Justin Bieber Muhammad Ali Miley Cyrus and then there's murderers rapists arsonists I probably have seen more brains than anybody in the world and now your brain so this is going to be really hard for you you have ADHD really Dr Daniel Aon the world's leading expert on the brain Dr aon's mission is to end mental illness by creating a revolution in brain health buckle up Dr Aon let me know what you see your brain is involved in everything you do and after today you will always care about your brain what things make the brain worse drugs alcohol not getting good sleep sugar fruit juice eitting a soccer ball with your head caffeine caffeine it shrinks


it what's bad about sugar you're more likely get obesity and as your weight goes up the actual physical size and function of your brain goes down that should scare the fat off anyone and then there's social media if you're on 3 and 1/2 hours a day you begin to wear out those pleasure centers that bring you happiness and they bring you pleasure and they bring you drive you thrill them to death but you're not stuck with the brain you have you can make it better I can prove it so it starts with let's look at my brain let's do this we have evidence of and that's normal in our society the problem is two or three of those can impact the rest of your life


and nobody knows about it quick one this is really really fascinating to me on the back end of our YouTube channel it says that 69.9% of you that watch this channel frequently over the lifetime of this channel haven't yet hit the Subscribe button I just wanted to ask you a favor it helps this channel so much if you choose to subscribe helps us scale the guest helps us scale the production and it makes this show bigger so if I could ask you for one favor if you've watched the show before and you've enjoyed it and you like this episode that you're currently watching could you please hit the Subscribe button thank you so much


and I repay that gesture by making sure that everything we do here gets better and better and better and better that is a promise I'm willing to make you do we have a [Music] deal Dr Aon if someone's just clicked on this podcast and they're considering sticking around or maybe doing something else with their time can you explain to me BAS B on what you know that we're going to be discussing and the subject matter we're going to be discussing and how important it is the benefit to their life if they stick


around 10 extra years of cognitive performance in their life uh better love better money Better Health because your brain we're going to talk about is involved in everything you do how you think how you feel how you act how you get along with other people and my goal is to end it's going to sound huge and it is and it's going to sound impossible but it's not my goal is to end mental illness by creating a revolution in brain health I hate the term mental illness it shames people it's stigmatizing and it's wrong these things aren't mental disorders they're brain disorders if you get your


brain healthy well your mind tends to follow so you're depressed an anti-depressant is not doing one thing for getting your brain healthy nobody's talking to you about your diet your level of exercise your sleep not living in a mold filled home not really allowing your kids to hit soccer balls with their head right because that's not brain healthy and if we can create this revolution in brain health the incidence of mental health disorders will go down by half and I guess that's part of the reveal here is you've actually scanned my brain and you're going to tell me


today the results that you have on your laptop over there in the corner of the room so I came to your clinic in Los Angeles and they made me do a test on a computer like it was almost like a speed test of sorts and then they made me lie down in a big machine for about how long was that about 30 minutes 15 minutes 15 minutes while this big machine rotated around my head and looked at my brain that was my experience of what happened and then I filled out some questionnaires about myself and my brain and my life generally and from that all that data feeds into the thing you're about to show me now yes so I never will make a


diagnosis from a scan okay I make a diagnosis from all the information which is why we had you fell out all that information and I gave you a test called the Connor's continuous performance test which is a 15minute test of attention and every time you see a letter you hit the space bar except when you see the letter X when you see the letter X you don't do anything so it measures impulse control and inhibition response time and you actually did fine on the test and but there's other evidence that you might in fact have ADD or ADHD from getting bored easily to poor handwriting being disorganized and so on uh and obviously


you're very bright but struggled a bit in school so with all of that information um first thing to do is look at a healthy scan so we know what a healthy scan looks like and we're going to show it in two different ways we're to look at the outside surface of your brain so a healthy one is the image on the left and all we should see is full even symmetrical activity so the image on the top left is looking underneath the brain so the top is the front part of the brain the bottom is the back the top is an area called the prefrontal cortex hugely important in humans largest in humans than any other animal by far it's 30% of the human brain 11%


of the chimpanzee brain and then the back is the cerebellum back bottom part of the brain um again very important involved in processing speed the bottom right of the images on the left is looking down from the top uh the other two looking at the brain from the side color doesn't matter it's the shape it should be full even and symmetrical the images on the right the color matters so it's what we call our active images blue is average activity red is the top 15% white is the top 8% and see all the white so the white is where things are really happening it's really hot okay and that's healthy that's normal and


that's going to become very important for you so if we look at your brain it's a little bumpy and so I'll ask you about toxins there anything toxic in your life what what are toxins so think alcohol marijuana mold the heavy metals in your your body infections and so it's not alcohol or drugs then I begin to go have you ever lived in a mold filled environment maybe we should test you for that do you have more mercury in your body or lead in your body than you should so for example I had very high mercury levels my brain sort of looked like that when I first scanned it it was toxic and I had very high mercury levels like I never drank I


just don't like it never smoked never did drugs but my brain looked toxic and so you then have to go hunt down well why and for me it was Mercury um decreased activity in your left prefrontal cortex so when I think of maybe addd like symptoms in your life probably coming from there and decreased activity ity in your left temporal lob and you right-handed yeah yeah so that can go with the irritability what I've seen is that can go with sort of short fuse and your prefrontal cortex is sort of the brain's supervisor it watches you and your prefrontal cortex is flat MH and I don't like that and then when I heard you played soccer when I read you


played soccer is very common in my soccer players now how long did you play soccer for uh pretty much all of my childhood and any concussions playing soccer I think I had a couple of big headbangs that were significant but not many not nothing that took me to hospital but I had a couple of moments where i' pulled off the pitch because like there was a clash of heads so your brain is soft about the consistency of soft butter your skull is really hard and has sharp bony ridges um two or three of those can impact the rest of your life and nobody knows about it because nobody looks right if you went and saw a thousand


psychiatrists say I want to focus better and have better temper you saw a thousand psychiatrists two of them would look at your brain which I think is insane so the colors here that I'm looking at the what does the the red and the green so the color really doesn't matter here doesn't matter it's the shape so when I see this hole you don't have holes in your brain what the hole means is less blood flow than is optimal in fact I'm going to show you if you do what I ask you to do and we scan you 6 months from now that'll be better I have a program that tells me if you do what I ask you to do this is what's generally going to happen and if you don't do what


I ask you to do well this is what it's going to look like five years from now 10 years from now and you're young if you get serious about loving and repairing your brain your 60s 7s 80s are going to be amazing because you're going to have a healthy brain If you go oh Aman's quack and I don't believe any of this crap it's going to be really hard for you because you're not going to have full access to your brain and that's scary so I know that's sort of a big deal but I think this is from traumatic brain injury at some point and a bit of a toxin which may maybe mold mhhm and when I when I say


mold our house was very very dirty growing up so that's what I assume you're speaking to there and we did have like mold around the window sill sometimes and we had mice and rats at some point and it was like living in a house that a hoarder had uh lived in because some of the rooms were just stacked to the ceiling with crap so I think maybe if you're talking about mold or toxic brain I I I'm guessing that's where it's come from once it gets in your body unless you do something active to get it out it stays really and can continue to cause problems and then if we go to the active scan it's very different than I want it to be and I


know I can make it better but if we go back to what's healthy lots of activity in the the cerebellum your cerebellum is Sleepy despite you probably being very coordinated I need to activate that thing this is really important to get better activity there and you have this diamond pattern so you have ad and we'll talk more about it it's a subtype I call overfocused add where you can be obessive when you're really interested in something but if it doesn't interest you it's hard for you to focus so if you look at this it looks like a diamond and when I see that


diamond I think of past emotional trauma and uh I published a big study looking at there's 20,000 people can I separate emotional Trauma from physical trauma and I can with actually high levels of accuracy and it looks to me like there's sort of bit of both for you do you play Rocket Sports no I don't so that'll be one of my prescriptions for you and actually study from England people play Rocket Sports live longer than everybody else by far soccer was on the bottom like soccer and football were on the bottom but tennis table tennis rocketball now pickle ball uh bad mitton are on the top but let's talk about this diamond for a bit when I say emotional


trauma MH what comes up for you so a few things the first thing is my parents were always at War growing up as a kid in a household where there was so much screaming and negative energy but then growing up with shame because we was I was so different from everyone else around me never inviting friends back to my house in those 16 years that I lived there before I left so nobody really knew where I lived either I think of all that stuff when I think about like emotional trauma well that's a lot okay yeah I mean if you grow up in a stressful environment Mo MH in um a hostile environment where your parents are at


