A podcast that listens, hears, and offers wisdom & hope from caregivers who have lived the experience.

A Supportive Podcast for those Dealing with a loved one with Memory Loss

Your Brain Has a Super Power

Your Brain Has A Superpower

00:00:00 – 00:05:01

(Intro) 

Do you ever wish for a superpower? Did you know your brain is already equipped with the best superpower you’ll ever need? Neuroplasticity is your brain’s superpower. You can take charge of your brain and learn to live a healthier life, minimize your risk of disease, feel empowered and create the life you were meant to live. No Pharmaceuticals needed. Many people think that as we age we lose the ability to learn new things, this is untrue. Your brain, and all of our brains are designed to learn new things which create new neurons. New neurons give us a healthier brain, lowers our risk of neurological diseases, and lets us live the life we want to live.

(Sponsor Plug) 

This episode is brought to you by caregiver Chronicles an eight-week online course from diagnosis through hospice. For more information use the link in the show notes home.

(Jennifer)

Welcome to fading memories. a supportive podcast for those caring for a loved one with memory loss. Before we get into the show. I’d like to remind you to stop on over to our brand new website and sign up for the email newsletter. You will be notified of new recipes when podcast episodes come out and you could follow me on all social media channels for all of the other fun things going on in my life. Now onto the show!

With me today is dr. Philipe Douyon . He is a neurologist. But he’s also an author, he has a course, he has an app, and he also is part of the InLee brainfit Institute. So I don’t think he has time to sleep. So very happy to have you on the podcast today. You were telling me offline, You became interested in neurology because of your grandmother and your cousin so maybe that’s a good place to start.

(Phillipe)

Well, thank you for having me and thank you for allowing me to be good just to share a little bit about my story. So yeah when I was younger, I had a cousin who had epilepsy and then my grandmother developed dementia and was later diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. And she was really the matriarch of the family. I mean every Saturday myself, my parents, my aunts and uncles, the rest of my cousins would always go there for family dinners and it was just a really great place to just kind of be and have fun and share the stories of our week together. Once you started to develop some cognitive issues that all began to change and those family dinners just really stopped happening over a period of time and to see this woman who was so incredibly smiled and kept the family together. She traveled from another country, but her family here so they can have a better life for themselves and to see how her Alzheimer’s may be said to to rob her for identity, and her life which really is tough to see, but but at the same time it got me really interested in the brain because I started to really think about how when the brains does work the way that it’s supposed to it. It actually really does allow people to create the life that they want and neurological disorders in general effects people like no other disorders do, because it affects people physically, emotionally, cognitively, mentally. And so this really what sort of inspired me to go work around it.

(Jennifer)

That’s a good inspiration. I don’t think I mentioned to you, my maternal grandmother had a brain aneurysm that leaked for three months. So I’m sure you can understand the negative impact on her brain with that. So I’m assuming that she ended up with either vast or vascular dementia, because she ended up dead the same way my mom did, or my mom ended up like her mom, and my mom was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and we kind of had the same thing. It was like she was the one that you know, we always got together for holidays and birthdays and like we’d probably would have had a family get-together over Labor Day and once she got sick and my grandfather ended up with cancer so that after they passed away. It’s like the family kind of scattered to the Four Corners, even though we’re all pretty much in northern California so I can understand how that loss of the family getting together and we didn’t do it weekly but that could have been nice. 

00:05:01 – 00:10:06

(Phillipe)

Yeah No, it was a great time for us. You know, it was a great time to spend with my cousins aunts and uncles she would spoil us with her favorite candies, which was probably part of the problem actually that she loves candy and sugar but 

(Jennifer)

That was my mom too. My mom would actually crack teeth on things like sugar daddies, caramel, hard candies. I mean once my daughter had a baby tooth and just I don’t know what was holding it in. And so my mom gave her a starburst which you know are just sticky gooey candy and it still didn’t pull the stupid tooth out, but my mom always had Sugar readily available and she was a huge Diet Coke drinker. 2 liters of Diet Coke every day. 

(Phillipe)

Yeah, my grandmother loved her caramel. That was her favorite candy. She always had it.

(Jennifer)

Now,I’m wanting caramel. I had to learn to bake and eat a lot less sugar cuz we have like my maternal grandfather did not feel a meal was complete until they had deserts. I don’t know if that applied to breakfast but it did apply to lunch and dinner. So I feel very confident in stating that I have an inherited Sweet Tooth, but I have had to wrestle to the ground trying to keep under control and it’s not easy. You know, I’ve had I’ve had a nutritionist say well just quit cold turkey, and my family will be like, oh no no, no, no, no, no. No, she will kill somebody. No, we don’t do that and will limit it and small quantities, but no cold turkey. 

(Phillipe)

Now that that stuff is addictive just like any hard-core drug tests. So it operates and changes the chemical in your brain in the same way. 

