IRP September Talk - Jonathan Altfeld

Key Take-Aways from Jonathan Altfeld's talk @ IRP, September 30, 2014

Thank you for attending my presentation.  I hope you thoroughly enjoyed our time together and the content and style of the talk.  Here are the key take-aways from the talk.


Jonathan's explorations for personal cognitive improvement:

Physical pursuits:  Juggling, contact juggling, T'ai Chi, Aikido, Ninjitsu, Brain-Gym® (or educational kinesiology / Edu-K®), Nutritional solutions

Mental practices:  Meditation, affirmations, self-hypnosis, accelerated learning methods, dual-binaural beat light/sound devices, embracing mild confusion, spending time outside my comfort zone intentionally, & more.

Neurology: Here are some Brain Myths that are Utterly False !!!

Aging Means Automatic Decline
FALSE!  Instead:  
Bad Habits lead to Most Decline.
Medication is the only hope for cognitive enhancement
FALSE!  Instead:  
Smarter Habits lead to Improvement!
There are no new Neurons in the brain after age 'N'
FALSE!  Instead:  
You CAN build a better brain, anytime!


Your brain's ability to organize and reorganize itself according to your experiences, at any age!
Neuroscientists believed for many decades that the structure of the human brain didn't change after early childhood.  New findings show that much of our brain remains plastic for many years.
Neurogenesis CAN occur late in life in the Hippocampus, the olfactory bulb, and the Cerebellum (possibly elsewhere).
Even in higher brain tissue that can't grow new neurons, these circuits can self-reorganize, which is now explaining many cases of post-stroke reacquisition of movement and other functions.
Some people think habit change is hard.  All it takes to start breaking old, bad or complacent habits, are these two factors (maintaining and building habits involves more, but this is all it takes to start!):
  1. a new empowering belief
  2. a simple decision to do it.

Nutrition & Supplementation

Nutrition for the brain starts with AMPLE high-quality fats.   The brain thrives on fatty acids, primarily Omega 3's (DHA & EPA), and a certain Omega 6 (LA).
Many vitamins are fat soluble and can't be absorbed without fat, AND, these fat seem to play critical roles in our mood.
No-No's:  margarine or other partially hydrogenated vegetable oils
Good Fats for the brain:  Fish Oil, Nuts, Avocado's, Coconut Oil, even some butter
B Vitamins!  B vitamins play an extremely strong role in brain biochemistry, particularly B12, B6, and Folate.   Vegetarians must remember that they cannot get enough B12 from diet alone.  Take B supplements!
Flavonoids prevent neural decline and maximize NeuroPlasticity!  Blueberries, spinach, apples, citrus fruits, black and green tea, and cocoa (beer & wine too).  Raw is best.  These benefits are also true of other extracts found in spinach, strawberries, blackberries.
TURMERIC / TUMERIC / CURCUMIN is a powerful polyphenol, and  extraordinary anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-amyloidal agent. Curcumin can improve cognitive function (not only for Alzheimers patients, but for anyone)!
The Brain needs a LOT of carbohydrate-sourced energy.  Select carbs carefully!  Prefer low-glycemic, complex carbs over simple carbs and sugars.  Whole grains (oats, wheat, brown rice) help keep glucose levels steady throughout the day.

Best 10 Supplements for your Brain (in this order).

 DHA (Omega 3)
 Vitamin D
 Vitamin B12
 Alpha GPC
 Bacopa Monnieri
 Huperzine A
 Acetyl-l-Carnitine (ALC)
 Gingko Biloba
The fish oil that Jonathan takes:  ORTHOMEGA 820, 120 softgels, by Ortho Molecular
Any quality fish oil that has been molecularly distilled should be good enough.
Remember:  "Enteric Coating" is a marketing Band-Aid - to mask/hide when cheap fish oil goes bad.  Fishy burps is a BAD sign!

Physical Activities for Cognitive Enhancement

Cross-Crawling / Educational Kinesiology / Edu-K® / Brain-Gym®
Brain-Gym® is a specific set of 26 cross-crawling and related exercises, most of which aim to maximize cross-hemispheric communication across the corpus callosum, and other specific neurological purposes:  improve energy, prepare for optimal learning sessions, and more.
The Alphabet Game
A     B     C     D     E     F     G     H     I     J
L     R     L     T     R     T     L     L     T     R
K     L     M     N     O     P     Q     R     S     T
T     R     L     T     T     R     L     L     T     R
Juggling and Contact Juggling both lead to improved connectivity in existing brain tissue, as well as the development of NEW brain tissue.  
Games, like Tetris Increase Connectivity in Existing Brain Tissue, and increase new Brain Tissue / Structures
Combine physical activities with cognitive activities.  When walking or exercising, talk with a partner, listen to audio-books, talk radio, or self-improvement recordings.
Start Small, and Schedule Your Cognitive Enhancement Tasks.  Most “New Years Resolutions” fail.  This needs to succeed.  So start small.  ALL of you can afford 5-10 minutes a day until you've built some pleasurable habits that improve your brains.
Use paper or google calendars, smartphones, alarms, and whatever else works, to pre-schedule practice sessions.

Sites for Overall Cognitive Maintenance


Further follow-up or connecting with me?

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