War it trains your brain your emotional brain to become h active because you always have to watch for danger and that gets programmed early and even later when there's not the danger your body still can look for it you're waiting for that next bad thing to happen and do you think I have ADHD I do now the question would be who has it in your family because it doesn't just show up but often children who have ADHD have one or both parents who have it and you can see those similar trads and it sounds like one or both of your parents could have been a little bit


conflict seeking my my mother and if I was to Hazard a guess at which one of my parents had ADHD and this is just me guessing not trying to diagnose my parents I would say it's would have been my mother why she's the she's the most irritable handwriting isn't great she is a little bit more sort of like SC scattered I should say she's a lot more messy my dad's like very organized with everything my mom's very very very messy like me um um the the other thing I would ask is what did teachers say about you I went back to speak at my


school to the GCS CNA level students I've done it twice and I remember one of the teachers came up to me bear in mind at this age I'm 24 25 years old and she said you were a useless student but you were nice you're a nice person I was never swearing or throwing chairs but I was useless and I spent most of the time in the exclusion unit which is where you go if you don't do your homework or you don't attend I just couldn't sit in classrooms I couldn't sit in classrooms and stay focused on what they were telling me es especially when I wasn't interested that's been like her defining quality of my life I'm exceptionally good at not doing things I'm not


interested in and I'm ex and I'm good at when I'm interested but when I'm not interested I could see my peers almost like will themselves to engage in things that not interested in I'm I will I could never do that and I've always said I'm a remarkable quitter so you think about stopped going to school then went to University for one day and was like NOP never went back after that first day so so it's it's a very important piece of advice for people who have ADD is pick something you love not a job that you think you'll just make more money in and that's another sort of piece of the puzzle that completely fits with having add and as as we know there


are problems with it but there are also huge benefits of it your preal cortex when it works too hard so I imagine if I scanned your dad that it would be busy because he's very organized and like collecting um but there's 's less creativity that goes with the busy frontal loes when there's a little bit sleepy you entertain all sorts of thoughts and you're a little less rule bound than people whose prefrontal cortex more active they like rules and they like sameness and they like predictability and probably like some of that because I think you inherited some of your dad


that's the top of the diamond but you're obviously very creative I do um I do think of myself as being um a a creative entrepreneur I I know other entrepreneurs that are like really good at finance and operations and processes whereas my skill in entrepreneurship has always been the creativity that's why I'm a marketeer that's where I built my my fortunes per se was in marketing and creativity So and I've always found other people to do the finance or the process or operation stuff for me because that's not where I I'm engaged or or where I think I'm particularly good so well and since a lot of CEOs listen to this podcast a lot


of CEOs have ADD of one form or another and they Thrive when they hire people who are organized so it's very important CU we tend to like to hire people like ourselves and it's very important to hire people who help us where we're more vulnerable it's almost like hiring people with different brains yes literally yes we we we talked about something a second ago you said when you saw your brain for the first time it changed your life I do feel like that now I do feel like when I almost didn't realize my brain was there and I think a lot of people we go through our lives just kind


of because we never see the thing we don't appreciate the thing so step one is that awareness and then step two is the realization that we can do something about it because I grew up thinking that your brain and your body generally is just it just is what it is like I can't do anything about you know I tend to think I can't do anything about I don't know my fingernail I probably you can but you just see these things as static objects that are what they are this idea that I can do something about it is the most important idea it's the it's the empowering idea and that is what you're telling me is possible I can change my brain


it's the most exciting lesson that I've learned you're not stuck I'm not stuck with the brain I had you're not stuck with the brain you have you can make it better I can prove it in fact every every day what I've come to believe you're making your brain better or you're making it worse let's start there by what you're doing what things make the brain worse what are the common things that most of us do without thinking that make the brain worse when my daughter Khloe was in second grade I went to her classroom and I wrote 20 things on the board and I went separate them for me good for your brain bad for your brain year olds they


got 19 out of 20 right so most people know the only thing they got wrong was orange juice they put it in the healthy category when in fact when is it rational to unwrap fruit sugar from its fiber source because it turns toxic in your body so I'm not a fan of fruit juice I'm a fan of fruit not fruit juice but so the bad category hitting a soccer ball with your head no don't do that um what's bad about sugar for the brain pro-inflammatory which what does that mean it makes you diabetic but I mean as it relates to the brain why is like orange juice or the ice cream bad for my brain because it's


ultimately going to give you high blood sugar levels MH which erode your blood vessels and you're going to have lower blood flow to your brain that's bad thing I mean there's so many things about it so it's addictive it's pro-inflammatory it makes it more likely you're going to have diabetes and obesity so 72% of Americans are overweight 42% are obese I've published three studies on 35,000 people as your weight goes up the actual physical size and function of your brain goes down that should scare the fat off anyone I used to be chubby but when I figured out that connection I'm like oh no I'm it was that that gave


me the motivation to drop about 25 pounds and so sugar is the gateway drug to diabetes and obesity and so not to mention inflammation which is the cause of depression and dementia so I've got sugar I've got head injury I'm going to avoid both of these things what else should I avoid and then you have low blood flow in those two very important areas and so how can we increase blood flow so you want to avoid things that cause low blood flow caffeine nicotine caffeine caffeine constricts blood flow to the brain what does that do to my brain Con well constricts blood flow so you're


going to get less blood flow and remember I showed you that progression with age no you don't want that you want to do things that increase blood flow to your brain so exercise um genko just one of the supplements I'm going to give you eat foods like um beets oregano Rosemary cinnamon they increase blood flow and do you think there's correlation or a link between caffeine consumption and a shrinking brain yes and a shrinking brain is that


associated with things like dementia aging brain you know I don't think there's a connection I haven't read any research that says there's a connection between caffeine and dementia there's a connection with sleep problems and there's connection with sleep problems in dementia I think if you have like 100 milligram a day of caffeine is probably fine but one venty Starbucks coffee has got 330 milligrams of caffeine Jesus and people just aren't thinking about the level of caffeine they're having in our society what are the other very obvious things that are not good for my brain because I


really want to make sure that I avoid those things I've got sugar erectile dysfunction I mean while we're so B is for blood flow right while we're on blood flow 40% of 40y olds have erectile dysfunction 70% of 70y olds have erectile dysfunction what that means if you have blood flow problems anywhere it means they're everywhere and so like No And and it means either you're too sedentary you're overweight you're smoking or having too much caffeine or using marijuana because marijuana lowers blood flow to the brain and so just in that one of the


11 it's exercise genko for you not for everybody but for you hyperbaric oxygen those three things will make a big difference in blood flow genko genko what is that it's a supplement what does it do uh increases blood flow to the brain the prettiest brains I've ever seen take genko there's actually a spec study uh they gave uh people 120 milligrams of genko twice a day significant Improvement in blood flow to the brain and so in one of the supplements I'm going to give you we have genko I I've taken it every day for the last 20


years at least and then this is where the US government got an F for the pandemic loneliness accelerates dementia and brain problems and so when they isolated as the whole significant increase in brain problems so get connected to other people the i in bright Minds is inflammation so what increases inflammation low omega-3 fatty acid levels and we are deficient 93% of the population is deficient and omega-3 fatty acids 93% so all of us should be either eating more fish or taking an omega-3 supplement like fish oil gum disease like who knew like