(Jennifer)

That’s interesting. I did know that but it’s still interesting to hear again. Cuz I really do get a little hostile if I dont have my sugar. as much but I don’t have to have in the quantity that I used to. I went on a weight loss Journey a decade ago and obviously one does not lose weight if you don’t wrestle your sweet tooth to the ground.  so, yep, that’s true. And then after learning, well, we also have my dad’s side of the family as a huge medical history of diabetes, which took the biggest reason for the weight loss Journey cuz I was like, I am not going down that path. Nope, and then I learned after losing all the weight that sugar is really really bad for your brain just for diabetes. So I feel like I really did myself a solid by learning to eat better. 

(Phillipe)

Yeah, and you know, I think a lot of times people don’t realize the impact that food has on their overall health, but especially the help of their brain, right? I mean like you said sugar is not good for the brain. processed foods, high carbs food, trigger a lot of inflammation in our body but also within our nervous system and we just call it neuroinflammation and when you look at just over the last thirty years some of the diseases that have increased it’s diabetes and Alzheimer’s and there is a link there, right? So a lot of a lot of neuroscientists will tell you that Alzheimer’s disease is almost like type 3 diabetes because there’s such a close Association 

(Jennifer)

I have heard that and read about it and watching it makes me very glad that I decided to change the direction of my health. Well, what happened was I had a client who was a doctor and she said, oh you have a family history of diabetes. You’re significantly overweight, you’re screwed. Well those thoughts are good words cuz it was like, oh, I’ll show you. I am not screwed. I will figure this out and so it took a lot of effort to figure out what nutritional path worked to keep the weight off to lose it and to keep most of it off. turning 50 and my dad going on hospice and then having to take care of my mom that none of that stuff helped but working on it off. I Have the age-related weight gain, which is no fun. So, let’s see. How long have you been a doctor of Neurology? 

(Phillipe)

Oh, so I graduated medical school in 2007. So I became an attending I think it was 2013 2012-2013.

(Jennifer)

all those years blur together. Don’t they?

(Phillipe)

they do blur together. Spending your twenties and thirties and you know in the hospital, I believe…

(Jennifer)

I used to photograph the UC Davis surgical residents graduate Black Tie dinner, and there were usually four or five of them and they were so impressed you’d read their little bios in the program.

00:10:06 – 00:15:03

(Jennifer)

It would be like, I think I’ll just leave now because I’m not worthy of being safer with these people. They would do like fellowships in Africa. And all kinds of just like Impressive things and a lot of them were like early 30s and they had young kids and spouses and it was like, I don’t know how these people have any time for anything. So it’s definitely not an easy path. But while you were doing that path you came up with a few other little things just to let you do all these during quarantine which came first the breaking up the book , then the course. 

(Phillipe)

So the app came first then the app came at the end of 2018 the book I published In April of 2019 and the course is actually getting ready to launch on Monday.

(Jennifer)

Monday. So that would be the 7th 7th. Okay. Awesome. Well, it’s always tough to like get in on the right at the very beginning. So which one do you want to talk about first? 

(Phillipe)

I guess we’ll take it in order. So we’ll go with the app. 

(Jennifer)

Okay, that works for me. I’m a creative person but half of me is very creative and half of me is very business like everything’s going to be squared away. So I’m unique. I have a unique brain because unlike my sister and my dad who were Geminis I am not a Gemini, but I do have an almost split personality with I’m not like this messy artist or the really A type personality. I have a combination that’s equal parts. So it’s I used to not like it, always wanted to be more artists than business person and then I learned to embrace the benefit of being fifty-fifty. So, how did you come up with the app for its games? Right? 

(Phillipe)

Yeah, so the app is called Dr. Douyon Spring fit. And yeah, I think I would be surprised to hear that even as a neurologist most of the people I see but neurological issues because of the impact of preventable chronic diseases on their brain as opposed to a primary brain disorder. So it’s the impact of diabetes high blood pressure sedentary lifestyle not eating healthy alcohol on the brain. And so a lot of these things are things that are within our control. And so when people come to see me, we’re always having discussions about what’s going on in their life. What do they do during their day-to-day how much physical activity are they getting? What kind of foods are they eating? How much are they sleeping? And so I thought of all a really great way to teach people would be through a game like you want to sort of meet people where they’re at and people are always looking at their birth.

(Jennifer)

that’s true, 

(Phillipe)

right? And so you can create a game that is both fun as well as sort of teaches them. And so I modeled this game called out to John’s brain fit after sort of Candy Crush it made it like a medical Candy Crush and there’s forty levels to the game level representing a different disease States so level one starts as a sedentary lifestyle and level 40 ends with Alzheimer’s and throughout the levels. You’re matching healthy foods and healthy activities and every five or six matches are so there’s a question that comes up that’s related to that particular level that particular disease State and the questions aren’t about medications. It’s all about things that people can do every single day to really change how their brains evolved. 

