Dr. Khalsa explains:
I found this book which is extremely fascinating in the potential ability of healing the brain and rebuilding neuron connections and increasing intelligence. I hope you all will be as fascinated by this as I. I cannot express how valuable this book is to those of us interested in brain, nerve and muscle type problems. If you can find a copy of this book, and find the following information helpful, I'd urge you to purchase this incredible book of Brain wisdom! The ISBN #'s are listed at the bottom of this page.
Some notes and information quoted and derived from Dr. Dharma Singh Khalsa, M.D.'s book Brain Longevity
Premise: Instead of Aluminum as the cause for Alzheimer's' disease, Dr. Khalsa's theory is that Brain degeneration besides disease and injury is caused mainly by an overabundance and long duration saturation of Cortisol excreted by Adrenals because of Stress.
Cortisol is one of the hormones secreted by the adrenal glands. It's secreted in response to stress. In moderate amounts, Cortisol is not harmful. But when produced in excess, day after day- as a result of chronic, unrelenting stress- this hormone is so toxic to the brain that it kills and injures brain cells by the billions. (page 8) <skip> Over decades, excessive Cortisol destroys the biochemical integrity of the brain. I believe, further, that Cortisol toxicity is one of the primary causes of Alzheimer's disease.
Cortisol robs your brain of it's only source of fuel: glucose. It also wreaks havoc on your brain's chemical messengers- your neurotransmitters- which carry your thoughts from one brain cell to the next. When your neurotransmitter function is disrupted, and when your brain's fuel supply plummets, it's difficult for you to concentrate and remember. (pg. 9)
Until not long ago, researchers thought the brain was essentially static, that once damage was done, it couldn't be undone. But all the new technology of the past few decades, such as CAT, PET, and MRI, have shown that, because of the brain's unique regenerative power, blighted areas of the brain can be brought back to life. (Pg 10)
The human brain, is the most complex, powerful organism in the universe. It has an unparalleled capacity for restoring its own function. Why? Because the brain doesn't store each of its memories in single, separate brain cells, or neurons. Instead, memories exist in networks of wires and stations. If one neuron is killed, the brain can switch it's memory connection through another neuron, and retain the memory. Neurologists call this redundant circuitry.
Each brain cell has "branches" that reach out to other brain cells, to make memory connections. As we age, our brain cells grow more and more branches, just as a growing tree keeps sprouting branches. Therefore, by middle age, we have far more branches than we did in our younger years. Those extra branches powerfully compensate for brain cell death.
Dr. Khalsa's Fish story:
No journey is more dramatic than the salmon fighting their way upstream to spawn. They battle current, dams and waterfalls. Where do they get all this energy? Mostly from Cortisol, secreted by their adrenals. When salmon make this journey, their normal control over their adrenal glands stops working, and they over-secrete massive quantities of it. This over production exhausts their adrenal glands and disrupts their metabolisms. Just after they spawn, they have enormous, swollen adrenal glands, and their hormonal balance is completely destroyed. They have peptic ulcers, their immune systems are degraded, they appear disoriented, they have lesions on their kidneys, and are easily overcome by parasites and infections. They quickly die.
The moral of the "fish story" is that Cortisol overproduction- which also happens in stressed out people- wreaks havoc upon the body, the brain, and the nervous system. It ruins hormonal balance, and throws the brain and nervous system into a tailspin.
DHEA generally exists in the body in inverse proportion with Cortisol. DHEA is called the "mother steroid hormone" and it's absolutely vital for energy, immunity, and proper neurological function.
By stimulating the brain's corpus callosum, which links the left and right hemispheres, creativity can be significantly increased. To paraphrase Mies van Rohe, "God is in the molecules." (pg21)
Acupuncture Therapy: focused primarily on points in her scalp, was somewhat similar to another treatment that has elicited remarkable results among thousands of amnesia patients: transcranial electrical brain stimulation. This therapy is employed by physicians in the treatment of severe brain damage.
Dr. Khalsa's Program's 4 Basic Elements which are described in detain in the book:
This program was designed, however to be of therapeutic value even if stress is not a major causative factor of the patients problem. (pg 47)
Many people who are most prone to memory loss and concentration difficulty- because of chronic stress- are also prone to dietary deficiencies, for a simple reason: Stress increases nutritional needs. People under high stress require extra nutrients just as athletes do.
An absolutely vital adjunct to nutritional therapy from dietary sources is concentration nutrition in supplemental form. Supplements I recommend include the antioxidant battery of Vitamins A, C, and E; B-Complex vitamins; Choline-rich Lecithin; and a trace mineral combination that includes magnesium. A newer antioxidant I have begun using is Coenzyme Q-10 which has proven effective in protecting the brain; and the brain-cell nutrient DMAE.