I wasn't really that good at taking care of my gums until I started Ed reading the studies you have gum disease you have inflammation you're more likely to get depressed and have dementia I'm like oh my goodness so I'm a flossing fool um H's head trauma we talked about that I did the big NFL study when the NFL was struggling with the truth on traumatic brain injury in football and 80% of our players got better TS toxins um drugs alcohol um but other things like Mercury and what are the unobvious toxins because anesthesia anesthesia I I was looking at my bathroom items and I have like mouthwash


and toothpaste and deodorants and after shaves and I was wondering to myself whether those were toxic to some degree so there's an AB there's a couple of them but the one I like is called Think Dirty mhm where you can scan those products and it'll tell you on a scale of 0 to 10 how bad they are for you so zero is you live a long time and 10 is you die early and so when I figured this out and I scanning everything um I mean it cost me hundreds of dollars to replace things and my wife more than that with all the makeup and stuff but I shaved for 50 years with barbasol and it's a


nine which is die early and now I shave with something called kiss my face and it's a two it's like you know we teach people read the labels on food stuff should read the labels on anything that goes on your body or on your child's body and we have this epidemic and we'll get to it of low testosterone in males because of the toxins we put on their bodies when they're young what is the m in brightness so the m is mental health it's the quality of your thoughts the level of your stress and the level of trauma you carry in


your body and whether or not you have any of the psychiatric stuff like depression for example doubles the risk of Alzheimer's disease in women and quadruples it in men and so the m is what's going on in your mind and so I teach people to kill the ants the automatic negative thoughts that steal their happiness um understand and process their traumas and treat whatever psychiatric issues may be


present like in your case the ADD and I think we start with a supplement um or even consider medication talk about the natural ways to do it the medicine ways to do it and for me I'm not opposed to medicine I'm actually really good at it but it's never the first and the only thing I think about I've really never taken medication in my life even like if I get a headache I don't take medication I'm not the type of person I probably haven't taken a pill in like really in years the only time I've taken medication is if I have a severe infection of sorts so like there was this one time where like my foot was


going green and I'd stood on some glass whatever and it was really getting out of control I'm talking like a 2in purple thing growing on my foot and I thought okay instead of getting my leg cut off I'll take this medication the doctor's given me otherwise I just do not take it so I will rather go through severe pain than take medication because I believe that my body can fix things um so when I think about taking ADD medication or ADHD medication I don't really know the difference I go well if my if I'm messy or if I'm my handwriting's bad or whatever it might be then that's just who I am and that's okay I can get better at it I can be


less I can be more organized but why why do I want to take medication well I'm not gonna I'm not going to be the one to sell you on medication but what I would say is so a lot of times people ask me the side effects of medication MH and for stimulants for add it could be a decreases your appetite or con negative ly affect your sleep but you always have to ask the second question which is what are the side effects of not taking the medicine what's the impact on your life on your business on your money on your relationships on your health because living with untreated add for many


people and maybe not you but for many people goes with chronic stress because of the negative things that tend to go along with it the dysfunction and for you you're clearly not broken but are you optimized do you have full access to your own brain and I would argue no and we can do and we can do better but we can do it in steps and ultimately I see my job is giving people options and then telling them the pros and cons of each option and then letting them choose right I mean that's what good doctors should do it's called informed


consent um and you know I can just tell you my experience I told you the story with my daughter and I've seen that play out thousands of times that people just become more optimized and it's not necessarily the medicine but that medicine when it's for the right brain right the wrong brain it makes people worse and if you read my book healing add I talk about the Ring of Fire ADD so ADD and ADHD are different terms for the same thing 1980 the American American Psychiatric association's DSM Diagnostic and statistical Manual of mental disorders I hate that but it's what we


have was attention deficit disorder add with or without hyperactivity 1987 God knows for what reason they changed the name to ADHD attention deficit hyperactivity disorder basically throwing out half the people who had it because half the people who have ADD or ADHD are never for hyperactive and they don't get diagnosed because they don't bring enough negative attention to themselves for parents to go you have a problem and you're giving me a problem um so anyway different names for the same thing and if you can manage it by having extra help for the things you're not good at with


exercise with all of the good habits you have well that's awesome if you want to be 10% more focused like I treat this writer um and she only takes medicine when she has to get stuff done but she never takes it when she writes because she has 16 plot lines going on at once in her books and she goes no I think it decreases my creativity a little bit interesting because the the fact that we're medicating the a brain like mine I I go is that for professional optimization because if you just go back like I don't know a couple hundred years


you go back even further to a time when we couldn't like read or write there wasn't computers and all of these things you you would have had no idea that you know if you go if you go back far you wouldn't have been able to tell a really an ADHD well what I'm trying to you'd be able to tell their life I mean I have a patient from Ethiopia and I'm like so tell me the impact in your culture and he said the people with severe ADHD get excluded because they can't be relied on and the isolation causes great shame and and pain um and they have no idea it's a brain thing where does it come from ADHD or add well it's genetic okay it's clearly genetic I mean I if I don't see


it in someone's family I think head trauma and with you I think that's possible because of soccer um except you see it in your family um is it a defect or is it a difference it's a difference if I if I chose to take a drug was it like you called it rellin I think you called the what the so Rin would be one of the options whatever drug it was what exactly would it do under brain scanning to my brain so if I scan my brain and took the drug what would you see in my brain well I can tell you it would activate your cerebellum okay the bit that was a bit sleepy it was a bit sleepy and it would activate your prefrontal


cortex and um it would give your brain better energy so my first spec scan 1991 a woman she tried to kill herself the night before I went to the lecture on brain spec Imaging and then I walked out of the lecture and she was my new patient her name was Sandy she tried to kill herself the night before and as I'm getting to know her I'm thinking she has ADD she has an 8-year-old son who has ADD talked about the genetic connection she had an IQ of 144 but never finished college and I'm like how'd you study she said well I never really did except maybe the night before a test I'd put on a pot of coffee stay up all night cramming and then I'd


take the test that's classic ad way of doing things and I'm like you know I think maybe you have adult ADD and she goes oh adults don't have ADD and I'm thinking I'm the doctor but I'm like how about if we look at your brain and and I knew from other work I'd done that I should do it twice at rest and concentration and when she tried to concentrate her brain completely deactivated turned off like for you willing did it once but if I had done it twice probably your brain would be busy or at rest and then when you try to do it it would drop and I put the pictures on uh a couple of days later I put the picture


on the table in front of her and as I explained it to her she started to cry and she said you mean it's not my fault and I said having add is sort of like people who need glasses and I wear glasses to drive and took my glasses out put them on and I said people wear glasses aren't dumb crazy or stupid her eyeballs are shaped funny and we wear glasses to focus said people have ADD aren't dumb crazy or stupid some of them are the brightest people I know but their frontal lobes deactivate taking the medicine as like glasses for your frontal loes help you


focus and she did it she was conflict driven she was always poking her husband they got into a huge fight which is why she tried to kill herself she stopped that she's a better mom she went back and finished College I mean her life's it's like your brain with glasses wow my friends that take medication for ADD say that to me they say it's like their life is before and after that moment so I've you know I completely believe what you're saying um second ago you said this phrase when we were talking about the M which is your mental health and the impact that has on the development of a brain that's either healthy or unhealthy and you said this thing about


you got to make sure you kill the ants which is killing those negative thoughts um that's much easier said than done how does how does someone go about killing their negative thoughts is there a process they can go through to do that yeah it's a habit right and it's not hard but like any habit you have to do it repeatedly like over and over and over and over and over and over um whenever you have a thought your brain releases chemicals whenever you have a bad thought a sad thought a mad thought your brain releases a certain set of chemicals that make you feel bad immediately your hands get cold they


start to sweat your muscles get tense you start to breathe erratically and it all happens instantaneously whenever you have a positive thought happy thought a hopeful thought a loving thought like I'm back because I love the first time was on the podcast with you um a completely different set of chemicals come out and your hands get warmer drier your breathing slows down your heart beats in a healthier and it happens like immediately people have ADD since we're talking about that they tend to go more toward negative thoughts because negative thoughts are more stimulating and