(Jennifer)

That’s really interesting and I laugh a little bit because my husband is still playing Candy Crush. However, many years later. I don’t know what level he’s on like five thousand and something or whatever. It’s insane. I moved on to other games but I like variety. So after a while it’s like it gets to the point where you have to spend money to beat the levels and like it done with that. Let’s move on to something different. So I’m definitely going to check that out and show him because he’s such a Candy Crush fanatic. He eats Okay. We’re pretty Physically Active. We just did a thirty mile bike ride with our cycle club this morning and he was the one that was like, let’s do some extra Hills and I was like, ohhh ok, you know, it’s really easy to talk yourself out of it because he went on the same weight loss journey and then he put a lot of it back on and so it’s really easy to talk yourself out of doing Hills, especially for me I. Start up the hill and like seeing I’m breathing really heavy. My legs don’t hurt. It’s not a it’s not a function of muscles. I don’t I guess it’s obviously the extra weight hauling it up the hill but you know once you do it, you’re like, hey, I didn’t see I knew I could do it.

00:15:03 – 00:20:12

(Jennifer)

You just have to not talk yourself out of not doing it.  convincing yourself that you can’t do it cuz I suggest the hill we used to have to climb to get home before we moved this year and he was like, oh no no, no. No, I’m like, you know, you can do that. He’ll he’s like, yeah, I do. Okay, we’re going to do that within the next week or so. I have a friend who’s a neuropsychologist who just finished his doctoral program and is the internship for his doctoral program. So we just started working last month and he realized he’s getting a little too old to play basketball. So he bought a bike and he was like, I really want to jump on it. I really want to jump on the bike club. Started getting darker earlier and I encouraged him to get on the bike and just ride a little bit and then I said, you know, I guess he’s gotta study for some horrendous exam this Labor Day weekend. I said, okay off Labor Day the three of us were going to have like a Twitter cycling challenge. So I sent him the map of our ride this morning and now he’s motivated. So challenging yourself is also helpful., you know, so and then the app can we find that on all the two app stores? 

(Phillipe)

Yeah, you can find it on the App Store on Google Play. So yeah, they’re available both places

(Jennifer)

in the usual spots. Okay. So after you after you tackle becoming a neurologist and creating an app then he decided know what the heck I’ll just write a book too

(Phillipe)

yeah, you know, it’s I always have this goal that I wanted to write and publish the book by the time I was forty. and so I wrote this book “neuroplasticity your brain superpower” really good to teach people about the fact that our brains are constantly changing and we used to think that our brains wage. We’re static that we were born with a certain amount of neurons and that the only change is that the potentially take place is that as we get older and if we developed Dementia or or Alzheimer, we may lose neurons or if we have some kind of head injury if we may lose neurons, but now we don’t but that’s not the case at all that we have the ability to constantly make new neurons and new connections. And so I really wanted to teach people about that because that has implications for everything that happens in our lives our ability to learn new skills, whether that’s when you how to play a new instrument, learning how to play any sport, picking up new hobby learning a new language that all happens because of our brain’s ability to make new neurons. That’s how we learn right and even after Injuries to the brain the brain is capable of tremendous amounts of healing because it’s able to make new neurons in your connections. And that also gives people a lot of hope that if you’ve had a stroke or a traumatic brain injury that you can continue to get better as long as you give your brain what it needs in order for it to thrive.

(Jennifer)

And so Dynamic learning is the way of increasing the neurons in your brain.

(Phillipe)

Yeah, actually the most powerful thing that you can do to increase the neurons in your brain is exercising physical exercise. 

(Jennifer)

So yay for the thirty mile bike ride this morning

(Phillipe)

you know, it’s incredibly important and what we do know is that people who live sedentary Lifestyles they actually starts to lose patience and there aren’t really a greater risk for developing dementia, but being physically active and exercising you’re giving you bring everything it needs to be able to create noon ourselves and you can actually cause it’s really really important along with that goes making sure you’re eating healthy making sure you’re getting enough sleep because that’s when the brain is really doing a lot of its healing minimize stress because stress actually kills neurons, especially in the parts of the brain responsible for memory, especially short-term memory and you want to constantly be learning and learning can look like anything. So, yep. Like what we just mentioned but it can also look like having different conversations with different people who have a completely different world view than you do doesn’t mean that you have to agree with them. But their perspective allows your brake to make new neurons that you connections 

(Jennifer)

that makes sense. That’s actually really interesting and with the exercise. You don’t have to like…become a crazy cyclist. Like I did walking is actually a really good brain exercise, isn’t it? 

(Phillipe)

Yeah walking is is a really good way and exercise and actually studies do show that for people who are starting to develop some memory problems some cognitive impairments if they walk 30 to 40 minutes a day at moderate intensity that that helps improve their memory and there’s also been studies that have shown, you know, how like when when we’re in a school like we all crammed until the very last minute before we have to take a test we try to you know, put as much in and we don’t really care if you that information pass the test.

