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Cognitive Health

Cognition in the Concussed

Concussions are considered mild forms of a traumatic brain injury (TBI) that occur after some sort of trauma to the brain. The concept of the concussion alludes many clinicians, largely due to the highly variable nature of concussion symptoms, some of which are quite mild and lack clear objective biomarkers. The importance of timely and holistic treatment is imperative to reducing risk for future sequelae such as Alzheimer’s disease, frontotemporal dementia, and chronic traumatic encephalopathies.1 Further, it is reported that approximately 15% of people who experience a concussion, go on to experience symptoms months or even years after their injury,

Concussions and the use of light therapy

A head injury may or may not look bad on the outside, but the impact of the brain against the inside of the skull can cause widespread axonal damage to neurons. Mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI), or concussion, can lead to loss of consciousness, and/or trauma-related amnesia (lasting less than 24 hours); a     nd long-term consequences may include: impaired cognitive function, altered mood      and difficulties with concentration.1,2  It doesn’t take multiple impacts to see disruptions in nervous system function. Even a single mTBI can cause behavioural and cognitive issues, and disruptions in the circadian rhythm. About half of patients with

How Cardiovascular Health Influences Cognition

The onset of dementia and symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) don’t typically manifest until the age of 65 or so. But what if you could decrease your risk of developing dementia, or even age-related cognitive decline, if you addressed cardiovascular health in mid-life or earlier? Evidence of the significance of cardiovascular health on cognition and neuroprotection is mounting, and it can be seen as early as childhood.  There are multiple factors at play, notably blood vessel health and oxygen delivery to the brain, as well as the release of certain neuroprotective compounds in the body, which can be upregulated by

Men’s Mental Health

This year, “Movember” felt a little different, with all those glorious ‘stashes hidden behind a necessary mask. The constraints of the ongoing pandemic; loss of sport and gym time, along with changes in social structure and interaction can be significant disruptors. It is important that men talk about the elephant in the room and strategies to overcome disruptions to mood and mental health.  There is a lot to be positive about and much to consider when looking at ways to improve wellbeing. Vitamin D and living in the great white north The change in season in Canada can be beautiful,

Journey to Ironman: Part 1 of 4

The journey to becoming an Ironman is more than just crossing a finish line at the end of a race, it’s a lifelong adventure of being the best you can be and improving yourself. Every person’s story is unique and everyone has a different reason for wanting to complete the challenge which is known for being one of the most mentally and physically demanding endurance races in the world. Ultimately, I chose to do it for me, follow through with the commitment to myself, and to prove that the body is much more capable than what we realize. Anything is

How Inflammation May Play a Role in Autism Spectrum Disorder

While researchers do not yet know why, they doknow that the rate of autism is increasing. According to the 2018 Report of the National Autism Spectrum Disorder Surveillance System, an estimated 1 in 66 children have been diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD).[i] ASD is a neurodevelopmental disorder and refers to a range of conditions characterized by challenges with social skills, repetitive behaviours, speech, and nonverbal communication, as well as by unique strengths and differences.[ii] There is not one form of autism but rather many types, caused by different combinations of genetic and environmental influences.[iii] Currently, physicians diagnose the neurodevelopmental

Protecting the Aging Brain with Omega-3s

There are many cellular changes that occur as we age, most of which are greatly affected by nutritional imbalances and chronic (even low-grade) inflammation. The brain is most vulnerable to neuroinflammation and oxidative stress, both of which occur more frequently as we age. Other factors such as obesity and type 2 diabetes can accelerate inflammation and aging processes. The presence of diabetes alone doubles the risk of developing neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease (AD).1 Omega-3 fatty acids are a unique group of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) that must be obtained from dietary sources such as fish oil and algae.

ALCAR for Cognitive Support

Cognitive function encompasses many domains such as attention, memory, reasoning, and language. Our brains continually change throughout our lives. Unfortunately, as we age our cognitive function declines. We may become more forgetful, or easily distracted, or struggle to concentrate on tasks as easily as we used to. This is all part of the aging process and these changes are completely normal, albeit they can cause frustration!   The normal aging process is different from dementia, which refers to a group of conditions, which cause significant impairments in memory, intellectual function, spatial awareness, language, and behaviour. Unlike the normal aging process,

The Results Are In For The Mindful Brain Yoga Study

Delrae Fawcett returns to update us on the results of the Yoga for the Treatment of Brain Injury study conducted by the University of British Columbia.   Concussions: To many of us, concussions have long been thought of as nothing more than bonking your head, followed by someone (usually a parent or coach) telling you not to sleep (which is no longer recommended- by the way).  We likely all know someone who had one, or we may even have had one or two ourselves. However, recently these seemingly benign injuries have been getting significant attention for their potentially long-lasting effects

Promising Natural Compounds for Concussions and Traumatic Brain Injuries

It seems that every week there is a news story highlighting the rising toll and damage of head injuries and concussions. Traumatic brain injuries (TBI) are generating greater medical and research interest as public awareness grows, especially on the impact on younger and more vulnerable populations. An explosion of recent research has uncovered some of the biochemical pathways involved in TBI. Emerging evidence shows that brain trauma from a concussion causes a complex cascade of neuro-inflammation. It’s also important to consider the supportive structures around the brain and in neck. Every brain trauma also causes severe stretching and damage to

The Link Between Alzheimer’s Disease & Vitamin B

Recently a study that was published in the prestigious Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) discussed how B vitamins (specifically folic acid, B6 and B12) may be able to slow the development of Alzheimer’s disease, slowing the shrinkage of brain volume (Douaud et al. 2013).  This is not the first study of its kind, but is one piece of the mounting pile of evidence that suggests that one of the biggest causative factors of Alzheimer’s is elevated homocysteine levels, and that controlling homocysteine may be a viable treatment. It all started over 15 years ago, with the observation

The Link Between Nitric Oxide & Alzheimer’s disease

Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is an advanced stage of dementia which progressively worsens with time and is associated with a high degree of mortality. The disease is not part of normal aging, and is likely caused by various processes that damage nerve cells.  Many clinical symptoms are associated with AD, including cognitive decline, memory loss, disorientation, language impairment and so on plus AD also has a pronounced effect on the family or their caregivers. In 2010 in the US alone there were over five million cases and over twenty million worldwide. The cause of AD is not fully known but there

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