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I'm a 54 year old Husband, Father of Four Daughters, Pastor and Vice Principal of a private K-12 school on Long Island.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Brain Health

I saw a show last night with my wife about the book "Change your Brain, Change your Life. Well, this rings true with me because as a Christian I have learned in the Bible that, as he thinketh in his heart, so is he: Prov. 23:7. Also, And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; Eph.4:23. The doctor who wrote the book and was doing the show is:

Daniel G. Amen, MD

Board Certified Child, Adolescent and Adult Psychiatrist
Helped pioneer the use of brain SPECT imaging in psychiatry
Assistant Clinical Professor of Psychiatry and Human BehaviorUC, Irvine, School of Medicine
Trained at Walter Reed Medical Center in Washington, DC
Distinguished Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association
Award Winning Researcher, Writer and Teacher
25 years of clinical experience
CEO and Medical Director, Amen Clinics, Inc.(4 clinics -- Newport Beach and Fairfield, CA, Tacoma, WA and Reston, VA)
Amen Clinics have world's largest database of brain scans (>40,000)and have seen patients from all 50 states and 62 countries.
Experts in the use of both medication and natural supplements to optimize brain function.
Substance and Passion…
Author of over 30 professional papers, and 22 books, including the NY Times bestseller, Change Your Brain, Change Your Life, Healing ADD, Healing Anxiety and Depression, Preventing Alzheimer’s, Making A Good Brain Great, Sex on the Brain and Wired for Success (2009)
Dr. Amen’s high school course, Making A Good Brain Great, on “practical brain science health education” is now in 34 states and 7 countries

Continual Outreach…
PBS Special: Change Your Brain, Change Your Life
Appeared The Today Show, The View, The Early Show, Fox News, CNN, CNN International, Behind the Mind, CNN Headline News, 48 Hours, HBO, America Undercover, Small Town Ecstasy, Discovery Channel News: Inside the Mind of a Killer, MSNBC, Emmy Winning Show "The Truth About Drinking"
His work featured in Newsweek, Parade, USA Today, NY Times, NY Times Magazine, Wall Street Journal, Cosmopolitan, Vogue, Allure, Los Angeles Times, Newsweek Japan, MIT Technology, Ladies Home Journal, Good Housekeeping
Speaker for National Security Agency, National Science Foundation, Harvard's Learning and the Brain Conference, Supreme Courts of Ohio, Delaware and Wyoming, among many others
Most requested presentations include:Change Your Brain, Change Your Life Healing the Hardware of the SoulMaking A Good Brain Great Sex On The Brain Wired for Success Healing ADD

Wow....a pretty busy guy! Anyway, he made some great points on how to stay "brain healthy". I like that he made the distinction that THE BRAIN IS JUST THE HARDWARE. We must pay special attention to the "software" we use to run our brain and in turn our bodies! Paul said in Phillipians (GREAT SOFTWARE!), Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you. The Holy Bible : King James Version. Php 4:8-9

Let's get practical! What are 10 things the Doctor says we can do to "exercise our brains healthy"?

1 - Dedicate yourself to new learning.

2 - Take a class about something new and interesting. (Sounds like the first)

3 - Cross train at work.

4 - Improve your skill at things you already do.

5 - Limit television for kids and adults. (That's for Sure!)

6 - Limit video games.

7 - Join a reading group that keeps you accountable to new learning.

8 - Practice well what you are learning.

9 - Break the routine of your life to stimulate new parts of your brain.

10 - Treat learning problems to help kids and adults stay in school.

Dr. Amen says, "Think of mental exercise as important as diet and physical exercise for keeping both you body and brain strong." I agree that mental health is as important if not more important as physical health. Numbers 1-4 seem almost the same principle just applied to different areas. Numbers 5 and 6 are sure to win awards with the 5-30 year old group! While I agree to monitor and perhaps limit the use of TV and Video games where necessary, there are also some studies that show a benefit to the brain by playing video games and I saw the good Doctor on TV! Numbers 6-9 again seem to just be a variation of number 1. And, as an Educator I believe wholeheartedly with number 10.

This is a principal I learned 30 years ago and it has been the best way of me exercising and giving my mind what it needs to stay healthy and alert, Josh 1:8, This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success. Meditation on God's Word renews and refreshes the mind. It brings wisdom and discernment. It brings peace and guards against depression. It should be a daily practice.

Tomorrow we will focus on Dr. Amen's dietary approach for the brain. Brain food if you will. Come back and feel free to give me a holla!

Grace and Peace,

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