00:20:12 – 00:25:02

Brain dump for the test and then move on hey and but studies show that you’re better off going for a run an hour before the test than cramming in the information. You’ll remember more 

(Jennifer)

interesting. One of the things I do when I’m writing articles for my website is I actually listen to natural sounds that it’s very very quiet in the background. But it may be like cuz I like to listen to people talk. So I like to listen to podcasts but you can’t do that while you’re writing unless you want to write a bunch of gibberish and music instrumental music generally kind of makes me want to go to sleep and I found that nature sounds just in the background, you’re not almost not even aware of them just really kind of like off like must fire up another part of the brain besides what’s working on the writing cuz I find that really beneficial if I listen to nature sounds while I’m writing which is kind of new. I Read an article about if you listen to classical music while you were reading you obtained things better. And well, I appreciate classical music but it’s definitely not my first choice. I’m hoping to translate classical music to nature sounds and there’s a lot of benefits of nature, you know, the healing aspects of nature. So Hopefully the sounds are give you at least a little bit benefit. 

(Phillipe)

Yeah and and let sounds and especially music light up so many different parts of our brains. I mean if we think about it, you’re listening to music. So your lights up the parts of the brain that are responsible for hearing, oftentimes there’s Words and Music. So the parts of the brain are responsible for language, you’ve got people who when they hear music they actually see things like different colors. So music and light up the occipital lobe which is responsible for vision. A lot of people once they hear a sound or sort of unconsciously start to sway to the beat, right? So we don’t just listen to music with our ears. We also listen to music with our muscles and the parts of our brains that are responsible for movement. So it really likes up a lot of our brain.

(Jennifer)

So maybe a little dancing around the house would be a good exercise brain stimulant. 

(Phillipe)

Yeah, it’s a great great exercise. It’s a great way to sort of influence your mood right and look companies know this. I mean they play music in stores to go to shop more is to spend more money. 

(Jennifer)

So you probably wouldn’t hear a lot of gangster rap at the mall. Yeah. Well, I probably would not stimulate a lot of purchases right? Well am I for some groups but not not not mine. So what other kinds of things should we consider so that we’re constantly creating new neurons. That’s a tongue twister, in our brains as we age cuz you know, nobody wants to, nobody wants to end up with Alzheimer’s in a lot of people that I’ve talked to there with the blood test that is coming, They’re like, oh, I don’t think I want to know and I’m like but there are things you can change that might slow the progression down. So I can relate. I have three generations of memory loss. My mom, my grandmother and my maternal great-grandmother. So I’ve seen it. I know how ugly it is, but I will probably find out if I’m at risk and I probably, I’m a little more often cuz I don’t feel like I’m at risk other than the genetic component if there is one. I’m not sure how well they know. I guess the genetic risk gives you a little bump but it’s not like a cancerous risk. I don’t know how much they know about that one. You can fill me in if I think I’m blundering that one pretty well off. 

(Phillipe)

And this is what I always tell people that genetics does not equal Destiny, and just because somebody something runs in your family is a disease that runs in the family doesn’t mean that you have to get it and in fact what you should what we should all be more concerned about is not the changes in the genes that put us at risk, but it’s what we learn about our health from our family that really puts us at risk, right? So if our families we learned how to eat in ways that are not healthy you carry that into adulthood. Yep, that disposes us to Dimension to Alzheimer’s more than our system. Right if we learn that but we can be sedentary our entire lives.

00:25:02 – 00:30:06

We don’t have to exercise. Well that’s going to put us at significant risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s as we get older so it’s really about what we’re learning from our family that puts us up at greater risk than the actual gene itself does.

(Jennifer)

Good to know! My mom never had to worry about her weight. She could eat all the candy that she wanted and pretty much whatever food she wanted and didn’t gain weight. Where as I walk past a nice marbled steak and my body is like, oh we’ll just store that right here down. And so I had to learn – let’s see I was in my early forties when I went on this big weight loss journey. So I feel like I changed my destiny by doing that and I sleep better and happier. The beginning of this year with the pandemic and you know, California decided oh, let’s let’s let’s have it rain as soon as the governor says everybody has to stay home, which was that was beneficial. But after a while it was, you know, the gyms are closed and I couldn’t go out on my bike rides and I was like, I had to dig through a box to find the part to put my bike on the trainer so I could ride my bike as a stationary bike. Because I’m stressed, I am feeling homicidal. I needed to burn off some steam and it worked. And it’s amazing how you know good a good sweat session really reduces your stress, which I’ve had people say. Well I’ve done boxing,  I’ve done this and that, it  just makes me more aggressive and I’m like, I’m not sure that you’re doing it right but most people find exercise burns off stress. 

(Phillipe)

Yeah, and it certainly does and stress, you know, we’re built for short term stress, but chronic stress has a really horrible impact on every aspect of our body including our brains.

(Jennifer)

 And do they know exactly what it is that stress does to our brain? 

