Sleep disorders in the pediatric population are common, occurring in as much as 30-40% of children. When children don’t sleep well, it sets the stage for a variety of other problems including poor general health, fatigue, declining school performance, depression, behavioral issues and weight gain.
A new study reveals an intriguing finding that explains not only what causes some children to struggle with sleep, but more importantly, what might well provide a safe remedy for the problem.
British researchers publishing in the Journal of Sleep Research evaluated the sleep patterns of 395 children aged 7-9 years. In addition, they performed a blood analysis on these children to measure their levels of DHA, an omega-3 fatty acid. Continue reading
I’m a 38 year old female and I have epilepsy. I have focal motor seizures that mimic dystonia. I suffer from night seizures and occasional daytime seizures, presenting themselves as cramping in my right arm and leg, lasting 1-10 seconds. For most of my years, I believed this was a life sentence. However, I’ve remained mainly seizure free on a gluten-free diet and haven’t taken daily medication for years. I take muscle relaxants when I have seizures (about once per year for a few weeks).
Further, although I have remained mainly seizure-free over the last few years, I have been a terrible sleeper….very restless and wakeful. But I have had great success on my new diet and supplement regimen. I have never slept so good! I’m sleeping through the night and I feel so well-rested in the morning.
21- Anonymous from Wicklow, Ireland
As someone who watched a bedridden mother die of Alzheimer’s, I have a deep personal interest in preventing this disease in my family. As such, I am always alert for leading-edge information on how to prevent this terrible illness.
Before my diet, I had been consuming almost a quart of buttermilk stuffed with corn chips every day. Add to that diet colas, other crackers and chips, and the daily oatmeal my doctor told me to eat, and it should be clear I was on a dangerous path. Once information about a low-carb, high-fat, gluten-free lifestyle was put before me, I instantly realized this was the information I had been waiting for.
I went to an olive oil store and bought a bottle, started eating grass-fed beef, eliminated grains, switched to green tea, and bought some stevia for (occasional) sweetening. I’ve also begun to eat more organic greens (daily in fact).
Previously, I also suffered from arthritis in my joints, especially at night when the pain woke me up several times. If a change in sleep pattern is any evidence that this diet is working, then it is worth it to me for that reason only. It has only been six weeks, and the change is already AMAZING!!!
-A.K. from Destin, FL
In Grain Brain, and Brain Maker, I mention how important sleep is, and how simple dietary changes can improve your nightly rest. Great to hear this is the case for Gerry. – Dr. Perlmutter
My name is Tom, and I want to share the story of my wife, Gerry.
After being on a gluten-free, low-carb, high-fat plan for one month, the biggest difference I have seen is that my wife is sleeping through the night. Now that’s probably not a big deal for many people, but she has been a poor sleeper her whole life – 67 years. Its been almost miraculous for us as she normally has trouble falling asleep, then wakes up around 2 a.m., stays up for a couple of hours, and then finally might drift back to sleep at 4 a.m. Some nights she wouldn’t sleep at all.
These days, she goes to sleep easier, and gets a solid eight hours sleep every night.
For this reason alone she’ll stay on the plan. It’s an unexpected, but very welcome side-effect.
– Tom and Gerry P.
Many recent studies have confirmed how adequate sleep plays a pivotal role in fostering cognitive function. This is particularly evident in those individuals who do not sleep adequately, and may as well be obese.
In a recent study, entitled “Sleep Extension Improves Neurocognitive Functions in Chronically Sleep-Deprived Obese Individuals,” researchers evaluated a cohort of 121 obese individuals, both men and premenopausal women, who slept less than 6.5 hours nightly. When initially evaluated, 33% of the participants had impaired memory, 35% had impaired attention, 42% had deficits in motor skills, and slightly more than half had problems with executive function.
They then engaged these individuals in a program to extend the length of time that they were sleeping by using various lifestyle management techniques, as opposed to any pharmaceutical intervention. At the conclusion of the study, global cognitive function and attention improved by 7% and 10% respectively, with a tendency for improved memory and executive functions as well.
