A Healthier Brain for 2015

The chief function of the body is to carry the brain around ~ Thomas Edison (1847-1931)

As we begin the New Year, establishing an effective plan that will allow us to thrive should be predicated upon finding our best brain health. Furthermore,understanding that illness and wellness are definable at their most basic, foundational levels, provides us with just such an effective approach to achieve our best cognitive and physical function.

As a holistic physician, neurological surgeon, and a neuroscientist, additionally trained in biological and energy medicine, I provide a comprehensive healing approach to identify and correct imbalances in the brain and the nervous system. After completing a neurotoxin burden assessment, a customized repair program allows the patient to manifest their best brain health. In the process of restoring wellness, a path to long-term brain health maintenance and our ability to thrive is discovered.

For the New Year, I’d like to offer the option of health restoration to those who want to experience the highest health of their brain and nervous systems, as well as to those struggling with their health in general.

A list of considerations that are part of my treatment approach:

Healthy Diet. As far as the brain is concerned, it’s much more than just having a well-rounded diet anymore. Eat organically, and with the intention of providing the brain with good, safe, fuel sources, rather than short term energy fixes. Determine your greatest food intolerances or sensitivities. e immune system and nervous system are inextricably linked, and what antagonizes your immune system also affects your brain.

Good Water. Drinking and cooking with water are direct routes for toxins to travel to our brains. Therefore, establishing a clear, safe source of water is critical.

Neurotoxin Burden. Do you have mercury/silver fillings? Do you know the amount of heavy metals, pesticides, solvents, e-smog, radiation, etc, that is acting to prematurely age your brain?
Acquired toxins from conception, throughout childhood and adulthood, adversely affect your neurological and physical health.

Proper Elimination. Keeping the bowels emptied on a regular basis keeps excreted toxins from being reabsorbed, decreasing the level of neuroactive toxins in your system.

Physical and Emotional Cleansing. Identifying and removing physical toxins is critical, and is most successfully accomplished when we emotionally release that which does not serve us. Our brain physiology and our behavior are interdependent.

Dental Health. Are chronic dental infections, toxic fillings, root canals, implants, or jaw malalignment compromising your best brain health? (See http://www.drwolfe.com).

Exercise. Regular exercise increases endorphins (natural morphine-like substances) as well as brain repair proteins. Exercise also strengthens the heart and cerebral circulation, mobilizing brain damaging toxins, which can be excreted via sweating. Even a gentle exercise program bene ts the brain. (See www.seanplakephw.com).

Healthy Home. Are your home and work environments clean of molds, solvents, and other threats to good brain function? Be aware that your personal hygiene, perfume, make up, hair coloring/products, laundry and household cleaning products contain solvents, heavy metals, and other toxic agents. Electromagnetic fields from electrical lines, indoor lights, computers, cell phones, and microwaves, as well as infectious opportunists and allergens, all burden our immune and nervous systems.

Healthy Attitude. Positive thinking strengthens the mind and the immune system and is a critical component to overcoming illness and achieving wellness.

Spiritual, Inspirational Support. Meditation and prayer raise your consciousness, bringing you a sense of well-being, peace, joy and inspiration. Having a spiritual focus, as well as creating music, art, speeches, lectures, or seeing plays which inspire you, reinforce the pathways of higher cognitive functioning, supporting the brain’s longevity.

If you’d like a comprehensive brain health/neurotoxin burden assessment and treatment plan for your best brain health, please contact my office at 505-503-8325.

Exercise for Your Best Brain Health

If the body be feeble, the mind will not be strong.

~ Thomas Jefferson

Exercise is a critical component of creating your best brain health. Modern day neurotoxins, including heavy metals and industrial pollutants, as well as a genetically modified and adulterated food supply, radiation, and an increasingly contaminated water supply, are all factors which have brought our brains to a low point of neurologic health. When undertaking the process of identifying and treating your neurotoxic burden, physical movement through exercise is a key component. Your brain is under constant modification, both constructive and degenerative. This ‘plasticity’ provides us the opportunity to not only repair damage from lifelong neurotoxic burdens, but actually to improve our brain and neurologic function to a higher level, once the neurologic terrain has been detoxified and maximally supported.

Exercise in all forms stimulates the brain to work at improved capacity by promoting neurons to repair and strengthen their interconnections and provide protection from oxidative stress. Scientific studies have illustrated that during exercise nerve cells release brain growth proteins known as neurotrophic factors, such as brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). BDNF triggers numerous other chemicals that promote neural health, and has a direct benefit on cognitive function. Among elementary school students, 40 minutes of daily exercise increased their IQ by an average of nearly 4 points. Among 6th graders, the fittest students scored 30 percent higher than average students. At any age, exercise serves as a powerful tool to maximize our brain health and function. In more advanced age groups, exercise has been effective with Alzheimer’s disease, as even mild to moderate exercise can reverse normal brain shrinkage by 2 percent, effectively reversing age-related Hippocampal degeneration.

