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Cognitive Health

How Does Menopause Affect the Brain?

I don’t know if men are really from Mars and women from Venus, but I think that the one thing we may all agree upon in this time and age of controversies is that women’s brains differ from men’s brains. Among those differences, we know that women are definitely more often diagnosed with an anxiety disorder or depression,[i] headaches and migraines[ii] and certain conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease (AD).[iii] In fact, two thirds of all persons with late-onset AD are women.[iv] A key determinant of sex differences in cognition and brain function is sex steroid hormones.[v] This fact, along with two decades accumulating

Mental Health After A Concussion

Beyond the physical effects of a traumatic brain injury (TBI), there may also be mental or emotional symptoms. These symptoms may be temporary or long-term and are the result of several factors. Post-injury stress on the autonomic nervous system, post-injury dysfunction in the way the brain communicates and the brain’s normal reaction to physical and emotional trauma all play a role in the severity of symptoms experienced. These physiological changes caused by brain injury can change thinking and feeling patterns. Even a mild traumatic brain injury can cause a disruption in the relationship between neurons and the blood vessels that

Concussions and Migraines

What is a concussion?   A concussion is defined by the CDC as “a type of traumatic brain injury (TBI) caused by a bump, blow or jolt to the head or by a hit to the body that causes the head and brain to move rapidly back and forth.  This sudden movement can cause the brain to bounce around or twist in the skull, creating chemical changes in the brain and sometimes stretching and damaging brain cells.”  Often when people think of concussions, they think of a person losing consciousness, but this is not always the case.  Concussions can happen more

Concussions and the Endocrine System

The endocrine system is a network of glands and organs that make and release hormones throughout the body. These hormones control sexual development, growth, metabolism and can influence immune function. The hypothalamus and the pituitary gland are two vital parts of the endocrine system and are located in or near the brain, which means they are vulnerable to damage in cases of concussion. The hypothalamus and the pituitary gland are critical to the endocrine system and overall health because they direct the hormone production of the other endocrine glands. The hypothalamus is the part of the brain that controls the

The Practice and Benefits of Journaling

I am sure we have all heard of journaling at some point of our lives. Might have even kept one from time to time. What’s the big hype about?? Why are so many people turning to it? I was first introduced to the idea of journaling back in elementary school. I recall my teacher instructing me to take out my journal and write about our weekends or what was going on during the week. At the time I didn’t think too much of it. If anything, I hated the thought of having to write something so personal down for someone

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 do know 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

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.

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