uh here's the exercise whenever you feel sad or mad or nervous or out of control write down what you're thinking and then ask yourself is it true is it absolutely true this is a process I learned from my friend Byron Katie how do I feel when I have this thought how do I act when I have this thought and what's the outcome of the thought so is it true is it absolutely true how do I feel act in the outcome of the thought how would I feel if I didn't have the thought how would I act if I didn't have the thought


what's the outcome of not having that thought then my favorite part of it is take the original thought Tana never listens to me Tana's my wife I've had that thought um and then turn it to the opposite T it does listen to me and then just ask yourself whether or not that's true and by directing my thoughts by managing so rather than being a victim so many of my patients are victims of their thoughts until they do the work right this is one of the things where do what the FI say write down a hundred of your worst thoughts take them through that process and by the time you get to 30 they'll stop bothering


you so if I'm a repetitive negative thinker or a repetitive positive thinker does that alone change the shape of my brain yes and in um my new book change your brain every day there's actually pictures of Noel Nelson she was writing a book called The Power of appreciation and I had her she wanted me to scan her while she was appreciating her brain and it looked beautiful and I'm like as I'm showing it to her I'm like you need to come back tomorrow and I want you to hate yourself and she goes oh I don't want to do that I'm like come on you have to suffer for science I I one we have a positive scan and then we had a negative


scan and the negativity dropped her left temporal lobe her left frontal lobe and her cerebellum so interesting I mean similar to what your scan looks like but hers was way worse I mean it's healthy brain and then a deactivated brain and that explained to me athletic slumps it's like why do people get in athletic slums because negativity turns off their cerebellum and they become just a little less coordinated interesting and I'm not a fan of positive thinking I'm a fan of accurate thinking with a positive spin so positive thinking is I can have this


third piece of cheesecake and it's not going to negatively impact my body or my brain like no the don't worry be happy people die the earliest of accidents and preventable illnesses so a lot of people come to me for anxiety and I'm like so on a scale of 0 to 100 how much is it I'm like 50 I said okay our goal is not zero our goal is 15 I want you to have enough anxiety you do the right things somewhat linked to that is a word used as well which is stress when we're talking about the m in bright Minds how to have healthy brains what role does stress play on our brains stress um


especially chronic unremitting stress so if we think of the stress you had growing up um where there was a lot of fighting it raises a hormone called cortisol cortisol begins to sh shrank activity in the hippocampus one of the major memory and Learning Centers in the brain so one could at least argue or postulate your struggle in school was because your emotional brain was busy because you were worried about things at home um it makes it more likely you get infections it makes it more likely um that you have Le in problems and Trauma trauma was the other word you used which I I thought was worth diving into um the impact that


trauma has on our brains um and does trauma show up when you scan someone's brain can you see it yeah so trauma shows up is that diamond pattern uh which is why I as asked you about it it's your emotional brain anterior singulate at the top it's the brain's gear shifter thamus often involved in mood basil ganglia migdala involved in anxiety so we often see worry anxiety and sadness and it shows up as that diamond pattern that after people do EMDR a specific psychological treatment for trauma calms it down and I say psychological treatment I'm like yeah but it has biological effects uh it's a very interesting treatment so I get you


to like first thing write down 10 big traumas in your life and we'll go after the wor one first um and have you bring it up and there's a whole process to it but have your eyes go back and forth while you bring it up and it's so interesting the connections your brain will make to it but as you process it you find you're actually less bothered by it and it's Master for for single incident traumas like being robbed or being in a car accident for CR chronic trauma it takes longer um but it's so helpful um when I met my wife 18 years ago um her Ace score adverse childhood experiences on a scale of 0 to 10 how many bad things happened to you was an


eight and I was so taken with this woman and one of my first gifts to her was 10 sessions of EMDR one I wanted to see if she would like wrestle with her traumas she went for two years and I'm absolutely convinced that's one of the reasons she and I rarely fuss with each other because we don't trigger each other and when you talk about trauma it's not these big tea traumas that some people sometimes talk of which is you know when I was young I was fondled by my uncle for example it can also be an isolated incident that happened when you were an adult absolutely it can be anything that attacks your sense of safety either


physical or emotional getting fired is traumatic for a lot of people um not performing in a high in an important situation can be traumatic and that changes the activity within your brain well it depends on how strong it is if it was really strong if is really strong then the activity centers of your brain would well and there's one thing we haven't talked about yet called brain Reserve which is how healthy was the brain that you brought into trauma because you can take two soldiers put them in the same tank and expose them to the same blast the same angles everything is the same one walks away unharmed the other one's


permanently disabled why it's the brain they brought into the trauma and so if your mother used drugs while she was pregnant with you she decreased your reserve if your mom and dad fought a lot or they separated when she was pregnant with you that decreased your reserve if she gave you bad food if she neglected you if there was chronic stress that's decreasing your Reserve so all of us have a certain level of Reserve when we go into that trauma and some people get post-traumatic growth that they're actually better after the trauma you know they make the trauma and makes something meaningful out of it and other


people have post-traumatic stress where it really um causes them to suffer so I love the idea of brain Reserve because I'm like always thinking of boosting mine yeah because then also when something traumatic happens I'm in a better place right right like if you kill the ants if you're ant population is low my automatic negative thoughts right yeah so if you're masterful if you have an ante eater running around in your head cleaning up the negative thoughts that all of us have when you go into that trauma well you're just better able to deal with it than if you have an un


disciplined mind that's infested and there's nowhere in school that people teach you to kill the ants we have a foundation called the change your brain foundation and I love it so much uh we're dedicated to research Education Service but last year we produced this new course called brain Thrive by five so it's for preschoolers kindergarten grade one where we teach kids to love and care for their brain it's like 30 modules or six to seven minutes long and six of them aren't learning to kill the ants and little kids just love that you don't have to believe every stupid thing you think and I don't know if you know


but Jerry Seinfeld once said the brain is a sneaky organ we all have weird crazy stupid sexual violent thoughts that nobody should ever here and just because you have a bad thought doesn't even mean you believe the thought right it's not the thoughts you have that make you suffer it's the thoughts you attach to that make you suffer I get all sorts of crazy thoughts and I'm like my brain is so creative but I don't believe most of them quick one just want to talk to you about our sponsor super quick called LinkedIn jobs hiring is one of the most important steps in your business and without good people there is literally no company trust me I found out along


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number one in delivering quality hires versus leading competitors LinkedIn jobs helps you find the qualified candidates you want to talk to faster post your job for free at doac that's doac to post your job for free terms and conditions apply as you'll know this podcast is sponsored by hure and one of my favorite products that they've ever created is that their hu Daily Greens it actually performed so well when we released it that it sold out completely and the only thing I'm back here to say to you guys is that it's now back in stock it tastes amazing and it's actually got 91 vitamins and minerals


and whole food ingredients in one scoop it's nice not to have to think about taking lots of different pills and vitamins in the morning I can just take this and I know that I'm giving my body a good dose of all the vitamins and minerals that it needs every morning it's a lot better tasting than having to force down some of the other green powders I've tried and it's really reassuring to know that I'm looking after my body properly unfortunately and currently this product is only available in the US so anyone in the USA head to to get it before it runs out again but anyone that's not in the US and wants it to come to their country


please send me a DM a direct message and I'll speak to the team at hu in our board meetings and I'll let them know that you want it in your country tell me about the most unhealthy brain you've ever seen for a 15-year-old with was Kip Kinkle he's a 15-year-old boy in Springfield Oregon who brought weapons to school got arrested his parents picked him up from jail and sometime between 6 o' that night and 8:00 the next morning he murdered his mom and dad and then he went to Springfield thirston High School in Springfield Oregon and shot 25 people based on my work they scaned and him for


his trial his brain was so awful like I'd never seen a 15-year-old that had a brain so damaged and his life reflected it what did you see in his brain it it was shriveled at 15 at 15 and it's like okay why well he murdered his mom and dad so I couldn't get a good history but he either had anoxia at Birth lack of oxygen a severe infection or something was poisoning his brain it could have been lad it um could have been an infection I mean we're talking about M the I is immunity and infections it's a major cause of psychiatric problems nobody knows about