Whatever your current neurological health or physical functional level is, the healing of your brain and nervous system is best facilitated by an appropriate level of exercise. Exercise helps maintain healthy blood pressure and weight, improves circulation and lymphatic toxin drainage, strengthens the heart, increases the production of endorphins, improving energy and mood, and lowers stress and anxiety, all of which contribute to enhanced brain health and a heightened sense of wellness. Whichever exercise program you choose, commit to establishing exercise as a routine, as it is a medicine with a multitude of benefits, including achieving your best brain health.

From Sean Plake, Certified Personal Trainer (the exercise expert who brought me back to my best physical and brain health!): What is keeping you from starting an exercise program for improved health? Some people are intimidated by weights and the thought of sweat, or are unsure of their ability to participate in an exercise program. You should never feel intimidated by exercise, which is simply performing body movements at different rates. Television creates the illusion that exercise is only for ‘fit’ people, which could not be further from the truth. Exercise and movement are for EVERYONE! Exercise can be done at your local workout facility, outside at a park, in your home, and even in your office. When starting an exercise program with a qualified, Certified Personal Trainer, and after medical clearance from your physician, you should begin a program appropriate for your level of ability, and then slowly increase the intensity and volume as tolerated. You just need to start moving to see improvement of your overall mood, alertness, energy and general health!

For a comprehensive brain health/neurotoxin burden evaluation and individualized, comprehensive treatment protocol, please contact Dr. Costello’s office at 505-503-8325 for an appointment. To read more from Sean and to schedule a free initial consultation, visit his website at: http://www.seanplakephw.com. http://www.drcostello.com.


Neurotoxicity and Reversible Pain Syndromes

In the last analysis, we see only what we are ready to see, what we have been taught to see.  We eliminate and ignore everything that is not a part of our prejudices.

~ Jean-Martin Charcot (1825 – 1893)
Founder of modern neurology.

In my practice of holistic neurological medicine and as a neurosurgeon, I encounter patients daily with acute and chronic pain syndromes. My evaluation always considers such causes as nerve impingement, injured joints, discs, or lesions, and spinal malalignment, etc. In many cases, however, there is often a deeper, more elusive physiological cause to their pain syndrome involving neurotoxicity.

In the hospital setting, patients are seen acutely, often when trauma has occurred, or a physiologic process has reached a critical stage of crisis. These patients are managed according to standard emergency medical and surgical protocols. Conversely, in the office, most patients present with chronic pain syndromes, for which they are often desperate to find a remedy, as only palliative measures have been offered previously. Many of these patients have been suffering unnecessarily for varying lengths of time and have been economically and personally impacted by living with pain.

The good news is that pain syndromes are often reversible once the underlying structural and physiologic causes are identified.  Such reversible syndromes would include migraine, cluster, and tension headaches, occipital headaches and neuralgias, neck and low back pain, facial pain, (Trigeminal Neuralgia and TMJ pain), thoracic pain, Shingles (Herpes Zoster) and Post-Herpetic Neuralgia, Myofascial Pain, Fibromyalgia, pelvic and abdominal pain, including dysmenorrhea, bladder pain, stomach and bowel pain, upper and lower extremity pain (including Restless Leg Syndrome), Carpal Tunnel Syndromes, all forms of peripheral neuropathy, and Chronic Regional Pain Syndrome (RSD), etc.

Neurotoxicity occurs when toxins accumulate in the neurological tissue of the body and undermine the functioning of the brain and nervous system. Long-term exposure to environmental toxins such as heavy metals, low grade infections, radiation, chemicals, food additives, pesticides, etc. can result in neurotoxicity. Chronic exposure to and bioaccumulation in the brain of heavy metals such as arsenic, lead, mercury, cadmium, iron, and aluminum, can lead to neurotoxicity, as can exposure to poisonous plants, animals, or molds.

The symptoms of neurotoxicity are largely reversible once identified and properly managed. Neurotoxicity symptoms resemble those of disease conditions such as the chronic pain syndromes listed above, but also of depression, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), chronic fatigue syndrome, the Autism Spectrum, as well as an array of autoimmune diseases, (Celiac disease, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, and psoriatic or rheumatoid arthritis, etc.), all diseases notoriously unresponsive to conventional therapy. My experience in managing these conditions is that neurotoxicity is usually a contributing, underlying factor.

Once you’ve recognized that you might have a reversible pain syndrome, then what would be your next step for long-term cure and relief? Correct identification of all contributory, causal issues is required, and appropriate treatment undertaken. If the underlying cause of your pain or illness is toxicity, and your treatment plan does not include a detoxification regimen, your overall recovery is very likely to be incomplete and slower than it needs to be.  Standard suppressive pharmaceutical management of pain syndromes typically does not provide long-term relief and cure, and the side effects can be overwhelming. Having the underlying neurotoxicity issues identified and safely managed is a necessary part of your care to provide long-term relief and cure, with the additional benefit of elevation of your general health as well.

If you’re dealing with acute or chronic pain and would like a comprehensive holistic neurological evaluation and treatment approach, please contact my office for an appointment at 505-503-8325.