I first met Margaret when she was 68 years old. She lived alone, and her family was worried because she appeared to have symptoms of serious dementia. She was ragged and unkempt, she often forgot the names of her own children, she frequently got lost and she had just had her driver’s license revoked after having four minor accidents in a six-month period. When she nearly burned the house down by leaving a stove burner on, her family finally admitted her to the psychiatric hospital where I worked. Some members of Margaret’s family had had enough and were ready to put her into a supervised living situation.
Menopause is one of those conditions that has an abundance of anecdotal evidence. Half the human population is scheduled for this life-changing, body-changing condition, so there is a lot of experiential information from which to draw conclusions about the biological, psychological and social realities of menopause.
A recent study gives some independent credence to what many, many women can tell you: Menopause messes with your memory.
New research is showing that transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) has significant benefits for many sufferers of treatment resistant major depressive disorder. At the Amen Clinics in Newport Beach, California, we have found TMS to be an effective option for many patients. Treatment of depression with TMS is effective for many people; it is safe, easy and there are virtually no side effects. Now we know that for some people whose depression doesn’t seem to be resolved with medication, supplements or psychotherapy, TMS is a viable option for long-term relief.
Some depressed adults just don’t get results from medication, or the side effects from medication are too much to bear. In 2008 the FDA approved transcranial magnetic stimulation for treating depressed adults for whom at least one antidepressant has failed to effectively resolve the symptoms of depression.
It is estimated that inside our bodies microbial cells outnumber human cells ten to one. Recent research indicates that not only do microbes influence brain activity, but they do so via the gut. Can our brains be changed by eating beneficial microbes (probiotics)?
Probiotics influence brain function
It is well known that the brain sends signals to the gut. Anyone who has ever felt stress or heightened emotion that triggers stomach aches can attest to that fact. In the last couple of years, animal studies have indicated that the gut also sends signals to the brain. Now, it has been proven in humans that gut-brain communication goes two ways – and bacteria in the gut are informing the conversation.
One of the measurements of effective exercise is increased oxygen uptake in the body and brain. Your brain requires about 20% of the oxygen you breath in. When you get more oxygen, your brain works better. Your best bet for increased oxygen? Physical exercise. Until recently, we have all commonly understood that great fitness is a product of many hours per week of rigorous training. New research may change the way we think about “effective” exercise.
A research team from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology in Trondheim recently released the results from a study of the effects of different exercise patterns on 24 men who were healthy except for being inactive and overweight. The results seem to run counter to what we would all expect.