it have you scanned the brains of lots of psychopaths I have and what do you see when you look at psychopath so I published a study on murderers and young murderers have really low frontal L function older murderers it's Global low activity now not all murderers are the same I have one murderer's brain her brain actually looked pretty good but she was in the middle of being abused by her husband and she murdered him and it wasn't that irrational you know when you really know her story um but most brains are troubled do you think you could look at a brain and predict now you should ask me should you scan presidential candidates


interesting especially now uh what do you think Donald Trump's brain looks like well I think if we scanned President Biden or former president Trump neither one of them would be healthy I mean one we talked about the older you get the less healthy they are and um if someone is going to have nuclear codes shouldn't we know what their brain looks like and I wrote an oped piece in 2008 when Brock Obama was running against John McCain arguing for don't you think we should scan presidential candidates and yeah I don't think either one of their brains would be healthy and that concerns me because I mean what do


we need for our top politicians judgment forethought impulse control okay so pling Devil's Advocate to that if we started to do that at the very highest office in the land then that philosophy might creep down to lower offices in the land and when you go and try and get a job at I don't know a restaurant or a marketing agency it might become the norm that there's a almost brain discrimination or brain Prejudice in play where someone like me they have their brain scan they go listen this guy's he's not going to be very good at focusing it's an interesting question I have to tell you if you date one of my


children for more than four months I'm Gonna Get You scanned really I'm gonna figure out how to do that it's the rule in my family um and if you have a bad brain it doesn't mean you can't come back but are you smart enough to fix it that would be the question have you done that well my son-in-law Jesse who I love his mother has paranoid schizophrenia I'm like I want to scan your brain and I have he actually wrote a book called change Your Brain before 25 and he opens the book with the story of his scan and him sitting with me he's 6'4 I'm 5'6 and he said he' never felt so small


and yeah no that's the rule in my family I like I said when I met my wife I really liked her and the first naked part of her I wanted to see was her brain and so three weeks into our relationship I'm like hey you haven't seen the clinic don't you want to see the clinic she came I scanned her and it passed do you use her brain against her I bet you do I bet you do no we spoke to Tana she said you do you'll telling me there's not been one time where you've brought up her brain in a moment of conflict or arguments not once cuz I will call Tana I I don't yeah no because you know what


I do and this is this is on par with killing the ants I do an exercise with my patients called The onepage Miracle on one piece of paper write down what you want Rel and in a very specific way what do you want your relationships your work your money your physical emotional and spiritual health what do you want and with her cuz she's on the top of my list I want a kind caring loving supportive passionate relationship I always want that I don't always feel like that rude thoughts come into my head and if I've slept and I've eaten I never say them why because it doesn't get me what I want right and that's not selfish people go oh but you know what


you want is but what I want is not selfish it's good because Hedonism is the enemy of happiness but happiness is a moral obligation because of how you impact other people your brain's so smart but you have to tell it what you want and every major business including mine we have a one-page strategic plan we know what we want and we know what we're going to do this quarter and this year but people don't do that in their lives and you think they should have like a life plan every person should what do you want is your behavior getting you what you want do you think the brain almost conspires to make to


fit what you want I the brain once you're clear on what you want I guess your actions will change a little bit and then your brain will change shape to fit what you said you wanted yes and the brain is lazy the brain does what you allow it to do and it's habitual I was talking to one of my patients about this yesterday um because we were working on his one-page miracle and he's like you know I could be more positive and I go it's a habit to be negative or to be positive which highways are you building in your brain positive highways or negative highways accurate highways or distorted highways


you build that and if you watch the news they'll become more distorted because it's yeah in my book the end of mental illness I did something it was very fun for me to do I imagined if I was an evil ruler and I wanted to create mental illness what would I do and watching the news I think it was there's 62 evil ruler strategies and I think that's like 12 um because the news is no longer the news the news is about eyeballs and selling things and negativity sells if I can scare you that will sell and so um you have to be very careful with what you allow in your brain and yes you should be informed but not over and over and


over and over again people who start the day with the news are 27% less happy in the afternoon well I listen to lots of True Crime in serial killer things like every day are you telling me it's so funny I have this show on Instagram called scan my brain I take influential people and scan them and I did Megan Trainer uh the musician I love her music and she goes I can't sleep and every night before bed she's listening to True Crime and I'm like stop that do you think it is cuz I listen to True Crime before bed I have this exercise that I recommend to all my patients I've done it


for 10 years what went well when I go to bed I start at the beginning of the day and just go hour by hour looking for what went right about my day I think that's set your dreams up to be more positive I think it's i' do both and then i' just see which one works better for you every day win or learn what is the ey in bright Minds immunity and infections so do you know your vitamin D level no but I do take the only supplement that I've take frequently I'd say there's two is vitamin D and omega-3 but I've because I'm black as well I you need more vitamin D so uh people have darker skin need an going from Africa where there's a lot


of sun to the UK where there's no sun dramatically increase the risk of mental health problems yeah because of vitamin D deficiencies do you know what I think there's a certain member of my family who I won't name who went from Africa they're they've got two Nigerian parents went from Africa to the UK and I saw their mental health deteriorate quite significantly to the point that we believe this person might have bipolar now and I I I part of me suspects once I learn about vitamin D deficiency in people that have darker skin this person has very very very very black skin um that it might be associated with that change being in a new country that has


no sunlight for 30 years when you're you know black black you bet yeah and it's part of so if you see mental health as brain health then that becomes a critical intervention if you're not paying attention to brain health then you're like well what anticho or what mood stabilizer can I give them and I very well may use an anticho or a mood stabilizer but if I get your brain healthy you might not need it or you'll need half the dose so and and then infections I mean we're just coming out of a pandemic and coid changes your brain in a bad way it causes um like a a


inflammatory bomb to go off in your brain I was on the Kardashian show last year because I scanned Kendall Kendall came to see me and obviously I was on the show so it was public knowledge and it was postco and her emotional brain just was on fire uh and that's what we saw with Co and long Co emotional brain is hot but then the cortex begins to um get low in activity it's it's a bad combination why what does that mean it's like chronic damage and what does that mean if the in terms of behavior what's the implications for Behavior so the hot limic brain tense anxiety that she hadn't had um if you


start damaging your cortex and all of a sudden you're sad you're impulsive you're irritable you uh can get dark thoughts sometimes even suicidal thoughts and people got coid significantly increase in dementia someone who's listening to this right now that is depressed clinically depressed um or just feels you know depressive symptoms where did you start let's go to the extreme end someone that can't get themselves out of bed I sat here with Jay pinkit and she told me that she was clinically depressed and she if she just got to 4 p.m. every day to her that was a victory there are lots of people out


there that are in that situation right now where did you start with those people what advice do you give them because I'm sure you see a lot of them in your practice it starts with awareness yeah that maybe this is not me maybe it's my brain mhm and then it starts with loving your brain and then investigating your brain because depression is like chest pain so if you if somebody's like had chest pain you're like well where would you start well you start with an evaluation you wouldn't start with drugs I mean that would be like ludicrous you would like go why do you have chest pain why are you


depressed you know how's your thyroid right the person that can't get off the couch they're they could be hypothyroid or one of my friends got depressed she had anemia she had pernicious anemia because it was a B12 deficiency I I wouldn't assume oh you're depressed take this medicine depression is what it is it's not why it is and if you don't know why it is how do you effectively treat something like so many people come to me and they go I have an autoimmune disorder it's like well why do you have an autoimmune disorder order why is your body so mad at you it's attacking itself and so because my body's


broken but why is your body broken right and and I I hate the term broken right the the series like the broken brain and it's like no it's not optimized let's optimize it right I never want my patients to think of them as mental and I never want them to think of themselves as broken you're awesome so how can I help you be maybe 10% more awesome people feel like their brain is against them is working against them when they're feeling depression or those chronic cycles of negative thinking why is my brain attacking me why is it against me so part of it is it's not healthy and part of it's undisciplined and I got to do a lecture


