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Just some notes on how it’s going

October 27, 2011

No time to write much now, as I must dole out my weekly pills into their organizer, and then get to bed. (Am I really going to try out for “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire” tomorrow?)

Here’s what has been going on:

I had awaited the release of Baumeister and Tierney’s “Willpower” for months. After I read it, I realized that they had no new neurotransmitter information in it. I even asked them – when they appeared on the Brian Lehrer Show last month  – if there had been any studies done on what neurotransmitters were involved in what they termed “ego depletion.” Baumeister said, “no,” but said it was a “very interesting question,” and sounded genuinely curious. (How could he have neverr investigated that himself, I wondered,)

But then I read Daniel Amen’s book, “Change Your Brain, Change Your Body,” (2010). He discusses dopamine and norephendrine as the neurotransmitters associated with volition and activity. I also read “The Younger Thinner You Diet,” (Eric Braverman) which discusses brain chemistry and your body/brain interactions, and the food that improve various brain functions. Both those books have the same concept: that the brain’s neurotransmitters are what causes what we’ve called our “personality traits” – laziness, activity levels, touchiness, irritability, easiness and such. Amen recommends supplements – of course, he sells his own brand. Braverman is selling an online diet-club. But both of those books are still based on actual scientific research.

Now I’ve been reading “Balance Your Brain, Balance Your Life,” (2004) which uses a good deal of the same research, but puts it in the context of an an entire lifestyle program – meditation, attitude adjustment, exercise, diet and neuroscience.There will certainly be more research to pursue, but the combination of these books has convinced me that there is a path to wellness that I can create, and which will be useful to more people than just myself.

I’ve already begun the change in diet that is advocated in most of these works: more protein; slow-digesting carbohydrates from vegetables, whole grains, and fruits; olive oil and other healthy omega-3 fats. I myself have seen that protein *must* be a high proportion of my diet – perhaps 50% – if I want to be able to keep my spasticity down and my brain awake. Monday I began taking SAM-e, recommended by Amen and Braverman as an essential precursor of dopamine. The difference int has made in my mood and mental acuity is notable. This week, I will add DHEA cal/mag, and ginkgo.

Could it be that I can actually cure myself? Certainly, Dr Mravcek was pleased yesterday by my weight loss and the other substantive efforts I have undertaken to improve my health this year. Another three weeks, and a month of  positive actions will become more habit than willful.

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