Tag Archives: brain

Improving brain function

I often see patients whose brain power is not what it used to be. It’s a common tale with mental illness–it can slow down and blur your thoughts. It’s also a common tale with aging, so brain health should be a topic on everyone’s minds.

There are supplements you can take which may help a bit with memory and cognition: fish oil, some B vitamins, curcumin, acetyl-L-carnitine, huperzine A, vinpocetine, and cocoa flavanols. Don’t go to them looking for a miracle, but you might see a slight boost.

For older people, some forms of choline may help enhance short-term memory and attention, while iron could improve learning and memory in girls with iron deficiency.

Be wary of other supplements boasting brain boosting power. Green tea, Gingko bilboa, and vitamin E have not been shown to be effective.

Beyond pills, there are plenty of things you can do for your brain. Psychology Today has a great article on that topic with links to relevant research. In summary, here’s their list:

  1. Physical Activity
  2. Openness to Experience
  3. Curiosity and Creativity
  4. Social Connections
  5. Mindfulness Meditation
  6. Brain-Training Games
  7. Get Enough Sleep
  8. Reduce Chronic Stress

Go here to read more about each of those suggestions.

A well-functioning brain is critical to good quality of life. Let’s all see what we can do to take better care of our minds!

Satu Woodland is owner and clinician of Mental Health Solutions, an integrative mental health practice located at Bown Crossing in Boise, Idaho. She sees children, adolescents, and adults. Information in this blog is not intended as medical advice. Please consult your health care provider about decisions regarding your health.

Newborn brain scans predict depression

Does depression change the brain, or are brain abnormalities the cause of depression?

There’s a new study out that sheds some light on that question.

A group of scientists took their research all the way back to the beginning of life: They scanned the brains of newborn babies.

Two years later, they evaluated those children for signs of depression and anxiety (sadness, excessive shyness, nervousness, or separation anxiety — all symptoms that have been linked to depression and anxiety disorders in older children and adults).

They found a pattern in the scans. The children who showed signs of depression and anxiety at age two tended to have at birth similar connections between the amygdala (a structure involved in processing emotion) and other brain regions (such as the insula, which is associated with consciousness and emotion, and the medial prefrontal cortex, which is involved in decision making).

The researchers want to stretch the study out further to see if these connectivity patterns really do predict psychiatric disorders later in life, but so far the evidence is interesting. If you’re suffering from depression or anxiety now, it’s likely you were born with the brain connections that helped lead you there.

But no matter when or where you psychiatric distress came from, help is available! Therapy, lifestyle changes, and medication can counteract the tendencies you were born with or developed later in life. Let’s talk about it!

Satu Woodland is owner and clinician of Mental Health Solutions, an integrative mental health practice located at Bown Crossing in Boise, Idaho. She sees children, adolescents, and adults.

Workshop coming up in April!

1.5 CEUs available

For reservation information, cost, location, and time, see below.

+++++++++ And Next Month +++++++++

April 15, 2011

The Tender Loving Care and Feeding of the Brain:
Current evidence based research incorporating health habits, therapy techniques, psychopharmacology and spirituality in caring for our clients with mental health issues

Presented by: Satu Woodland, PMHNP

In this very practical presentation, I will discuss my practice as a psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner and what I have learned in my 25 years of research/practice in the areas of mental health. I will discuss medical conditions/deficiencies that can create mental health symptoms that are often missed, when to refer for psychopharmacology, why we must be concerned about our clients health habits, key elements of psychotherapy that must be present in any psychotherapeutic relationship, and why it is important to engage the patient’s own spiritual belief systems in providing care. Clinicians will be able to incorporate this information into their own practices and know when to refer out for help with their clients where there is a deficit in knowledge or practice parameters.

Learning objectives:

1) Recognize possible medical conditions that could be contributing to a client’s mental health issues.

2) Understand when referral for psychopharmacology is warranted.

3) Become familiar with current research in health habits that a client needs to be aware of for good mental health.

4) Introduce some current research regarding which therapies work for which types of problems.

5) Identify reasons of why and how to engage a client’s spiritual belief system in his care.

Satu H. Woodland PMHNP is a psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner in private practice in Bend. She has been working in the medical and mental health fields working with adults, teens and children since 1984. She has practiced mostly in the San Francisco Bay Area, California in various in-patient and out-patient settings with the last 5 years in private practice in Bend. Undergraduate work at Brigham Young University and California State University Dominguez Hills. Graduate school at University of California San Francisco. Married for 29 years to local mortgage broker David Woodland, mother of 5 highly productive children and 1 grandchild (with one on the way!), she has extensive practical experience working with children and families. For more information, please visit her website at http://www.bendmentalhealth.com

1.5 CEUs available pending approval

RESERVATIONS: to D’Arcy Swanson: darcys@bendbroadband.com or 419-3947 by Wednesday, two days before the Luncheon. Reservations made after Wednesday will be charged an additional $5. Specify vegetarian meal if desired. 24-hour notice of cancellation is required or you will be charged for your lunch. Visit our website for the latest news, questions and events at www.CliniciansNetwork.com.

These luncheons are held the third Friday of the month, September through June, at Touchmark from 12:00 Noon to 2:15 PM
Cost (includes lunch): $15.00 members; $20.00 non-members; CEU’s add $10 (if available);

Touchmark is at 19800 SW Touchmark Way in Bend. It is on the west side of the Bill Healy Memorial Bridge, just south of the roundabout at Reed Market Road and Mt. Bachelor Drive, and very near the Athletic Club of Bend. Click here for a detailed, interactive map: Touchmark Bend

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