For more happiness, shift your perspective!

 “Shifting our mood during stress and illness in this busy age is powerful.  Other research shows that saying your positive words aloud will change your mood. Being kind, helpful and engaging with others is proven to improve your mood for some while.” Bill Chesnut, MD

From Cleveland Clinic Wellness, January 31, 2016

Get lucky! For less stress and more happiness, shift your perspective.
Life can be like one of those face-vase optical illusions: Do you see two faces looking at each other or the vase in between? Change your perspective and everything looks different. Seeing your life with fresh eyes and appreciating what you have, rather than what you lack or want, is a good recipe for happiness. “A friend of mine lives in a beautiful spot with a view of two lakes,” says Roxanne Sukol, MD, medical director of Cleveland Clinic Wellness. “In the window of his small cabin there’s a sign that reads, ‘If you’re lucky enough to live on the water, you’re lucky enough.’ It always gets me thinking about all the signs I might make.” Step back and think about the things in your life that you are lucky to have. A dear friend, or several? A beloved cat or dog? Warm shelter and enough food? A lilac bush in your backyard? Write your own sign, such as: “If you’re lucky enough to be able to take long walks every weekend, you’re lucky enough.” Post it in a place that you see every day, and when you look at it, let yourself feel how lucky you are.


L-Theanine Tea to Reduce Stress.

“Yes, tea can release stress.  I enjoy the Celestial teas made in Denver.  They have an excellent herb tea for relaxation.” Bill Chesnut, MD

L-Theanine: A Tea-riffic Way to Reduce Stress,   Cleveland Clinic Wellness newsletter 1.29.16

L-theanine, a water-soluble amino acid, is found mainly in green and black tea. It has demonstrated benefit for patients diagnosed with anxiety by increasing levels of dopamine and GABA in the brain.

ADVISORY: L-theanine should be used only under a doctor’s supervision if you are taking drugs for chemotherapy. Do not take L-theanine with cholesterol lowering medications.

CONCLUSION: We conclude that L-theanine is a safe and effective way to help treat anxiety and improve concentration. We prefer drinking the tea leaves naturally to taking the supplement.


Get rid of bad breath in a flash!

“I am so glad to know these easy practical tips to prevent halitosis.” Bill Chesnut, MD

From the Cleveland Clinic Wellness Letter, January 2016.

Get rid of bad breath in a flash with one of these fresh foods.

Brushing and flossing daily are the best ways to keep your mouth and teeth healthy and your breath fresh. But some foods, like that cheesy garlic toast (oh-so-tasty when the holiday bash began!), can leave you with an unpleasant aftertaste — and dragon breath. If the sour taste in your mouth has you mumbling behind your hand, and there is no convenient place to brush your teeth, here are some ways to clean your breath and party on with confidence.

  • Bite into a wedge of lemon, or sip ice water with lemon. The acid in lemon juice neutralizes the enzyme in crushed garlic that causes bad breath.
  • Eat a piece of raw apple. Apple has antibacterial properties that help reduce foul smells in the mouth.
  • Sip some green tea. Green tea is rich in polyphenols, powerful antioxidants that can stop plaque from sticking to your teeth.
  • Ask the bartender for a mint leaf or two, and put them in a glass of ice water. There’s a reason mint is one of the most common elements in toothpaste and mouthwash, but the ice water is key too.


Brain scans to catch depression before it starts.

“This brief article is about the neuroimaging research at the McGovern Institute for Brain Research at M.I.T. Functional MRI shows the patterns of activity in the brain. It is revealing differences in brain patterns that are predictive. This link is the research at McGovern; the whole area is astonishing.” Bill Chesnut, MD

Brain scans to catch depression before it starts

By Ben Gruber, 2.4.16.

CAMBRIDGE, MASS. (Reuters) – Researchers at MIT’s McGovern Institute are using the latest advances in brain imaging to identify children at high risk of depression before the debilitating and sometimes deadly disorder sets in.