last year for the coaching staff of the Miami Heat it was so much fun for me and I'm really thinking a lot about Elite Performance and I think it's just such a better model it's like let me help you be your best rather than let me fix you and and I think someone like you I mean it's like you're already awesome how can I make you more awesome how can I give you more access to your own brain and it's just it's easier to sell that than you know let me give you a diagnosis of a mental illness and then let me give you a medicine you have to take for the rest of your life this is the wrong model that Psychiatry


is currently operating with really good for the pharmaceutical industry really bad for our society 25% of the American population is on psychiatric drugs that's just horrifying is rin a psychiatric drug it is and I'm not opposed to psychiatric drugs be really clear I'm actually really good with them it's never the first and only thing I think about what is the n in bright mindes neuro hormone if your hormones that affect your brain which are all of them are not optimal you're not optimal and the DNS like if you're um cold when other people are not we should look at your thyroid the D is


diabesity where your overweight Andor have high blood sugar it's the most common of the 11 72% of people are overweight and as your weight goes up you have 7 of the 11 risk factors it lowers blood flow to the brain it prematurely ages the brain it increases inflammation it stores toxins it's a bad thing and then the S is sleep I've got obsessed with my sleep recently I have my woop on pretty much all the time and they're sponsor of this podcast I probably should say but I'm also like a equity shareholder in the company but it's become one of my biggest obsessions in my life is waking up in the morning and looking at how I


slept how much deep sleep restorative sleep I've had my heart rate variability all that stuff I'm obsessed with it what does sleep do to my brain I guess you said earlier that it kind of cleans it cleans it and refreshes it well we didn't even know that until I guess was 10 or 12 years ago where researchers saw that the fluid system in your brain it's called the glymphatic system doesn't open up when you're awake but when you're asleep it opens up and then sort of cleans things washes things and so for those people like me who I thought I was special because I could get by in four hours of sleep at night I'm sort of running around with a toxic brain or a


dirty brain and so what are those tox toxin so what is it cleaning have you heard of beta ameloid which is a cluster of proteins that increases your risk of Alzheimer's disease so they build up during the day system cleans it but if you're not getting good sleep you have more of a toxic buildup of those kinds of clumping proteins that are problematic for you interesting interesting is there anything else people need to know about sleep in the brain because I think everybody knows sleep is important a lot of people struggle with sleep sleep apnea triples the risk of Alzheimer's disease one of the big lessons imaging


has taught me that I can actually see the pattern for sleep apne on a scan and it looks like early Alzheimer's disease it's bilateral parietal top back part of your brain decreases what is sleep upne snore loudly stop breathing at night chronically tired the next day so when you sleep you're breathing um you have many apnic episodes where you stop breathing and so and if you're sleeping alone you actually might not know it because no one's being woken up by your snoring um and even people who've been diagnosed with it don't treat it because they don't want to wear the mask at night and I'm like no you have to treat it


otherwise the worst thing you can do for your brain is starve it of oxygen that's the worst thing you can do for your brain so breath work then must be quite good for the brain breath work is good for the brain um one of my tiny habits I have many of them for brain health is the 15sec breath uh 8 seconds in hold it for a second and a half 4 seconds out hold it for a second and a half do that four times eight times it'll break a panic attack do it on a routine basis it'll increase your heart rate variability breath work will breath work heart rate variability is this metric that I think Society much of society have suddenly become quite obsessed with


including me me and my friends literally have a heart rate very ability contest every morning where we like screenshot our high rate varability and drop it into the chat and some of my friends are trying to increase theirs one of my friends called it's my friend called Ash I mentioned him earlier on his has been quite low so he's kind of been trying to get it up um I guess we're goingon to have to ask two questions here which is what is h variability and the second question is how do I improve it in your view so again you can't change what you don't measure and now people who wear Apple watches or AA Rings or devices that measure it


heart rate variability is the beatto beat variability of your heart rate and people go oh well my heart rate should beat the same well no actually the more variable it is BU bum bum rather than bum bum bum bum bum bum um I first heard about heart rate variability with babies that when a baby is being born they actually put a scalp monitor on it and they look at the heart rate variability of the baby and if it's very variable it's bouncing all over the place well it's a sign of heart health when it flattens and becomes even like it's just 70 they go get the baby because that mean the baby is in trouble doesn't make


any sense ises it it's like counterintuitive it's a little bit counterintuitive but if your heart rate variability is low you have a higher risk of anxiety depression and heart disease dying early I mean there's this huge connection between your brain health and your heart health and so meditation increases heart rate variability breath work increases heart rate variability exercise can increase heart rate variability good sleep and good sleep hygiene can and increase it ants decrease heart rate variability I stopped drinking alcohol for this very reason people don't know this but I I mean I've probably


mentioned it twice now on air but I quit drinking alcohol about a month and a half ago I think and part of the reason is when I wore my whoop and then I had I don't know one glass of wine or two glasses or three glasses of wine the day before when I woke up the next day my heart rate variability was like flashing red it was 30 40 typically on a great day my heart rate variability is 150 140 which is strong really strong I know this CU I compete with my friends but on a day where I had a glass of alcohol it'd be flashing red and it would be 40 also if I was sick it would be 40 also if I had a really stressful unslept day the day before it would also be 40 and


the fact that alcohol was causing my heart to respond the same as a awfully stressful unslept day or coid I thought [ __ ] [ __ ] that and I've so that's part of the reason I quit drinking alcohol and now that you have brain Envy yeah you're going to have a healthier brain if you keep it away because alcohol lies to us alcohol lies to us alcohol causes damage in the brain really even a little bit of alcohol causes damage in the brain it disrupts something called white matter so gray matter nerve cell body white matter nerve cell tracks so white matter is the highways in your brain


that transmit information and impulses and even a little bit of alcohol has been shown to disrupt the white matter in your brain I don't want anything messing with the highways in my brain but I love that you measured it you made the connection and then you stopped it it's a sign of intelligent life because you love yourself alcohol because there's a lot of people that are sat on the fence right now with alcohol they probably don't have a really bad relationship with it they're probably not alcoholics but they kind of just they have it because society's constructed in such a way that on a


Friday evening when the waiter comes over and puts down the wine list you just go okay whatever that's who I was I was just on the fence my friend one of my best friends was an alcoholic so I understand why he quit because he had this really dysfunctional relationship with it that would ruin his life I'm the type of person that would have one drink two drinks and then I'd maybe stop I didn't feel the need to have 3 4 S 19 he was different and also because of that there was no adverse consequences in my life so when I went away with him recently he's writing a book on um alcohol and alcoholism he was telling me about the book and I was going I


personally wouldn't read that book because I don't feel like I have a problem with alcohol this was before I quit so I was like what I would love from a book this is just me personally is a book that made the case to people who are kind of sat on the fence that a drink or a beer or a glass of wine just cuz I don't know Society is constructed in such a way where it's hard to avoid um but they could go for a mocktail if someone gave them some performance-based evidence that alcohol just even a little bit the the casual drinking actually matters so this is where you come in doctor one of my biggest uh Instagram posts


was I told you so um the American Cancer Society came out and said any alcohol increases your risk of seven different types of cancer and I've been talking about this for 30 years because I have scans and people who drink any alcohol have lower activity than people who don't drink at all and obviously alcoholics they have terrible looking brains um don't do that but you got to ask yourself why and remember we talked about the one-page miracle what do you want relationships work money physical emotional spiritual health so where does alcohol come in to that oh well it helps me relaxed well the 15-second breath will help you relax


but there are no side effects to it that will increase your heart rate variability alcohol will decrease heart rate variability and brain function and if it decreases brain function it decreases decision making as a psychiatrist 30% 40% of the people I see they initially come to my office because it's somehow alcohol related bite with their spouse problems with their kids whatever I'm so impressed you notice the difference with heart rate variability and then you stopped yeah cuz I I'm I'm off I was offensive with alcohol and it's crazy Now understand how difficult it is to stop in our society I was telling my team I quit and I went for


