A Personal Story of Adult Life With Spinal Muscular Atrophy
One of the greatest dreams of my life was being able to go to a college that was not tailored to a wheelchair student. I wanted to get into the best university that I could because as most children with SMA, if not all SMA children, we are extremely bright. It's one of the great ironies of this disease. Weak muscles, strong, very strong intellect. So I was the president of my prep school's senior class. I had great grades. I had fairly competitive SAT scores and I was accepted at Duke.
University. I was the first freshman in a wheelchair ever accepted at Duke in nineteen seventyfour. People with disabilities, especially with spinal muscular atrophy, we have to devise ways of adapting for our needs and if something did not work, then we would devise a way that could work. You have to be imaginative. You have to be creative and you cannot take no for an answer. The bar exam was first of all extremely, extremely pressurized. This is my ticket to practice law and if you don't pass the exam,.
What is causing pain and numbness down my leg
The most common things as we get older tends to be spinal stenosis. Spinal stenosis is where they have numbness down their leg. They feel like they can't walk very far. And it also goes hand in hand with something called lumbar spondylothesis. What that means is that one vertebrae slips over the other, and they tends to go hand in hand with one another. It's a very gradual process, it is a degenerative process. Like other conditions it can usually be treated from a conservative standpoint. That is usually through physical therapy,.
Elevated Blood Glucose Shrinks the Brain
As you know, in Grain Brain I hammer away at this idea that you've got to keep your blood sugar levels down. Why do I talk about that I talk about it because studies have demonstrated that the higher your blood sugar, the more rapidly your brain will shrink, and when it comes to your brain, size does matter. Let's take a look at this study. This is a study from the journal Neurology, published in 2012, and what they did was really quite interesting. They took a group of about 250 266 actually individuals, adults.
Who were intact mentally. They measured their glucose level and they did a brain scan to measure the size of the hippocampus that's the brain's memory center. Then they brought these individuals back at 4 years and measured again the size of their brain's memory center. And when you look at this slide, you see a perfect correlation between shrinkage of the memory center and their original fasting blood sugar. This is very powerful information. It shows that there's this perfect direct relationship between a person's blood sugar, and the rate at which the brain's memory center will shrink.
So Whats for Breakfast
What's for breakfast That's a question everyone seems to ask me. And, you know there does seem to be some pushback when I say, well you might want to have a 3egg omelets with some kale and olive oil. And people often say, Well, you know what I'm gonna just have some oats, oatmeal. It's really wonderful, it's seal cut and it's obviously glutenfree. Is it really Let's have a look. This is a study from the wellrespected New England Journal of Medicine that looked at gluten contamination in oat products here in America.
They looked at 3 brands of oats and to be considered glutenfree a product must contain less than 20 ppm of gluten. They looked at three brands of oats. First was milled in an oats only facility. Meaning they didn't mill potential gluten containing things like wheat. The next brand County Choice is organic. And the third brand, Quaker Oats is obviously one of the most popular brands here in America. And here's what they found. In the brand that you would expect to be gluten free, well, 2 of the 4 specimens actually did contain.
Gluten. In the organic variety, 3 of the 4 specimens actually contained gluten, and significant amounts of gluten. And in Quaker Oats according to the New England journal of medicine, significant contamination with gluten really, really, high values of gluten 75 of the samples, in this study, were not glutenfree. So the notion that eating oatmeal is a good idea because it's a glutenfree choice for breakfast really doesn't make a lot of sense because, chances are you're going to be getting gluten in your breakfast. Beyond that please understand that oatmeal, especially instant oatmeal, has a very high glycemic index, meaning it's.
Are There Any Good Grains
I'm often asked about other grains aside from wheat. And, the reality of the situation is that most grain food virtually all of the grain food that have become so popular these days are actually very high in carbohydrate. Whether we're talking about quinoa spelt amaranth the very popular grains of the day. The reality is they still are associated with a carbohydrate syrege or a glocuse syrage they have a fairly high glycemic index, meaning that after 90 to 120 minutes your blood sugar is gonna go up and that is detrimental to the brain. Beyond.
Understanding Gluten Sensitivity
I recently treated a patient who had a history of headaches for 40 years. I did some blood work and found that she was gluten sensitive. I took her off of gluten and her headaches went away. She then visited with her gastroenterologist who picked up the phone and called me and said, Why did you put this patient on a gluten free diet, she doesn't have celiac disease. I began to explain something called nonceliac gluten sensitivity and I have to admit there was a lot of silence on the other end of the phone. There are still people who don't believe.
That there really is such a thing as being gluten sensitive if you don't have celiac disease. But let's look at what the science is really telling us about this notion of nonceliac gluten sensitivity. Back in 2012, there was an international symposium in England and I've listed herethese are the top gluten researchers really on the planet. They came together to look at this notion of gluten related disorders, in other words being sensitive to gluten without necessarily having celiac disease. And what did they find They looked at the notion that this is a big.
Question with $2.5 billion dollars each year being spent on glutenfree products globally, at least that's the 2010 statistic. They described 3 different things being allergic to wheat, having celiac disease, and yes, being sensitive to gluten. Here's what they came up with. The symptoms in gluten sensitivity may resemble those associated with celiac disease but with a prevalence of extra intestinal symptoms, meaning away from the gut, behavioral changes, bone or joint pain, muscle cramps, leg numbness, weight loss and chronic fatigue. And here is a percentage breakdown in terms of what they found, things like abdominal pain, 68,.
And further down you see foggy mind. Thirtyfour percent, about 13 of the people with gluten sensitivity actually have neurologic issues like foggy mind. And a little further down, depression and even numbness in extremities and joint pain. So the point is that gluten sensitivity is real, and it frequently manifests itself outside of the gut. In my profession, being a neurologist, we see a lot of brain related issues related to being gluten sensitive. Things like cognitive issues, attention deficit issues, depression and even nerve issues. So we've really got to understand that our most well respected.
Food is Information
Food is information. What does that mean Well we look at our food in terms of the macronutrients of protein, fat, carbohydrates, and the micronutrients like minerals and vitamins. But understand that the very foods that you choose to eat are changing the expression of your DNA. I had the opportunity to talk about this on The Today Show, and on this program I presented some foods and talked to Ann Curry about how the various foods that we choose to consume change the expression of our DNA. You know the idea that we're living a life that's not exactly supportive of our DNA expression.
And in conjunction with good expression of our DNA is something that I became interested in just a few years ago. As a matter of fact about forty three years ago, when I wrote my first article dealing with this, when I was 15 years old I'll read it to you. After spending three days and two nights at the Sebring car races, I found myself to be in question Can we adapt ourselves to this future environment Perhaps our bodies are more suited to the lush forest bed and soft sandy beaches where.
Former humans lived in duration. I don't believe that the two weeks in the mountains or a Saturday at the beach will be enough to keep this body, which has evolved under less strenuous conditions, content. Perhaps the human will change rapidly in the next centuries to adapt himself to beer cans, concrete, and shattering noise. Our generations are each contributing to the evolution of pollution resistant lungs. But what about the people of today who are stuck with the outdated machinery With that in mind I recently took a trip to my grocery store near my home, and recognizing.
That food is information, I walked around the grocery store and I made a discovery in our grocery store, we actually have something called health foods. We actually have a section in the grocery store dedicated to foods that are called natural foods. Foods that actually come from nature. Now, with the idea that foods change our genetic expression, I think it's really important to understand that the food choices we have today are causing genetic expression that leads to disease. Food is information. Instruct your genes wisely. I'm Doctor David Perlmutter.
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