(Phillipe)

Yep. So when we’re stressed out, let’s say a lion walks into this room. That’s going to be a really stressful event for me, right? 

(Jennifer)

Yeah probably be a little stressful on this side of the camera too.

(Phillipe)

 You know, my brain and body wants me to survive and so it’s going to increase certain chemicals like a cortisol and adrenaline, right? It’s going to increase the adrenaline to get my blood pressure up to get more heart pumping to my muscles so I can either run or to fight. It’s going to go up to compensate for that. My breathing is going to go up to compensate for that, you know cortisol is going to go up in the brain so that way I can focus on that threat so I can focus on that lion and focus on posture, where it is in the room, if it looks like it wants to eat me in the moment or not, where the exit signs are, you know. And so but that’s for me to sort of survive in that moment. But when you’re chronically under stress then those chemicals are elevated right off. That means that now you’re developing high blood pressure, which has a negative impact on the brain, right? Your heart rate is all over the place which isn’t great. Cortisol goes up which decreases your immune system puts you at risk of developing obesity and diabetes, but it also kills neurons in the brain. So a lot of times when we see people who are under stress off they actually are not making new memories. And in fact, if a lion walks into this room, I’m so focused on the lion that I’m not making any new memories and so two weeks from now if I survived and I say to somebody telling them the story and they say well what were you doing in that place? I mean not even remember because I didn’t make that memory because in the moment that that was not important, what was important was escaping that lion. And so if you take that and apply that to people who are chronically under stress, people who have gone through significant traumas, right? They’re always focused on the trauma, always focus on that threat whether it is happening in the moment or not. They are not making new memories that compensate for that trauma in their past.

(Jennifer)

 Which is one of the reasons that we really need to work on systemic racism becasue that’s very toxic to, you know the communities that suffer from that. 

(Phillipe)

Yeah. So, you know traumas like racism have a significant impact and if people are chronically under stress that increases their risk of preventable chronic diseases and it has a negative impact on their brain. It keeps them focused on the traumas that are occurring either today or in the past.

(Jennifer)

 Because like a lot of them don’t ever seem to end. It’s like we are just rolling from one trauma to another. Awful. So there was a question that I had and it’s trying to escape my brain. I hate that, you’re talking about stress.

00:30:06 – 00:35:06

Oh shoot- I hate it when my brain cells die. I had a professor in college. He would lecture and talk talk talk talk talk talk, this was an evening class.And then all of a sudden he stopped and he’d look around and look at his notes and he’d go. Oh, well that brain-cell died and then he’d go on to like a different topic within the course and we’d be like wow hello, is that like half lecture going to be on the test? Because you can’t really finish it. So, talk about how I just recently learned how while we’re sleeping the brain kind of files away all of the memories from the day. So like it does its memory housekeeping. But then I also read where it’s they think and you would obviously know this a lot better than me, that’s also when your brains like clearing away the plaques and it’s the tow and the plaques, right? 

(Phillpe)

Yeah, but essentially so sleep is really designed for the brain. Right. I mean that is the time where your brain is doing everything it needs to keep itself as healthy as possible. So it is clearing out the toxins that are building up from the work that the brain is doing throughout the day. And in fact, we all have cerebral spinal fluid. So this clear fluid that bathes our brain and our spinal tap and keeps the brain buoyant so that way our brains are not pushed up against the skull. Plays a role in your brain in the brains community, but one of the things that they’ve also seen is that during the deeper stages of sleep, you have pulses of waves of this fluid and it’s that those pulses sort of correlate with bearing out toxins during that time. We also know that you know, when people are entering into deeper stages of sleep. That’s when your brain is consolidating memory. That’s when it’s taking things that you’ve learned throughout the day and filing them away like you said so that way we remember them long-term.  Then during deeper stages of sleep that’s when your brains make new neurons and make new connections. It’s releasing chemicals like a 350 trophic factor, which allows that process to happen.

(Jennifer)

 So I have a friend who has chronic insomnia and her mom who was very healthy and exercised, maintained proper weight and did all the stuff what we’ve mentioned previously. She still ended up with dementia and I suspect that a lot of it was due to the insomnia becasue I know it’s like she has good days where she’s gotten plenty of sleep. We saw her, she’s part of our cycle club. She and another girl from the club had been riding before the biggest part of our group started this morning, and she was obviously well-rested becasue she was just flying down the road, but then there’s days when she doesn’t get out riding because she hasn’t had enough sleep and so is there – what can people who I don’t have this problem thankfully, what can people with like chronic insomnia, what should they be doing? Knowing that how important sleep is for our brain, I mean, obviously you don’t want to take you know, alcohol disrupts your sleep even though it makes you sleepy. What-  go ahead.