Antioxidants are crucial, because they can protect neurons from the damaging effects of Cortisol and other destructive elements. Antioxidants are known as "free radical scavengers," because they inhibit the free radical molecules (created by Cortisol and other factors) that kill neurons from within. Other free radical scavengers include the minerals selenium, zinc, and chromium.
Vit. C and Magnesium produce a calming effect; deficiency is implicated in anxiety. (pg's 50/51)
B vitamins are absolutely critical for proper neurological function. I recommend at least 50 mg daily of the entire B-Complex series. Depletion of serum B vitamins typically cause memory loss, disorientation, lethargy, mood swings, and depression. Usually, I place patients on high dosages of vitamin B complex's; 100 mg of a multiple-B formula three times a day. This helps provide mental endurance, stabilize physical energy, and gives a steady positive mood.
Choline is also of special importance, because it is the nutritional precursor, or "building block", of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine- the primary "carrier" of memory. Choline, found in lecithin, is also important in maintaining "brain plasticity" - the ability of the brain to find new thought "pathways" when old pathways are destroyed. Therefore, Choline helps these branches- which are called dendrites- to make new connections for memories when old connections are broken. In one study, patients with memory loss experienced up to 50 percent improvement just from Choline supplementation. <skip> pg 77 Lecithin is a nutritional precursor of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, the primary chemical carrier of memory.
I have also noted tremendous benefit from several natural medicinal tonics- powerful nutritional substances that improve, or tonify, the function of various organs and systems. These include such nutrients as Ginkgo biloba and various other herbs from the Asian pharmacopoeia, such as ginseng. Other natural medicinal tonics that are of particular benefit are Phosphatidyl serine, Phosphatidyl Choline, and acety-L-carnatine. Another nutritional tonic I often recommend is a peptide-rich "green Juice" product (Ching Chun Bao) that includes such ingredients as blue-green algae, wheat grass and spirulina. Also recommended are high dosages of Vit. C (up to 7 grams daily)
A direct benefit of exercise is that it causes the release of various neurological and endocrinological secretions, including Norepinephrine, the stimulation brain chemical that acts as a neurotransmitter. Norepinephrine is one of the most important neurotransmitters in the laying down of new memories, and is especially important in moving memories from short-term to long term storage. Norepinephrine is also extremely important in the maintenance of a good mood.
Drugs that have contributed to some of my patient's most remarkable recoveries include Deprenyl, Piracetam, Hydergine, and various hormonal replacement agents (including Pregnenolone and DHEA). Deprenyl has the ability to "rescue" damage neurons before those neurons die. Deprenyl is a "MAO-B inhibitor"- a drug that prevents the destruction of the neurotransmitter dopamine. It also increases the levels of other neurotransmitters. That's why it is of special value to early-stage memory-loss patients, whose primary problem is often neurotransmitter dysfunction, rather than dead brain cells. It can facilitate access to established "remote" memory of long-past events, which may be clouded only because of neurotransmitter dysfunction. Deprenyl is also of significant value for concentration difficulties, which are often caused by neurotransmitter dysfunction. Pregnenolone is a precursor to several hormones, including the hormone DHEA. In clinical practice, very elderly people are shown to respond much better to Pregnenolone than to DHEA.
Piracetam is a controversial drug because- alone among the pharmaceuticals that I recommend- it has not yet been approved by the FDA. It is, however, widely prescribed in Europe, where I frequently travel to study and consult, and is easily available in America through various "buyers clubs". See: http://www.nubrain.com Piracetam, which has no known toxicity, has the unique and fascinating ability to enhance function of the brain's corpus callosum, the band of nerve fibers that coordinates the brain's left and right hemisphere. Piracetam is thus considered valuable in stimulation of creativity, and is widely used by European writers and artists. In several European double-blind studies of Alzheimer's patients, use of drug significantly increased scores on mental function tests.
Lucidril is a powerful free-radical scavenger that enjoys a reputation as an intelligence-booster. It has a demonstrated effect of increasing learning ability. Because of it's aggressive action against free radicals, Lucidril, like Deprenyl, has been shown in laboratory experiments not only to increase mental function, but also to increase the lifespans of animals by an average of 30% .
