A Path to Our Best Brain Health for 2013
by Pamela Costello MD PC
“Adversity is the first path to truth”
As my friend and mentor, Ellen Tadd, has taught me, health, wellness, and illness, are a consequence of a combination of karma, the influences of our environment, and of one’s own attitude toward the adversities of life. The karmic, preordained path of our journey will manifest accordingly. One’s attitude and personal growth through our healing processes is within each individual’s control, as to how they navigate through the process of dealing with illness. Most importantly, environmental influences have become increasingly challenging to our manifesting our highest health. It is in this area I have focused my medical practice.
Our planet, as well as our bodies, have become quite saturated with industrial toxins. Environmental toxins include heavy metal toxicities such as lead from our deteriorating air and water supplies, and mercury from dental amalgams, as well as pesticides, hydrocarbons, electromagnetic pollution, immunizations, an increasingly adulterated food supply. The list of neurotoxins also includes infectious opportunists such as mold, viral and bacterial (e.g., Lyme) infections, all of which are readily stored in our nervous systems, contributing to cognitive dysfunction, emotional imbalances, pain, exhaustion, immune stress, and other physical challenges.
For the New Year, I’d like to offer hope to patients who might be struggling with their health, particularly with their nervous systems. I’ve provided the following check list to assess your brain health and neurotoxin burden:
1. Neurotoxin burden assessment. If you’re finding it difficult to think clearly, then undertake a neurotoxin burden assessment. Do you have mercury/silver fillings? Do you know your current toxic burden, i.e., the amount of heavy metals, pesticides, solvents, e-smog, etc., that is acting to prematurely age your brain? Are your home and work environments safe and clean of molds, solvents, and other threats to your brain and good brain function? Does your personal hygiene, make up, or laundry and household cleaning products contain solvents, or other toxic agents? Electromagnetic fields from electrical lines, lights, computers, cell phones and towers, microwaves, plus infectious opportunists and allergens, also burden our immune and nervous systems.
2. Adequate rest, a good night’s sleep. Sleep apnea? Insomnia? Nighttime pain syndromes? Restless legs? Neck pain? Such issues keep you from the recuperative rest your brain and body need.
3. Dietary evaluation. Eat organically and with the intention of providing the brain with good fuel sources, rather than short term energy fixes. What are your greatest food sensitivities? The immune system and nervous system are inextricably linked. What antagonizes your immune system, also affects your brain.
4. Physical Exercise. Regular exercise increases both endorphins (natural morphine like substances) as well as strengthens the heart and cerebral circulation, upon which a healthy brain depends. It increases our heart rate and mobilization of brain damaging toxins, which we can then excrete through our skin via sweating. A simple daily walk is a gentle, yet effective, start.
5. Intellectual or mental exercise. Reading, crosswords, games. Exercise the muscle of thinking with daily mental exercises which strengthen your neural network.
6. Spiritual exercise/Inspirational support. Meditation and prayer raise your consciousness and bring you a sense of well being and peace. Pursue such practices to bring you joy and inspiration. Listening to or creating music, art, speeches, lectures, or seeing plays which inspire you, reinforce the pathways of higher cognitive functioning, supporting the brain’s longevity.
7. Attitude Assessment. Do the challenges of life appear to you as stumbling blocks or stepping stones? Your attitude towards adversity dramatically influences your sense of wellness. Positive thinking strengthens the mind and the immune system.
8. Proper Elimination. Keeping the bowels emptied on a regular basis keeps the excreted toxins from being reabsorbed, decreasing the level of neuroactive toxins.