Hey all, back from about the most informative doc’s appt I’ve ever been to – reading my brain scans & telling me what’s going on inside my noggin. Now, I’m a geek for this stuff…so apologies that I get excited. I ATTEMPTED to take 2.5 hours worth of info & break it down into digestible chunks in laymen’s terms (I hadn’t heard half the words he used in our talk, before ;)). I hope this is helpful & you can take from it the parts you’d like, and improve your own MH.
We began by looking at the results of my SPECT scan (blood flow from when I was concentrating during that computer “test”), from 4 different angles: Top of the brain, right side, left side, bottom (you can see the 4 in pics…you can see nothing is written on them, then TONS of notes are written on them from our talk & what he explained).
He showed me areas of my brain where I had “TBI’s” or traumatic brain injuries. Indentations. Sounds scary. But not so bad. Fall on your head when you’re an infant. Head a soccer ball. Bump heads playing bball. Whiplash from a car accident. You likely have some form of brain injury. What helps make sure these don’t get worse & even smooth out? Omega 3 fish oils. Lots of them. You can get a blood test for your Omega 3 index. The average score in the US is a 3 or 4. Average in Japan (highest in the world) is a 9. We need fish oil to protect our brains & other vital organs. Get tested, start eating fish &/or taking fish oils.
There is a disorder that’s apparently more common than it sounds: “Cranio Cervical Syndrome”…The WAY simplified explanation: from most any head trauma, the base of your brain/skull & where your spinal cord/vertebra meet can “loosen” causing a back-up of cerebral fluid as it tries to pass through that area where the structure has been affected. And, for women who have less muscle tone in their necks, there is greater susceptibility. This isn’t something specific to major trauma from football collisions. When this syndrome happens, proteins bind to certain structures in that area of the head/neck and shut down the flow of this cerebral fluid. This syndrome can cause cognitive fog, memory loss, headaches. Dr. Lowe believes it to be pretty common. There is a doc, Dr. Scott Rosa, in upstate NY – who he said you can google and learn more about – seeing how he scans precisely for this syndrome. The great news is, this syndrome is reversible, & cognitive function & memory can come back in full. The “fix” for it is often a really high dose of a drug called Lamictil, and even an “alcohol,” in quotes, because it’s called Octanol and is an 8-carbon alcohol (which is approved by the FDA as a food additive & does not make you drunk). Lamictil &/or Octanol block “T Channels” which is important to be able to do when it comes to this syndrome. He would like me to eventually get tested for this, bc over time, this syndrome can lead to the symptoms mentioned above & possible dementia. Any time he sees head traumas, he does like to test for this, to be proactive.
He showed me “dimples” on my brain that were likely a result of some toxicity. How can this happen? So many ways – Strep Throat a lot when you were younger. Mold exposure. Heavy metal infections. If you golf a lot…the chemicals that keep the grass green is very toxic – in fact, it has been linked to forms of ALS. Foods also can be culprits. Gluten in American wheat bread is apparently awful. He recommended NON GMO Italian wheat flour. He even said the brand: “Bob’s Red Mill,” which you can get online, is a great one – can make pancakes & breads w their mix. What helps with the toxicity already there? Get levels of your Vitamin D, B12, & Folate measured. But integrative psychiatrists like this recommend your levels should be much higher than most general practitioners. So, just bc you are in “normal” range, this doesn’t mean you’re in the right range to correct some of the toxicity.
Apparently, my left temporal lobe had lower blood flow than “normal,” indicating mood cycling possibilities (hence factors of ups & downs w depression). He also noticed w my cerebellum, there was some low blood flow activity in small areas of it – which could explain lack of desire for organization (guilty as charged…you should see my desk).
He looked at other structures in my brain called – 1) the Posterior Cingulate Cortex – seems like mine lit up like a tree. Means I can hyperfocus on things (good for work, bad when thinking about things that bother me :/). Now, VERY interestingly, that area, then the: 2) Anterior Cingulate Cortex, 3) my Thalamus, &, 4) my Basil Ganglia were also all lit up. In relation to one another, they are “diamond shaped.” This diamond shape showing up on a scan is a pattern seen in ppl with PTSD (remember the chart I showed yesterday?). Now, I kinda knew I had PTSD from all the cruddy stuff I saw growing up, but this confirms it. How do we “rid” ourselves of PTSD trauma – three of the practices we list in TSRR therapies on the site: Havening, EMDR, & Tapping. Allows you to focus on past traumatic experiences & literally rewire & release them from your system.
From the QEEG test of my brainwaves (not blood flow), he noticed slow wave activity in my frontal lobes (which often comes along w the PTSD, & is an indicator of residual depression). What I love about seeing an integrative doc is – his answer to “clear this up” is 1) the stuff above that works on the PTSD, but 2) supplements (not more meds). I already take a supplement called Sam-E. His recommendation was to add two supplements to this: one to boost the Sam-E to work even better: 1) Betaine, & another to boost my dopamine levels: 2) Tyrosine. I’d prefer not to give dosages out, as I am FAR from a doc…and I don’t recommend anyone go take these without consulting w a pro. But, it’s good to know when you find/speak to an integrative psychiatrist, to ask about them.
He talked a lot about nutrition, diet, & the brain/gut connection. He recommended I get a product called “Progurt” and add a Prebiotic to it, to balance my “microbiome” which is basically all the stuff that lives in my gut. Antibiotics we take when younger & the gluten and all the casein protein we get from regular milk really does a number on our microbiome. The Progurt & Prebiotic for 15 weeks is said to rebalance our microbiomes quite effectively. Milks like almond & coconut milk are great, but he said to stay AWAY from Soy milk. Also said to stay far away from high fructose corn syrup. All these “bad” foods & drinks I just mentioned actually stop the absorption & uptake of the “good” stuff our bodies need.
Finally, he mentioned exercise: 5X a week, for at least 30 minutes, we are supposed to get our heart rates up to (220, minus our age) X .85. That heart rate releases nitric oxide which helps our smooth muscles to relax – which means better blood flow, better flow of important nutrients, & of course fewer blockages.
Wow, that was a lot of info for 2.5 hours. BUT, I hope it was helpful. You don’t need to “digest” it all at once. Instead, attack paragraph by paragraph. And as usual, we’re always here to answer any questions you may have!