(Phillipe)

And so, you know like you sort of alluded to you know, that if you’re sleep deprived and in your forties, fifties, and sixties, you’re more likely to develop Alzheimer’s in your seventies, eighties, and nineties. That’s how important sleep is and so, you know when people really need to be doing is improving their sleep hygiene and by sleep hygiene, I mean getting their bodies ready to go to sleep, so turn off the TV  an hour before you go to bed. There shouldn’t be any electronics in the room, no TV, no phone. You want to not eat two or three hours before you go to bed because the digestive process can interfere with sleeping and depending on what you’re eating it could be a stimulant.You want to when the evening comes you want to dim down the lights. You don’t want to have every light on in your house because the reality is that our brains respond to light and so when you know, it’s becoming evening time. We start releasing melatonin, which is really a way of telling our bodies that you need to start getting ready to sleep. And when the lights come on, we released more serotonin, which is kind of like all right, it’s time to wake up and you want to stay away from stimulants like coffee, you know, if you’re going to have coffee you probably shouldn’t have any eight hours before you go to sleep because that can stay in your system for a really really long time. 

(Jennifer)

That’s my, that’s my guilty pleasure. I drink tea which has a lot less caffeine than coffee still has caffeine, but I don’t usually drink too much. Try to try to limit it at least 90 minutes before bed.

00:35:06 – 00:40:03

If not two hours mostly. That’s because I don’t like to have to get up and use the bathroom three times a night, that disrupts my sleep like that and my husband never seems to have a problem though. 

(Phillipe)

Yeah, but teas like chamomile tea really help you fall asleep. 

(Jenifer)

That’s true. I did have one that’s called relax and it’s just I’m not really big on the herbal teas because to me they taste a lot like boiled grass, even mixed with like I’ll make iced tea that’s got some herbal and some like flavored herbal like mango and then with the black tea and the even the hint of the herbal tea, it’s just there’s like when you it’s like drinking wine. The finish as it goes down your throat is not the same so, it’s like I can only give up so many things but I do limit – All I drink is tea and water. So I do limit what I drink before bed just so that I’m not going to the bathroom five times a night because that’s no fun. Yeah, I do listen to podcasts to go to sleep because if I’m not listening-  I found in our old house with a TV in the bedroom and I would fall asleep. I can fall asleep to you know, Stephen Colbert even though it was funny. It’s the melodic rhythm of voices speaking and it just lulls me into a sense of sleep and then off the commercial comes on and wakes you up and so I just learned to I just I put my phone in the nightstand drawer and close it so I don’t get any of that light and I’m listening to the people talking and literally in five minutes I’m out. I can listen to the same podcast all week and not hear the whole thing and it works wonders. And there’s times I’m like, oh, I really wouldn’t actually listen to this while I’m awake and then I’ll just lay there life after 10 or 15 minutes I’m  like, oh forget it. I’ll just listen to it now and then I’ll listen to it when I’m awake. So that’s my only , those are my two little negatives on the list that you said we should do. Keep the room cooler, even though I like it warm, not for sleeping though. 

(Phillipe)

Taking warm showers can help to relax the muscles and help you help you relax in general, so that gets you ready to sleep. There are things that people can do every day. And the reality is that while sleeping medications may help you fall asleep, over time they can actually disrupt your ability to get into the deeper stages of sleep. And so, you know, just changing one or two things when it comes to your overall sleep hygiene may be a lot more beneficial.

(Jennifer)

 Have you found with people that with the  people that you treat who are living with Alzheimer’s there’s a lot of times they’re clock gets completely out of whack. My mom started getting this way. The caregivers would tell me oh, yeah, she gets up about 2:00 in the morning comes out and talks to me and I’m like, that is not my mom. You know, she was never one of those people would be awake in the middle of the night. So that was different but I’ve got friends, guests, people that contact me on social media and it’s like toddlers like nighttime battles. It’s like no. It’s 2:00 in the morning. You need to be in bed. Then they’re trying to go out the front door and there’s tricks for avoiding them leaving the house. But as long do you think having this kind of pre bedtime routine for somebody living with Alzheimer’s is beneficial or is it just their brain chemistry is messed up? And you could try but it’s- 

(Phillipe)

I think you can certainly try and it may help and the reality is that you know, our circadian rhythm, our body’s internal clock that’s governed by the brain and if you’re now have brain issues and bring this function and there’s a good chance that that’s going to be thrown off as well. 

(Jennifer)

That makes sense. That’s just , that’s the worse – it’s so hard for caregivers who are you know, they need their sleep and their loved one is not sleeping. It just adds more challenges to the already challenging diagnosis. And then there was one thing we were talking about stress. I really I don’t dwell on it because that’s obviously not good for my brain. But I worry that this year twenty-twenty with everything that’s gone on. I would not be surprised if they see an acceleration in the diagnosis of Alzheimer’s in more people, like the number of the percentage will increase more quickly just because people have been not having socialization and their routines have been disrupted. It’s been stressful. It’s been confusing. It’s just never ending. It’s just like, you know, 

00:40:03 – 00:45:01

It’s a really terrible thing to think about. I think it’ll be you know, maybe for people in research might find it interesting, they’re going to more subjects I think but you know. Do you have  tips on what people should be doing right now in this insanity? 

