Keeping Our Brains Young

July 28, 2010 at 10:10 am , by

Oz Bain Brain blog size

If I only had a brain!

That’s Mehmet Oz, M.D., above, showing me how different a healthy brain looks and feels compared with a brain that is riddled with Alzheimer’s disease. It was an amazing lesson: the Alzheimer’s brain was stiff and withered while the healthy brain was plump and soft.

It wasn’t the first such lesson I’d had with Dr. Oz. I met him years ago, before he was a TV star and best-selling author of the You health books. He was just a rock-star heart surgeon then. It was a life-changing experience for me to stand on a stool in his OR and watch him perform open-heart surgery on a young woman (I mentioned that in a blog a while back). At other times with him I was lucky enough to compare a healthy artery with one stiff and coated with calcified plaque—a heart attack in the making. I also got to hold a liver and feel the rock-hard, enormous malignant tumor in it. That poor patient didn’t stand a chance.

These were the best kinds of lessons I could get outside of attending medical school. But holding that diseased brain (which took place at a recent small event in New York on how to keep our brains young) really motivated me. That’s a disease I don’t want to get, and I’m sure you don’t, either! The latest research shows that one way to help avoid Alzheimer’s and cognitive decline in general is aerobic exercise. It’s really one of the most important things we can do for ourselves.

I’ve been a little sedentary the past few weeks, since it’s been the hottest summer on record here in New York City. I’ve found myself making excuses for not exercising. But those brains reminded me that there’s no excuse not to get moving and work up a sweat. In fact, studies show that intense exercise can even make your brain grow. Join me in pledging to get moving, and let’s get smarter together!

Meanwhile, we have a great story in the magazine this month on how to keep your memory sharp. Read it here. And check out our editor-in-chief Sally Lee’s Today Show appearance with Hoda and Kathie Lee by clicking here. She shares some great tips on how to keep your brain young and strong. Don’t forget to try them!

2 Responses to “Keeping Our Brains Young”

  1. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Ladies' Home Journal, LHJ Health Editors. LHJ Health Editors said: A great way to prevent Alzheimer's–and that's me with Dr. Oz holding WHAT? [...]

  2. Please discuss the administration of thyroid medicine and the effects it causes to the heart.

    My 89 year old mother has memory loss due to hypoxia as a result of slow heart rate from heart meds treating palpitations due to thyroid meds which she was prescribed without thyroid studies being performed.

    I know of family members, friends and others who have been prescribed Levothyroxine, now have cardiac heart rate changes and are on cardiac medicine and / or a pacemaker.

    We know that there are many laboratory thyroid function blood tests that should be used for identifying the need or potential hazards of Levothyroxine for some people.
    The State of Maryland tests newborns for thyroid function. When it appears that the child has low TSH, further testing takes place. I know of a case where the child’s thyroid function testing identified he has the TBG Deficiency. The parents were strongly advised to teach the child to never take Levothyroxine since it could be very harmful.

    My mother was prescribed Levothyroxine 3 years ago because, at 87 years old, she commented that she was tired. 2 days following the new prescription, my mother called me and said she felt strange and thought her husband and doctor might be killing her. Her husband, doctor and her son, who is a physician, would not listen, took over her meds and due to the increased heart rate, she is now on Carvedilol which has become disastrous. Due to low heart rate and the resulting hypoxia, she has memory loss.

    Thyroid function testing, other than TSH has never been ordered for her, as far as I know.
    On CT, it was reported that she has pituitary scarring consistent with surgery.
    My mother has never had pituitary surgery. She did have 10 pregnancies. I understand the pituitary is related to thyroid function.
    Recently, her primary physician discontinued her Premarin, which she has been taking for 46 yrs following a hysterectomy.
    The original prescription was ordered and recently renewed by her GYN. It seems she has taken another turn for the worse since the Premarin was stopped.

    I have advocated for her and contacted her physicians, with no avail. She is now isolated and lays in bed most of the day.
    My mother now needs to leave her home to live in assisted living. It is so sad and never has had to happen. I believe she is a victim of family and physician abuse. Hopefully, we are able to take her to another physician who will evaluate if the situation can be reversed.
    Her husband has stated that he feels we are firing him from his job of taking care of her. Actually, we are trying to protect her from him.

    I am a Medical Technologist and I work in a clinical laboratory.
    I have noticed most of the patients who come to our ED with palpitations and cardiac distress are on both thyroid and cardiac medications.
    This is a pattern that would be good to investigate.

    Thank you for all you do,
    Marian Kriston
    Loveland, Ohio