What I took to be the major point of Cowan’s chapter on neurology, is that our technological ‘advances’ are actually what is responsible for much of our brain problems. And we do have a lot of running rampant brain conditions: Attention Deficit Disorder, Alzheimer’s disease, multiple sclerosis, Lou Gehrig’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and more. He points out that their are two pathways that provide nerve injury. The first one are excitotoxins, coming from external stimuli that cause too much firing of nerve cells. As the body tries to protect itself, scar tissue forms. This, then gets in the way of nerve transmission. Common excitotoxins include:
- MSG (that stuff they hide in processed foods under many different titles)
- breakfast cereals with neurotoxic proteins
- TV exposure
- fluorescent light exposure
The other pathway that results in injury comes from substances:
- aluminum (plaque and scar tissue formation)
- alcohol (depressant)
- mercury (interferes with nerve cell function)
- organophosphate agricultural chemicals (interfere with transmission)
Our virtual lives have stunted and denied us of REAL life and fulfillment of our senses. Cowan says, “The care of the nervous system is really the hygiene of the senses.” We’ve got to go out and actually experience life, not pretend, but fully engaging all of our senses:
- go to concerts rather than listening to radios
- play an instrument
- join a choir
- sing in the shower (or the car, I am notorious for this and you think I would be a little more conspicuous with this as my car stands out with pink stripes, but no I sing at the top of lungs, performing for all with my windows rolled down)
- if you’ve got to work at the computer, do so by a window or take frequent breaks to be outside
- eat real food (better yet engage more by cooking it)
- put flowers out in your home or office
- wear natural-fiber clothes
- give a massage
- pet your dog or cat or miniature pig (whatever you have)
A big one is communication. We have turned viral with communicating. We send a text or an email or facebook or tweet one-another. Gone is the fluid eye-to-eye intimate conversations. We don’t even talk on the phones in the morning. I love to practice listening, so texting or emailing takes away from the senses I’m able to use (especially since we communicate so non-verbally with body language, how can we register this without actually seeing the person). Also we live in a tangled world of half-truths, non-truths and lies. Just like Alzheimer’s is a tangle of neurons, is it any wander that we have such problems. One of the great things about my father is that he instilled in us to tell the truth and it is also one of the things I cherish most about with my relationships with my friends and family is the radical honesty we have. If you tell the truth then you don’t have to remember what you’re lying about- making your memory better. Just like the accumulation of stuff, the more you have (the more you lie) the more you have to worry and take care of that stuff (thus preventing you from living a truly sensational life).
- Nutrition: Of course we want to steer clear of fake and artificial foods: processed crap. Calcium is important for brain function (bone broths and raw dairy), but don’t forget calcium can only reach it’s potential if it has fat-soluble vitamins that come from animal fats. B12 deficiency is often a factor in those suffering neurological dysfunction, the best source is of course is animal fat- with liver being the top earner.
- Therapeutics: check the book.
- Movement: stop over thinking and projecting out there. Keep an open mind and body.
- Meditation: restore you sense of worthiness. Reassuring thoughts of your deservedness are in store.