dinner with a guy called SRX everyone know SRX he's a DJ sunny and this was a week after I'd quit sat in the restaurant the waiter comes over bless him and he goes here's the wine list I go I I don't drink alcohol he goes he goes and gets a bottle of wine and he puts it next to me and goes this is not alcohol this is Art I'm going to leave it next to you just in case you get tempted and Sunny's Sunny to his credit is telling this waiter no he doesn't drink this waight is having none of it and in that moment I understood how difficult it is to quit in society that we've built where every


social interaction apparently needs to be fueled by alcohol and if you say no you're either weird or someone will try and change your mind or persuade you otherwise it's just the culture we have the evil ruler Society I talk that's an evil ruler strategy the food pushers the drug pushers the alcohol pushers um for me I just I look at people like that and it's like so why do you want me to drink when I don't want to what's it what's going on with you yeah and I usually shut some down um but why interesting question when you go to a restaurant the first thing they do is put bread on the table and ask if you want alcohol because both of them drop your frontal


loes both of them make it more likely you're going to order more and spend more money at the restaurant so the bread is an investment on their part because bread gives you a sugar spike a blood sugar Spike which then pushes serotonin in your brain and makes you happy but serotonin drops frontal lobe function one thing they never tell you when they give you an SSRI for depression is oh you're going to become a little bit more impulsive because it's going to drop your frontal loes and then alcohol which also drops your frontal loes so you'll drop more cash in the restaurant question then on this point of


alcohol if I took two people off the street let's say they do everything in their lives the same other than what I'm about to say I gave one of them a casual drink for the next decade just maybe two drinks a week three drinks a week for the the next decade and the other person was completely sober for the next decade when you looked at their brain at 10 years time if they were doing everything the same would you see a difference yes the person who is drinking two or three times a week will have less blood flow in their brain and will that have changed the shape of their brain yes it'll be a little bit more shrivel and then that means their behavior is going


to change as well they'll have a little bit less impulse control and when you look at the brain of a little bit less impulse control when you're doing hard things like marriage it's not a good thing or raising children or managing a business it's like you don't want a little bit worse decision sex sex and libido a lot of people are struggling with their sex lives getting an erection getting aroused men and women the brain and sex I imagine you have people come to you and go listen me and my wife me me and my partner me and my husband we've stopped having sex I've lost my libido when you hear that and you offer people


advice on libido and sex what is brain right your sex life gets better in large part it's about blood flow and if you're having erectile dysfunction or low libido um you got to go well why is what are the risk factors with that and many of them relate to what's going on in your brain and I I so often people go I did everything you said and my wife's so much happier with our sex life um you have to check your hormones I think that's very important you have to deal with whatever sexual trauma might be there um the biggest sex organ in the body is your brain if there's no forethought there's no foreplay


and so it's about the decisions that you make what else do I need to know about sex if I'm trying to get my partner in the mood and I'm trying to make them aroused you know it depends on their brain okay right so if your partner has a very busy frontal Lo that part called the anterior singular gyrus you can't go come on let's have sex because you've met people with the automatic know that no matter what you say they're going to say the opposite of it or they're going to fuss with it I mean it's like it's a nice day today oh no it was nicer yesterday I mean even simple things so you want to want to have sex no um I was at this lecture once and


somebody came up to me at a break and said you've helped me so much um I thought my wife just didn't love me and what I realized is that part of her brain was just working too hard so now I ask everything in the opposite it's like oh like if I wanted to go to the store she'd never want to go with me and i' go so now what I do is I go I'm going to go to the store you probably don't want to come what do you mean I don't want to come of course I want to come he said but doesn't sound right to say well you probably don't want to have sex oh I go okay I know her brain do this and I gave him natural things to boost serotonin so I said take her out


for a pasta dinner so I'm not a fan of pasta generally except for these people take her out for pasta dinner because pasta increases serotonin then take her for a walk around the lake because exercise increases serotonin then give her a piece of dark chocolate not too many because if you get her too many she'll have no need for you but dark chocolate has pea in it fenoy means that alerts your brain that something fun is about to happen and then put on a little baby powder because baby powder it's been shown scientifically is a natural aphrodesiac for women because what do women unconsciously associate to baby powder


babies and unconsciously they want one and then rub her back and don't ask for anything directly and from about day four to about day 18 of her menstrual cycle you're likely to get lucky why from day four to day 18 because she's the last week of a woman's menstrual cycle especially people who have this brain type tend to be more irritable is that before their period it's before the period okay so the week before their period is when she two weeks before their period is generally the best time do men and women have different brains significant wildly so so this whole thing about you can't put your gender on


your medical forms is just insanely stupid uh because gender matters like estrogen and testosterone they matter when it comes to brain function I published a study on 46,000 scans looking at the differences between male and female brains and they're wild uh uh women have much better frontal loes function much better blood flow to the front part of their brain which makes them which makes them good leaders if you think of impulse control and collaboration and communication and the one statistic that just hammers this home is who goes to jail men 14 times more than women but women get depressed twice as much as men


because their limbic or emotional brain is much busier than the male brain and that's why in every um Human Society women are primary caretakers for children um women have a bigger nesting Instinct so I told you we moved recently and moving is much harder on women in general than it is in men because they feel like they lose their nest and they have to redo their nest and I was an Army psychiatrist for seven years and I used to always tell the guys I'm like when you move you stay home and help her put the house together because she's going to be way happier uh for you on that impulse control but I remember reading the statistics that men suffer


with gambling addictions and betting addictions significantly more than women drug addictions alcohol ad five times more than women um but women get help because they're not afraid to ask for help where for men it's often a macho thing it's like there's nothing the matter with me which is why women attempt suicide three to four times more than males but males kill themselves three to five four times more than women do because men use more violent means and men aren't communicating I'm in trouble saas SAA an exercise on the brain good good for the brain so I'm a huge fan of saunas uh


because of the studies mostly from northern Europe people take the most saunas have the lowest incidence of Alzheimer's disease and I told you about my Mercury detoxing is really important and you can detox in a lot of different ways but sauna is one of the most effective ways um exercise is you want to stay young walk like you're late if you're 80 and you can walk three miles an hour you have a 90% chance of living until you're 90 if you can only walk a mile an hour you have a 90% chance you're not going to live until you're 90 so exercise boosts blood flow it increases uh brain Dr dve neurotrophic Factor it increases serotonin increases


dopamine um another interesting thing is should you do cold plunges because cold plunges have been found to fairly dramatically increase dopamine so you should do cold plunges not if you have heart problems so if you have heart problems I wouldn't do that but if you have inflammation if you have pain if you tend to be depressed there's evidence cold plunges can be helpful what about weight in the brain when you look at someone who is clinically obese and you look at their brain what do you see and if I'm trying to lose weight what do I need to know about the brain you know I've thought a lot about


this because I have obesity in my family um as your weight goes up the size and function of your brain goes down and that's horrifying fine people who are and our society is against us I mean you just I wrote a book called The Brain Warrior way and I argue you're in a war for the health of your brain everywhere you go someone's trying to shove bad food down your throat that will kill you I can see the emotion in your face when you say this yeah uh it's just horrifying you know to think of Carl's Jr that'll take these you know Charlotte McKinna or Katherine Webb these beautiful women and have them eat cheeseburgers and it's unconsciously


people are like if you eat those Burgers these women will want you well these women have spit buckets on those SATs where every time they take a bite they spit it out because they never have those bodies if they ate that food we are being manipulated and it is causing what I think is one of the greatest epidemics ever uh obesity and as you're overweight lower blood flow aging inflammation stores toxins makes you feel awful about yourself takes healthy testosterone we talked about you know why the low takes healthy testosterone and turns it into unhealthy cancer promoting forms of


estrogen it's just a disaster what's happening I think you have to start counting your calories and you know I run up against all sorts of scientists go calories don't count it's complete crap now the quality of your calories is just as important but don't eat more than you need and we live in a society where we're eating way too much and people don't know if you think of the Cheesecake Factory and these monster portions it's like that's insane um and it's a big thing that changed but the Obesity epidemic really started as the US government uh among others demonized um fat everything became low fat in the 80s


low fat low cholesterol and they put sugar in things to replace it in fact it just came out recently it was in the 60s that some of the sugar companies paid scientists to say it's fat not sugar and it damaged millions of people last thing I wanted to ask you about is well there's really two outstanding questions that I have for you Doctor the first one is about screen time people want to know does screen time this generation that have grown up 11 hours a day on a screen or social media up to 11 hours a day According to some studies does that have an impact on my brain it does it shrinks it it's sad