Last month I had the great honor to serve as program chairman for an integrative brain symposium held in Hollywood, Florida. What was so exciting for me was the fact that I was given the opportunity to invite some of our most well-respected thought leaders in the field of brain science to lecture on their research.
One of our esteemed presenters was Dale E. Bredesen, M.D., an Alzheimer’s researcher at the Mary S. Easton Center for Alzheimer’s Disease Research at UCLA. Dr. Bredesen provided a unique assessment of the current approaches to dealing with Alzheimer’s disease. It was very clear from his presentation that the idea of focusing on a single drug or single intervention was simply not going to be appropriate if we are ever going to be able to offer up any meaningful therapy for the more than 5.4 million Americans who are afflicted with this devastating condition.
Dr. Bredesen described a “systems approach” to dealing with Alzheimer’s disease, looking at a variety of factors that seem to conspire, ultimately leading to brain degeneration that we know recognize as representing this disease. Using his approach which he termed, “systems therapeutics,” which integrates a variety of parameters, he has actually been able to reverse cognitive decline in this devastating condition. Continue reading
By: Austin Perlmutter, MD, Medical Student, Miller School of Medicine
Depression is the leading cause of disability in young Americans, a significant burden for those affected and those around them. With so many suffering from this condition, the market has created a slew of treatments designed to fix the problem. Like any other medical issue, there are science-based therapies and unsubstantiated attempts to profit from others’ misfortune. Though drugs are the standard evidence based treatment, new data now sheds light on ways to fight depression without medications. Here are five evidence-based ways to counter depression without drugs:
- Exercise: Multiple studies show the beneficial effects of exercise on everything from cardiovascular status to emotional state. The latest review of available evidence shows that exercise may be as good as drugs in treating depression. What’s even better, data shows that there are significant benefits in emotional state with as little as two weeks of exercise. Considering that we give antidepressant medications 6 to 8 weeks before we see full effects, this is huge. Continue reading
What a wonderful story of success from Mike and Linda. It’s great to see how they go through this together. – Dr. Perlmutter
My wife bought your book “Grain Brain” a few months ago and like most books we buy, it just sat on the coffee table for a while and neither of us even opened it for a few days. When Linda first picked up the book and began to read, it became obvious that this was not just another diet book that was going to fail us again. We both have strong histories of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia in our families and, from first-hand experience, it is the most cruel and debilitating disease I have ever seen.
Once we understood the message you were relating in the book, we knew instantly that our main motivation was to maintain and improve the cognitive functions of our brains and, hopefully, prevent either of us being cast into the nightmare of Alzheimer’s. We actually looked at the possibility of losing weight as side benefit from the healthy eating regiment you had laid out in your book and on your website.
I love to hear from fellow medical professionals like Christine, who have shifted their way of thinking based on their personal experience with a changed diet/lifestyle. – Dr. Perlmutter
I have battled my weight all my life. In my early 20’s, an allergist warned me that I was sensitive to many grains and that I should eat them sparingly. I ignored it. At 49 I was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes.
I continued eating my usual diet and my blood sugars continued to rise, as did my insulin doses. When I was told I needed four injections a day as well as oral medications, I had just about had it. I was overweight significantly, felt terrible and awoke every morning with nausea and aching bones and joints. On the advice of a friend, I decided to give up carbohydrates.
It’s so good to hear stories like Lori’s, about how Grain Brain has brought answers and hope to those who have spent so many years looking for both. – Dr. Perlmutter
My husband and I were in a weather-related car accident in January 2000 and
both experienced severe closed head trauma. We lived in Pennsylvania at the
time. By the grace of God, we recovered miraculously – although quickly
realized (and accepted) that the damage done to our brains was going result
in life-long implications for us.
We made the decision to start a family a few years ago and have my husband be a stay-at-home dad; in part because we strongly believed in the value of having a parent at home with the child, but also because he struggled to maintain employment. He’s done a great job, but it is clear to both of us that our head injuries continue to cause daily challenges for us. With a young family, and ourselves aging, we are extremely concerned about the likelihood of dementia setting in at a young age for us and are desperate for support. Continue reading