BRAINCHANGE with David Perlmutter M.D.

BRAINCHANGEOur local PBS channel ( today aired BRAINCHANGE, a special on Alzheimer’s Prevention that featured Dr. David Perlmutter, M.D.

Perlmutter is a board-certified neurologist who gained much of his knowledge about brain science from his dad, who was a practicing neurosurgeon and now has Alzheimer’s. That experience gave him even more motivation to understand why Americans have such a high rate of Alzheimer’s and why that is increasing.

The special served as a PBS fund-raiser but in many ways seemed like an infomercial to sell Perlmutter’s book, Grain Brain: The Surprising Truth about Wheat, Carbs, and Sugar–Your Brain’s Silent Killers. Still, it was factual, thought-provoking, and complements work I’m involved with at Intelligent Sleep, where we see sleep as the third leg of wellness and as important as nutrition and exercise. I could not find an online version of the show, but here are my notes and some summary videos:Grain Brain


  • >5.4M Americans haveAlzheimers today. That will double by 2030.
    • Your risk is 50% at age 85, and it doubles if you have diabetes (sugar & blood glucose).
    • 10% of adults suffer from Depression. Most take a pill, but with side effects, of course.
    • Women on depression meds have 45% higher risk of Stroke.
  • Our healthcare system Treats Symptoms (like focusing on smoke instead of the forest fire).
  • Through diet (and we add exercise & sleep), we have the power to change our gene expression.
    • Epigenetics – changing the expression of our DNA (yes, it’s possible)
    • Neurogenesis – growing new brain cells (very possible, even through our 80’s)
    • Aerobic Exercise – increases blood flow to the brain and improves epigenetic function
  • Inflammation is a main culprit in brain disorders, but we feel no pain since the brain lacks pain receptors.
  • Free Radicals cause oxidation (like rust). Inflammation causes free radicals.
  • Hence, Perlmutter recommends antioxidants, colorful veggies, and the following.
1) Cut out Sugar and Carbs. The higher the levels of blood sugar, the more brain shrinkage is noticed.
  • The body has Zero need for Carbohydrates.
  • Glycation – when sugar binds to proteins (bad)
  • Glycemic Index – measure of how long blood sugar remains high (some foods better, some worse)
2) Avoid Gluten – Body sees whole grain protein as foreign, prompts immune response & inflammation.
  • Agriculture (wheat) is relatively new, beginning 10,000 years ago, and DNA has not adapted to how much we eat.
  • 30% of people are profoundly gluten sensitive, but all have some sensitivity.
  • Blood test for C-Reactive protein indicates inflammation.
3) Eat Good Fats – Brain is 60-70% fat.
  • Avocados, extra-virgin olive oil, fatty fish like wild salmon, nuts, seeds, and even eggs.
  • Body “needs” cholesterol. Every cell in body has it, and 25% of it is in our brains.
  • Contemporary medicine has wrongly told us to avoid cholesterol and fats and told us that whole grain breads were good.
  • Meat is good, but it should be organic and grass-fed, and chickens & eggs should be free-range to minimize toxins.
  • Omega-3’s, especially DHA, improves epigenetic

 30-second introduction to PBS program

7-minute summary of “Grain Brain” book

48-min interview from The Detox Summit

The Detox Summit was sponsored by The Institute for Functional Medicine, which provides information to train the healthcare workforce in natural, holistic, and effective treatment and prevention of chronic disease.