This following series of posts are meant as a companion to my recent sessions at SXSW (see my video here), where time did not allow for us to drill down into detail on various health resources.
I should state up front that I offer all of these not as a Doctor or Researcher, but as a Patient, and a “Citizen Scientist” if you will. None of this should be taken as medical advice, and certainly you should consult your Doctor when it comes to making decisions about your health.
When it comes to who these posts are for: They are for any individual who is looking to improve the health of their brains.
A big part of “Patient Empowerment” is being informed, and on my health journey over the last several years I have sought out lots of information related not just to my condition, but to health in general and brain health in particular.
As research and resources are exploding in all of these fields, I intend to update all of the posts that follow with new information and additional links as I come across them. That will be done in a resources section we will be adding to the site shortly, as opposed to going back and updating each of these posts over time. So feel free to re-visit this material when we get it posted over there as well as below.
I will also over time try to point you to the work of the expert doctors, researchers, and product developers who have been most helpful to me.
About Citizen Science for Health:
My health journey has included access to top researchers at places like Stanford, UCSF and University of Texas Medical Center. I know that our current healthcare system does not spread the benefits of good health care around evenly, and I want to do what I can to share what I can in support of those that may not have been as fortunate as I have so far.
When I look at how to be of support to others, my questions turn to how can I uniquely be of use—where are the gaps which it seems no one else is filling, or are at least under-filled. This has led me to create Citizen Science for Health to focus on:
> Encouraging experimentation, as an ideal way to turn “Patient Empowerment” from a buzzword into a real, lived experience
> Supporting clinical trials to prove or disprove the effectiveness of these various approaches
> Researching lifestyle medicine strategies (diet, exercise, etc....) to prevent Parkinson’s or slow neuro-degeneration
A note about my use of the term “Bio-hacking” in my title:
I choose to define bio-hacking as anything we do to try to pro-actively enhance our health.
As I described in the session, this effort is driven in a positive direction by the impulse to seek out what is “optimal” rather than just “normal”. That is true whether the focus is on lifespan or health span, various blood levels, mental function, aging, etc….
Brain Health Resources: "The Basics”
With the introduction above in mind, let me start with what one of my neurologist’s referred to as “The Basics” when I asked her about where I should turn in my search of what may be neuro-protective.
Her full comment was “The basics are called that for a reason—they include things like Exercise, Diet, Stress Reduction and Sleep.”
If you want to start with a great overview on some of these, check out this great set of Brain Tips from Maria Shriver’s Women’s Alzheimer’s Movement.
The Guardian, also offered a great overview piece recently, covering “Four steps to a younger, smarter brain”.
As does this overview piece from Next Avenue: Our Brains Need Exercise, Too