Another drug I have used with extremely encouraging results is Hydergine. I owe my success with Hydergine in part to the fact that I commonly increase the drug's dosage from the standard American level of 3mg daily to the common European level of 9 mg. Hydergine is very valuable in stabilizing the brain's glucose metabolism; therefore it helps protect against the glucose disruption caused by excessive Cortisol production. Because of this effect on glucose metabolism, it enhances concentration as well as memory. (pg 61) <skip>
Deprenyl, however, restores dopamine to its proper levels. It helps repair damaged brain cells, and stimulates learning ability, strength, and mobility. In animal tests, it has increased lifespan by up to 40%. In human tests it has increased memory, concentration, and language ability.
DHEA is a form of a steroid hormone that commonly declines with age. Because it acts as a so-called neuroprotective growth factor in the nervous system, DHEA also shields brain cells from metabolic damage. A shortage of DHEA often results in memory loss. DHEA generally exists in a inverse proportion to levels of Cortisol, because the two compounds are both used in similar biochemical processes. Thus, as Cortisol increases, DHEA declines. As the body's energy returns, so does a person's willpower. A person has to not only desire to improve their situation, but have the vital energy to implement desires. Sometimes physical healing is the first step to a positive attitude. Deprenyl and Ginkgo biloba helps in healing the body and the mind. Attitude and biochemistry create each other.
The Cerebrum is divided into 4 areas, or lobes: the frontal lobe (which does most of your abstract problem-solving); the parietal lobe (which helps process information from your senses); the occipital lobe (which governs vision); and the temporal lobe (which controls memory, hearing, and language).
In the mid-1980's Dr. Diamond, former head of the prestigious Lawrence Hall of Science at UC Berkeley, was chosen to dissect and study the brain of Albert Einstein. <skip> Dr. Diamond decided to examine carefully the areas of Einstein's Brain that were most intricately involved with imagery and abstract reasoning: the superior prefrontal and inferior parietal lobes. She compared it to a control base of 11 other human brains harvested from intellectually average men who had died at aprox. The same age as Einstein, i.e., 76. It was revealed that Einstein had significantly more of a certain type of cell in one special area of his brain. That area was Area 39, which is located in the inferior parietal lobe, (a part of the neocortex located in the upper, rear part of the brain).
It was very revealing to Dr. Diamond that Einstein had an enhanced Area 39, because she and other researchers believe Area 39 is the most highly evolved site in the brain. When people have lesions in Area 39, they have great difficulty with abstract imagery, memory, attention, and self-awareness. They are largely unable to read, recognize letters, spell, or do calculations. They also have much difficulty integrating visual, auditory, and tactile input. In short, if Area 39 is damaged, a person loses most of his or her higher intellect.
The special type of cell that was in abundance in Area 39 of Einstein's brain was the glial cell. To Dr. Diamond, this was extremely significant.
Glial cells are very common in the brain, but they are, in effect, "housekeeping" cells, and not "thinking" cells. Their job is to support the metabolism of the "thinking" neurons.
Einstein had only a measurable excess of "housekeeping" cells, and not a measurable excess of "thinking" cells. To Dr. Diamond, this meant Einstein's "thinking" cells in Area 39 needed a great deal of metabolic support. Why would they need so much support? Because they were doing a tremendous amount of work: a lot of hard thinking.
This abundance of glial cells had significantly enlarged Einstein's Area 39. It appeared as if Einstein had probably been born with an excellent brain, rich in fluid intelligence. Fluid intelligence, as you'll recall, is the measure of how efficient the brain works, rather than how many facts are stored in it. <skip> and paraphrase- In a Rat experiment, the rats with the "enriched environment" cage, had lived with a more interesting, thought-provoking environment, and Area 39 of these rats' brains were 16% larger than other rats, owing to an increased abundance of glial cells. In addition, other areas of their brains had also increased in size, by about 10 percent.
The Rats more mature, highly developed neurons responded even better to intellectual enrichment than less-developed neurons. As you probably remember, neurons gradually develop throughout life by reaching out to other neurons with branchlike dendrites. Your dendrites keep sending out new branches. Then, each new branch sends out other branches. Dr. Diamond found that the first dendritic branch off a neuron did not grow any longer as a result of mental enrichment. Nor did the second, third, fourth, or fifth. The sixth branch, however, clearly increased in length in response to mental enrichment. This finding reinforced Dr. Diamond's belief that it's never too late in life to learn. Learning, it appears, is most valuable for older people, who tend to have relatively more six-branch dendrites than young people. (pg. 350)
This book excerpt is from the incredible book: Brain Longevity, by Dharma Singh Khalsa, MD Warner Books is the Publisher, ©1997
First Trade Printing 1999 ISBN # 0-446-6737-0 Paperback, ISBN # 0-446-52067-5 Hardback