care from one or more caregivers, or even require admission to a memory care unit.
Locally, Memory Matters of Glynn is an excellent resource for families caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s, or other types of brain disease resulting in dementia. There are some ways to help promote brain health on a routine basis. Working crossword puzzles and engaging in other activities that stimulate brain activity can be of value. Once a person slips toward a diagnosis of dementia, things such as occupational therapy and organized group activities can help to provide a framework to maintain brain health at its best.
Some underlying causes of dementia, such as infection, nutritional issues, etc., can be treated. Good sleep hygiene and regular hours for sleep can sometimes help with certain symptoms. Since elderly people often take a lot of different medications, sometimes changing or eliminating some medications will help to improve their symptoms of dementia. Medications used to treat dementia range from ones that function within the nervous system, including Aricept, Razadyne and Namenda. At times it may be useful to use anti-psychotic medications, such as Risperdal and others.
And, Prevagen (Apoaequorin) has been advertised extensively for treating age related mental decline. According to WebMD, there is only one published study which shows no effect on memory. Perhaps it is best thought of in the “chicken soup” category. It might not hurt, and it could help.
Harold L. Kent, MD, Bariatric & General Surgery, is owner of Georgia Coast Surgical Med Spa & More; 3226-F Hampton Avenue, Brunswick. Call 912-264-9724 or www.Georgiacoastsurgical.com. Facebook: Georgia Coast Surgical & Med Spa.
Lori A. Trefts, M.D. — Southeast Georgia Physician Associates-Neurology,
When should I seek medical attention for a headache?
If you have a headache that is significantly more severe, frequent, or different in character from your baseline headaches. If you are having the worst headache of your life. And if you are having a headache associated with neurologic symptoms such as vision loss, dizziness, alteration in speech, numbness, weakness, or imbalance.
First aid for head injuries: “I hit my head, what should I do if”
...I have a bump or lump
...I am seeing stars
...I cannot think straight
Any head injury with alteration of mental status, or loss of consciousness, is considered to be a concussion. If the head injury was minor and the alteration in thinking is brief and quickly returns to baseline, you can elect for non-emergent follow-up with your primary care physician. If you have a prolonged loss of consciousness or persistent alteration in mental status, or headache or other focal neurologic symptoms such as asymmetric pupils, vision loss, dizziness, alteration in speech, numbness, weakness, or imbalance, then you should seek medical care at an urgent care or ER. If you are on a blood thinner, you should be more cautious and should consider evaluation at an ER or urgent care with any head injury.
What are the symptoms of a concussion and what should I do?
A concussion is any head injury with alteration in mental status or loss of consciousness. After a concussion people may have headaches, dizziness, difficulty thinking, difficulty sleeping, change in mood, and/or imbalance. These symptoms generally resolve within a few days, but in some cases can last weeks or months. The most important thing after a concussion is to decide whether to seek medical care, which I have addressed above. Additionally, you should do everything you can to prevent a recurrent head injury, which includes wearing your seatbelt, wearing a helmet, and avoiding all contact sports until after the symptoms of the concussion have completely resolved.
Lori A. Trefts, M.D., is with Southeast Georgia Physician Associates-Neurology, strategic practice partners of the Southeast Georgia Health System. 2500 Starling Street, Suite 503, Brunswick; 912.466.5503.
Diane G. Bowen, MD – Centered On Wellness
What are best practices to help stimulate
my brain in everyday memory?
The GI tract is called the “second brain” and that is because our gut makes all the same neurotransmitters that our brain does. The connection between the two is called the Gut Brain Axis (GBA). Dysfunctional gut is connected to our attitude and mental function and are reflected in depression, anxiety, and mental fog. Gut issues have been linked to neurologic issues like multiple sclerosis and even Alzheimer’s.
To improve our memories, we should focus on activities that help our GI tract function at its best. Some simple steps include:
Hydration: Make sure you stay well-hydrated, which will help keep things moving. Normal bowl function means that at least daily you should be moving out what went in over the past 24 hours.
Exercise: Shown to be as effective as antidepressants. Exercise stimulates the brain, which helps in learning. Exercise also plays a key role in getting a good night’s sleep. In our increasingly sedentary world people are mentally tired, but physically wired and lay awake at night with racing thoughts. A brisk walk after dinner before you go to bed will go a long way to help your body achieve the balance it craves and help you achieve refreshing, energizing sleep that you require.
> Magnesium, especially the magnesium theronate form. It appears to be the most bioavailable of the many forms of magnesium and helps your body manage stress.
> Omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil capsules helps your brain fight stress, as they dampen the pro-inflammatory cell messengers (cytokines). The less your brain inflammation, the better your memory.
> A bioavailable form of a B complex is also essential to brain health and function. Look for methyl B12 and methyl B9 folate. Avoid cyanocobalamin and folic acid, as these are not as easily used by your body.
> Optimizing your vitamin D to above 50 ng/ml is essential to a non-stressed vibrant mental state.
> Adaptogens such as Ashwagandha, Rhodiola and Ginseng are herbal option, which support a healthy adrenal axis and stress response, improving memory and function.
Remember that a happy gut equals a sharp mind.
Diane G. Bowen, MD, is owner of Centered on Wellness – 1015 Arthur J. Moore Dr., SSI. Available now for personal virtual appointments to achieve your optimum wellness. Call 912.638.0034. Dr. Bowen is also owner of Golden Isles Center for Plastic Surgery at the same location; 912.634.1993.
Deborah Riner, C.Ht. — Coastal Hypnosis Center
How can Hypnosis help modify my brain health?
Ever feel as though your brain is on “overload” with just too many thoughts racing at once? You cannot seem to get anything accomplished. Are you experiencing pandemic clutter, feeling scattered? Your brain could use a rest.
Hypnosis is used to aid memory and concentration levels—a good tool for modifying brain health. Hypnotherapy allows you to be fully conscious, yet able to tune out most of the stimuli around you. As you focus intently on the subject at hand, all other thoughts seem to float away.
In a session, you may feel as though you are daydreaming, or perhaps have lost yourself in a book. Your brainwave activity shows slower wave activity; you become calm. You enter an altered state of consciousness characterized by enhanced receptivity, relaxation and heightened imagination. Yes, hypnotherapy can help modify brain health by reducing the accumulated clutter of our busy minds.
Deborah Riner, C.Ht, is owner of Coastal Hypnosis Center; 1608 Reynolds St. in Historic Downtown Brunswick, Ga., 31520. Modify your brain health now – schedule your hypnosis session: 912.261.8906 or www.coastalhypnosiscenter.com.