Good Foods; Bad Foods
2:24:12 – Dr. Patrick’s advice regarding siphoning through good foods and bad foods. She believes that it is easier to focus on things that you should eat rather that what you shouldn’t. It is easy to get distracted by what you shouldn’t eat, and going this route may be a mistake because you might be cutting out things that your body needs. If you put an emphasis on eating the right foods rather than eliminating wrong foods, you feed the body what it needs and thus the body is prepared for a variety of negative things that may get caught in the mix. The body has systems to prevent the things we are worried about it, we need to focus on providing those systems with what they need.
2:27:28 – The difficulty in finding the right information. Keeping up with the literature is a very time consuming process and most people do not have the luxury to collect the right information. Even in the medical field, a physician may spend all of his or her time treating patients and thus never have time left over to dedicate to research. Therefore the physician and the patients are at a loss. Dr. Patrick stresses the role that nutrition has as a driving force behind much of the change we see in DNA expression and the general health of the body. This is lacking in the medical field, it is outside of their training.
Quantifying Health; Quantified Self
2:33:13 – WellnessFX. WellnessFX provides a variety of information about the consumer’s body. They provide a baseline and the consumer can make dietary changes and see how these changes are affecting the baseline. This is an example of the quantified self movement.
2:35:25 – Getting nutritional information is one aspect of quantifying health and making informed decisions. The other important aspect is genetic information. Sources like 23andMe provide information important to the person because it will indicate which polymorphisms exist and what a person may be predisposed to.
2:39:22 – A study has shown that people admitted to the hospital after suffering a mild to moderate brain injury were less likely to die if they had higher levels of THC in their system. Another study showed mice with minor head injuries had less inflammation in the brain (along with less amyloid beta plaque concentration and less edema) when given a small (non-psychoactive) amount of THC.
2:41:21 – There are 2 different cannabinoid receptors: CB1 (predominantly found on neurons) and CB2 (found on the microglia cells – the immune cells found in the brain and elsewhere in the body). Cannabinoid activation of the CB2 receptor actually prevents the cells from being activated – this stops the cycle of inflammation and cytokine production that has been observed to be harmful. CB1 has a role in facilitating the long term potentiation of neurons (the learning process; the mechanism involved in creating new synapses). There are inhibitory processes that stop this long term potentiation and the discontinuation of these inhibitory processes are important for learning; this is what CB1 does upon activation. When activated, these inhibitory processes decrease. Amyloid beta plaques antagonize the CB1 receptor. When the plaque is present, we see more inhibition which take a toll on our learning ability and memory. Lastly, there seems to be a long term benefit that CB1 provides as it facilitates the reduction of inhibition of long term potentiation.
Alcohol and APOE4
2:48:33 – Negative effects of alcohol for an individual with an APOE4 variation. Alcohol is an additive stress on a brain repair system that already has a hard enough time doing its job. Dr. Patrick also makes an interesting point that drug stores don’t carry any cannabinoids which have the opposite effect on the brain; they help repair the damage and decrease the inflammation. Yet alcohol is everywhere. [this is the classic argument but a bit more technical]. She also speculates on the idea that there may be a way to isolate the anti-inflammatory effects of THC from the psychoactive effects.
Benefits of Exercise
2:54:06 – Dr. Patrick describes the huge benefits exercise has on top of the popular association with weight loss that exercise typically has. There is much more being done to benefit the body beyond weight loss. One study has shown that exercise detoxifies the muscles of a compound known as kynurenine (a byproduct of tryptophan metabolism). When there is too much kynurenine, some of it can get into the brain and form quinolinic acid, which is a neurotoxin responsible for multiple negative cascading effects. Exercise converts kynurenine into a form that cannot cross the blood brain barrier.
2:55:03 – More on kynurenine. A study has shown that mice injected with kynurenine became depressed (and experienced a host of neurotoxic effects). Inflammation is one effect present when kynurenine is introduced, this depletes the brain’s ability to release serotonin, which leads to depression. When the mice exercised, the depressive symptoms went away.