(Phillipe)

Yeah, and so I’ve seen more people who are reporting either that they’re starting to have memory problems over the last few months or that their cognitive issues have gotten worse over the last few months. And the reality is that if people are sad, if people are depressed, that can bring out a lot of symptoms associated with dementia. And in fact when people are really depressed and they present with memory problems and cognitive issues because that pseudo dementia.And so, you know, so we do see that the reality is that the mindset that we take into things has a huge impact on how we come out of them and has a huge impact on our health overall. So there are people that are in this time period, which is a really difficult time. Who feel completely hopeless who are just like I just want things to go back to normal already, you know, but there are other people who are going to say look, this is a really great opportunity for me while one first to stay healthy, but to re-evaluate the things that we’re working and not working in my life and make some changes. It’s a great opportunity to spend with family. It’s a great opportunity just to work on that business or that project I’ve always wanted to and so the mindset that we have is incredibly important. Because it often dictates just start box, but the actions that we take.

(Jennifer)

 That’s true.

(Phillipe)

 And then you’re going to have people, lets say next year things are completely back to normal and we’ll have a group of people that are like man I wish it was twenty twenty and had more time with my family again. 

(Jennifer)

 It’s probably true. But as far as I’m laughing just because it’s like oh Lord, you know.

(Phillipe)

 So the mindsets that we have are incredibly important.

(Jennifer)

 I did learn mindfulness between my mom falling and breaking her leg and her passing away and I’ve never-  even though I’m like, California and like outside nature kind of chick. Never been one of those  mindfulness people, but I had a guest and he explained it in ways that actually made sense to me and I have repeated the story a couple of times but I feel like it’s super important to repeat but my mom was in the hospital. She didn’t even know if she broke her leg. And so that’s how far into the Alzheimer’s she was. She had it for about 20 years. So we were definitely at the end prior to breaking the leg and you know, so I’m trying to explain to her why she can’t get out of bed and you know, all that was stressful and it was at the beginning of the pandemic and it’s like do I want her in the hospital and do I want me over here visiting her? I was like, well it was just you know, and then you’re talking to the surgeon and you probably know surgeons like to do surgery. And so when the surgeon didn’t push fixing the broken leg, I was like, oh this is great. But of course, you know, they leave it up to you because that’s that’s the way it has to be and I was walking across the room from the kitchen to the master bedroom and I could literally feel the stress just winding up like a spring and I knew what was coming. I was gonna explode. There’s going to be a fight with the spouse. It was going to be ugly and I was like wait, you know this guy, this is what he told me to do. He’s like embrace the feeling. Don’t try to pretend like you aren’t feeling like you’re about to explode so I  did,  I said, okay, I’m really really angry. Why am I angry and in literally 30 seconds. It was like, oh it’s just because I want the best thing for my mom and I went literally from nano seconds away from exploding and just being an unreasonable, not pleasant person to be around to feeling really good about myself. So I repeat that story because it can be that easy, like once you understand why you’re feeling this really negative emotion instead of trying to shove it away and pretend no I’m not angry or I’m not upset. You know that it’s much easier to just go. Oh, yeah, I’m really upset because I want the best for my mom and that was in the middle of March. So then I had to keep doing that as every vacation we have this year including two weeks in Hawaii got canceled. So it’s like, okay well, you know it is what it is. I revamped my website. I reached out to more people for the podcast which was a couple crazy weeks and you know. I’m a planner. So this is really hard for me. But it’s just like well, this is just the way it is right now.

00:45:01 – 00:50:19

It will not be like this forever. There are days I feel that way and then their days I just have to remind myself that hey we’re into September already. We’ve managed this far into the year. We can just keep moving forward. So it is really possible to really shift your focus. If you could just learn how to do it and I will put that episode that I’m talking about, it is called mindfulness and the link to his courses along with yours in the show notes so everybody can learn all this good stuff. So that’s a good segue into the course that you did like.

(Phillipe)

 Yeah. So the course is called Take Charge of Your Brain in 30 days and it launches this Monday September 7th. And so, you know, I always say that our brains are completely out of control if we allow them to be right. I mean have you and you sort of just gave a really great example of that when you said, you know, you were feeling kind of way you knew that you were about to explode on your spouse. Okay, and it’s like if you have one bad moment or somebody pisses you off in that moment. All of a sudden your brain takes you down a road where it’s like you start to acknowledge everything that’s wrong in the world, everything that’s wrong with that person, everything that’s wrong with you, and you just get really really angry. And that happens with all of us and that’s sort of our brains being completely just out of control and I often tell people that our brains need us to believe them off. And when we take charge of our brains. That’s when we are really able to create the lives that we truly want for ourselves. And so the way that the course is organized. It’s organized into more than seventy lessons, but of course across four modules The first module is really talking to people about the importance of having a mission, vision, and purpose despite what their diagnosis may be. The second module talks to people about the impact that preventable chronic diseases have on their brains and all the things that influence their health in general. The third module is is teaching people to have a completely different relationship with their brain, to become the leader of that their brain needs them to be and they also learn about neurological disorders and then in the fourth module people learn how to create their own sort of prescription plan that is rooted in the development of the Mind, Body, and Soul in order to become healthy and create the lives that they want as part of the course people also, we do two hours per weeks and 1 hour on Mondays and one hour on Thursdays of live group coaching sessions with me. So we go over the course content. We do a question-and-answer sessions and people get access to the course for a full-year.

