Dr. Rhonda Patrick on Brain Injury | Joe Rogan Experience

Lactate; Brain Damage

(Episode 568) 13:08 – Lactate buildup in the brain when the brain is deprived of oxygen. Astrocytes are a type of supporting cell in the brain and they account for 50% of the brain volume. These astrocytes create energy in a way that doesn’t use the mitochondria and therefore does not require oxygen; this process also produces lactate. Lactate is a great source of energy for other cells in the brain, but if oxygen is not present, then these cells cannot turn lactate into energy. Thus, lactate will build up in the brain and can do damage to other cells.

(Episode 568) 16:38 – The link between a blow to the head and the alzheimer’s-like effects that follow. Multiple repetitive injuries lead to tissue damage and reactive oxygen species are released. [we have talked a lot about reactive oxygen species in previous summaries – Dr. Patrick sheds some much needed light on this subject]. We constantly release reactive oxygen species, but at a small rate compared to what happens when tissue is damaged in the brain.

Polymorphisms; Alzheimer’s; APOE4

(Episode 568) 35:06 – Dr. Patrick covers polymorphisms and the genetic predisposition some people have towards neurodegenerative diseases. A polymorphism is a slight change in the sequence of a gene and this slight change alters the function of that gene somewhat. From an evolutionary standpoint, polymorphisms are are changes that are selected unlike mutations which are random. Some polymorphisms seem counterproductive but Dr. Patrick believes that there could be a reason they exist and therefore there may be some benefit that we don’t understand. ApoE3 is a polymorphism in a gene responsible for transport and repair and the majority of the population has this variation. People with the ApoE4 variation (25% of the population) have a 2-3 fold increase risk of alzheimer’s. People with the ApoE4 variation and a traumatic brain injury suffer a 10 fold increase risk of getting alzheimer’s.

(Episode 1054) 36:31 – APEO4 gene. People with at least one allele of this gene have a 2-5 fold increased risk of CTE after a traumatic brain injury. People with two copies of this gene (far less common) suffer a 10-20 fold increased risk.


(Episode 568) 1:06:51 – Mouse study about traumatic brain injury and glutathione application. A mouse with a brain injury was given glutathione applied topically (placed on top of the crack in the skull), and 70% of the cell death was prevented. The question remains; can this be done to humans? Can the glutathione be useful if directly applied to the brain?

Cannabinoids; THC

(Episode 568) 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.

Cold Therapy

(Episode 672) 2:20:21 – Cold therapy after injury. These therapies have been shown to help patients suffering from brain injury. Dr. Patrick is not very confident in a solid answer, which is understandable because an answer depends on many things. However, in the instance of an overactive immune response, cold therapy can be beneficial as it reduces the inflammatory response.


2 thoughts on “Dr. Rhonda Patrick on Brain Injury | Joe Rogan Experience

  1. Thank you for this. She’s incredible, but she rips through this stuff so fast that, without some base knowledge in the things she’s talking about, it’s almost impossible to internalize it. This answered some of my questions from her last appearance on JRE.


    1. No problem Ryan. Thanks for your comment. She really is great. On top of knowing so much and being very enthusiastic about medicine, she’s really set on getting this info out to the public.


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