I mean what it does is it wears out your pleasure centers so you have these two areas in your brain called the nucleus accumbens and they respond to dopamine and they bring you happiness and they bring you pleasure and they bring you motivation and they bring you drive and when you're hitting them like every buzz on your phone every notification every time you scroll and you like something you just got a little hit of dopamine well the more you do it pretty soon you thrill them to death you begin to wear out those pleasure centers and if let's just take Fame for example I've been blessed to see Justin Bieber


and Miley Cyrus and a whole bunch of really fascinating cool people who been really depressed it's like how can you be depressed you're Justin Bieber or how can you believe you're not enough right because their pleasure centers get worn out by being noticed over and over and over again well when you allow that in your brain the screen time three and a half hours if you're on for three and a half hours a day you have an increased risk of anxiety depression addiction obesity ADHD and our society's on way more than that and you go so why are we having this epidemic of uh teenage suicide and mental health problems especially in


teenage girls social media it's one of the big issues of the day and not only are you wearing out your pleasure centers you hate yourself because you think everybody's better than you are it's the comparison dragon that is damaging you my last question is about happiness which we're talking about there I spoke to I think it was tally shot that told me happiness takes on this kind of interesting Arc throughout our lives where at the start of Our Lives we're a little bit happier then in the middle of our Lives we're little bit sadder and then as we age we go back into being happy now I was contrasting


that information to what you said about how the brain Withers with age if the brain is withering with age then how come a lot of of neuroscientists think that happiness resembles this kind of U shape in our lives where in the middle of our Lives we're less happy the start and the end we're more happy that's a great question we're less striving as we age right so after 65 70 we've sort of done much of the hard things that we need to do and so depression also goes up with age too and obviously dementia goes up with age so I think it's because I don't have to accomplish things which makes the middle


part so hard so we're more satisfied with the nature of Our Lives because we're not trying to well if if we are right if if we're not then that becomes a problem and increases the risk of depression it's complicated though isn't it because you know you get older you probably have less connections as well so that's a confounding factor and yeah so I wouldn't I mean I I I have seen that research and I wrote a book on happiness uh because you know when I write a book it'll take me six to nine months to write it and I'm like so what do I really want to think about for this next six to n months and I loved it


because like negative thinking is a bad habit is happiness is also a habit and when I go to bed and I go what went well today I'm feeding happiness or throughout the day if I look for the micro moments of happiness you know what's the smallest thing that's going to happen today that's going to make me happy then I'm just happier I I hear all of this and I read all of this in your books and one of the things I've really taken away personally is because I have so much information what I need to do is select a couple of these habits and basically put them into my calendar like you talked about the


breath work and you talked about the Gratitude exercise at night and those kinds of things what I need to do is get a couple of them and just insert them into my calendar because you know if they're not scheduled they probably won't happen in their life as busy as mine so as well as making small sort of changes to the you know maybe dietry things or water or whatever it might be drinking a little bit less caffeine I've already quit alcohol make sure I focus on my sleep some of these I want to make routines in my life so that's what I'm going to do that's what I'm going to take away from this we have a closing tradition on this


podcast where the last guest leaves a question for the next guest not knowing who they're going to be leaving it for and the question that's been left for you is quite perfect I think what have you changed your mind about in the last decade well the first thing that comes to my mind is this idea that I got from Dennis prick which is happiness is a moral obligation I never thought of it that way I grew up Roman Catholic that idea was nowhere in my family it was nowhere in the Catholic school I went to and and I'm grateful for my education uh and I'm grateful for my faith but it was about should


and shaming rather than elevation and the fact that happiness is a moral obligation there's this video that Dennis prer produced that I just love called why be happy and and I never thought that how I feel influences everybody around me that if I'm unhappy that's not just about me that's about everybody I come in contact with so working on


myself is the most loving thing I can do for other people Daniel G amen thank you so much thank you for an amazing conversation and also thank you for taking the time to look at my brain um and you're totally right now that I have the awareness that that brain even exists having seen it it's almost like I feel like it's like a Pablo my dog I now feel a responsibility to take care of it and I think that that coupled with everything that you've imparted on me about the fact that I can do something about it for me is life-changing and you know I I could have sat here all day and read tens of thousands of comments that


I saw online um about the work that you're doing to help people live happier healthy healthier lives and the consequence that has for Generations I think is maybe the most special thing of all because if you can tilt someone's brain in a better Direction you're not just tilting their brain in a better Direction you're tilting generations to come um of brains in a better Direction and that alone will tilt Society in a better Direction and that's exactly the work that you're doing so I know we talked about your father last time around um you know often times we don't get the praise from uh our parents that I guess

Key Themes, Chapters & Summary

Key Themes

  • Brain Health and Mental Illness

  • ADHD Diagnosis and Management

  • Impact of Lifestyle Choices on Brain Health

  • Role of Trauma and Emotional Health

  • Strategies for Brain Optimization

  • Future of Brain Health


  • Understanding Brain Health in Mental Illness

  • Diagnosing and Managing ADHD

  • Lifestyle Choices and Brain Function

  • Trauma's Impact on the Brain

  • Optimizing Brain Health

  • The Future of Brain Health and Treatment


The podcast transcript titled “The ADHD Doctor: 'I’ve Scanned 250,000 Brains' You (Steven Bartlett) Have ADHD!!! Dr. Daniel Amen” presents an insightful discussion on brain health, ADHD, and the impact of lifestyle choices on the brain. Here is a descriptive and structured summary:

1. Brain Health and Mental Illness:

Dr. Daniel Amen, a renowned brain expert, emphasizes the importance of brain health in addressing mental illness. He advocates for a shift from viewing mental health issues as purely psychological to understanding them as brain disorders. This perspective encourages a holistic approach to treatment, focusing on lifestyle factors like diet, exercise, and sleep.

2. ADHD Diagnosis and Management:

The conversation highlights the diagnosis and management of ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder). Dr. Amen discusses the use of brain scans to diagnose ADHD and the importance of understanding individual brain patterns for effective treatment. He also addresses common misconceptions about ADHD medication and the importance of personalized treatment plans.

3. The Impact of Lifestyle Choices:

Dr. Amen delves into how lifestyle choices affect brain health. He discusses the detrimental effects of sugar, poor diet, lack of exercise, and inadequate sleep on brain function. The conversation emphasizes the importance of brain-friendly habits for maintaining cognitive health and preventing disorders.

4. The Role of Trauma and Emotional Health:

The transcript explores the impact of trauma and emotional health on brain function. Dr. Amen explains how experiences of trauma can leave lasting marks on the brain, manifesting in various psychological and emotional challenges. He advocates for treatments like EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) to address these issues.

5. Strategies for Brain Optimization:

Dr. Amen offers strategies for optimizing brain health, such as managing stress, practicing mindfulness, and engaging in positive thinking. He stresses the importance of developing healthy mental habits to support overall brain function and well-being.

6. The Future of Brain Health:

The discussion concludes with a forward-looking perspective on brain health. Dr. Amen expresses hope for a future where brain scans and personalized treatment plans are more widely used in managing mental health disorders. He envisions a world where understanding and caring for the brain are integral parts of healthcare and wellness.

In summary, the podcast provides a comprehensive look at the complex interplay between brain health, mental illness, and lifestyle choices. Dr. Amen's insights offer valuable guidance for anyone seeking to improve their cognitive health and overall well-being.