(Jennifer)

 And who would you recommend do this course besides everybody?

(Phillipe)

 So this is really tailored for people who have neurological issues. I think everybody can benefit but right now we’re tailoring it to  people with neurological issues.

(Jennifer)

 So as I recall from the website, it was strokes and anxiety. I forgot what else I had written down. But it listed a lot of things. 

(Phillipe)

So yeah, you know and and even people who preventable chronic medical issues right because high blood pressure and diabetes often lead to neurological problems, but whether it’s stroke, epilepsy, back pain, headaches, MS, Parkinson’s all of those people can can benefit .

(Jennifer)

I know somebody with MS. She’s running for mayor of our town. She’s been a city councilperson for four years. So I will mention your course to her. She’s doing fine. just being careful about getting overly tired and overly stressed because we’ve discussed why those are bad for your brain and then I was going to ask if high blood pressure is bad for your brain because it reduces the oxygenated blood that’s flowing to your brain. Is that correct? 

(Phillipe)

Yeah, so, you know the smallest blood vessels in your brain cannot tolerate high blood pressure or high blood sugar or inflammation very well. So over time those things damage those small blood vessels, which means that now there are areas of your brain that are not getting the blood flow that they need. So they’re not getting the oxygen and nutrients that they need breaks that cause injury and we can see that on cats scans and MRIs and also high blood pressure can lead to Strokes. It can also lead to bleeding in the brain and I know, when you have those kinds of injuries it can lead to dementia like vascular dementia. diabetes has been linked to Alzheimer’s like we talked about. So this stuff has a really negative impact on the brain.

(Jennifer)

I’ve learned a lot about the brain doing this podcast and taking care of my mom and I wish I had started the podcast a lot sooner cuz I learned a lot that would have been beneficial earlier in her journey, but better late than never it’s benefiting me because in prior to this year,

00:50:19 – 00:53:45

I was a professional portrait photographer and I could do most of that job without thinking about it cuz I’ve been doing it for like twenty nine years and I loved it. It was creative and you know, I like being with the people and that was my thing and I didn’t want to give it up but the pandemic kind of… moving and the pandemic and I’m like, you know what I’m just done people like to change their appointment time constantly, and I’ve just I finally said I’m done. I’m retiring. I’m sticking to the podcast. It’s much easier, and  in the two and half years I’ve been doing the podcast. I’ve learned so many things from guests how to produce the podcast, just everything involved with putting this out to the world, and it’s really interesting because had I not gone down this path, I don’t think I would have created as many new neurons as I think I’ve probably done, you know, always reading stuff on Alzheimer’s although some of them are like could they they put this in English? This is very scientific. That’s not very good with those kinds of things. So I don’t want to take up too much more of your time. I’m going to have all of your links to the you know to the website and everything and the app in the show notes. But do you have one last bit of advice that you would give people like maybe the caregivers? I have both family caregivers and professional caregivers that listen. 

(Phillipe)

Yeah, and so I think it’s really important that caregivers take good care of themselves first and foremost. You cannot take care of anybody else unless you’re taking care of yourself first choice. You can’t give to other people unless you are feeling yourself up first and I think that that’s really important for caregivers. We often see caregivers that are emotionally and physically exhausted or they’re getting physically hurt trying to carry somebody or host somebody or you know, or somebody’s combative. really important for caregivers to take exceptional care of themselves. Take time out every day for themselves. 

(Jennifer)

Even if you have to do five minute increments, it is important. It’s just very difficult. Yeah. So I appreciate this very much. I’m going to check out like I said I went to check out the absence. It’s got a Candy Crush s kind of vibe and show it to my husband this evening. And I really appreciate you taking the time to share your knowledge and information with all my listeners. 

(Phillipe)

Well, thank you for having me. This has been fun. So thank you. You’re welcome.

(Jennifer)

I hope this conversation has inspired you to tackle learning something new, trying different things and building healthy brand new neurons. If you liked this episode, please share it with friends and family, some strangers on the street wouldn’t hurt. If you haven’t lately give us a rating and review in Apple podcast. That is how new people will find the show and it allows me to help more caregivers looking for answers. And as always I’ll be in your ears again next Tuesday.