According to the World Health Organization an estimated 350 million people of all ages suffer from depression. It’s a serious mental disorder that affects every aspect of a person’s life and in severe cases could lead to suicide.

The study involved two groups of children, one at high risk of depression due to family history and a control group with kids at low risk.

Kids from both groups were scanned to map the network pathways in their brains. The question was if the researchers could find differences in brain activity that would be an indicator for a higher risk of depression.

“They answer is there are very great differences. We saw differences that were striking in a number of circuits including those that change in depression, including those involved in feelings, other parts that are involved in thinking. The additional thing besides seeing these differences were that the differences were so strong child by child that that we were very close to perfect with being able to categorize from a brain scan itself whether a child was at risk or not,” said John Gabrieli, a professor of Brain and Cognitive Sciences at MIT.

The goal going forward is to follow these children and see who among the high risk group goes on to develop depression, tracking changes in their brain function along the way .

“Obviously the children that go on to depression the more we can identify them well the more we are hopeful that we can get preventive treatments going. Not waiting for them to be suffering but helping them beforehand,” said Gabrieli

“So we want to learn both to identify early children who are at true risk, help them before they struggle and learn from those that are resilient what is different about them because that might be a hint about how to help the children that are not resilient,” he added.

The researchers say a better understanding of how depression affects the brain will ultimately lead to better treatment options for those that are most at risk.

Here is the McGovern Institute for Brain Research at MIT:

This is some of the brain research they do:

Association of Seafood Consumption, Brain Mercury Level, and APOE ε4 Status With Brain Neuropathology in Older Adults

“About the safety of eating seafood: Seafood consumption has been a concern because of the increased levels of mercury in fish. This study shows that moderate intake of seafood may produce a decreased chance of developing Alzheimer’s disease.” 

The best way to absorb the several findings of this critical study is this YouTube video by one of the authors at Rush Medical Center in Chicago and published in the Journal of the American Medical Association Network. First rate research.  .” Bill Chesnut, MD


Martha Clare Morris, ScD1; John Brockman, PhD2; Julie A. Schneider, MD, MPH3,4,5; Yamin Wang, PhD1; David A. Bennett, MD3,4; Christy C. Tangney, PhD6; Ondine van de Rest, PhD7

JAMA. 2016;315(5):489-497. doi:10.1001/jama.2015.19451.

Importance  Seafood consumption is promoted for its many health benefits even though its contamination by mercury, a known neurotoxin, is a growing concern.

Objective  To determine whether seafood consumption is correlated with increased brain mercury levels and also whether seafood consumption or brain mercury levels are correlated with brain neuropathologies.

Design, Setting, and Participants  Cross-sectional analyses of deceased participants in the Memory and Aging Project clinical neuropathological cohort study, 2004-2013. Participants resided in Chicago retirement communities and subsidized housing. The study included 286 autopsied brains of 554 deceased participants (51.6%). The mean (SD) age at death was 89.9 (6.1) years, 67% (193) were women, and the mean (SD) educational attainment was 14.6 (2.7) years.

Exposures  Seafood intake was first measured by a food frequency questionnaire at a mean of 4.5 years before death.

Main Outcomes and Measures  Dementia-related pathologies assessed were Alzheimer disease, Lewy bodies, and the number of macroinfarcts and microinfarcts. Dietary consumption of seafood and n-3 fatty acids was annually assessed by a food frequency questionnaire in the years before death. Tissue concentrations of mercury and selenium were measured using instrumental neutron activation analyses.

Results  Among the 286 autopsied brains of 544 participants, brain mercury levels were positively correlated with the number of seafood meals consumed per week (ρ = 0.16; P = .02). In models adjusted for age, sex, education, and total energy intake, seafood consumption (≥ 1 meal[s]/week) was significantly correlated with less Alzheimer disease pathology including lower density of neuritic plaques (β = −0.69 score units [95% CI, −1.34 to −0.04]), less severe and widespread neurofibrillary tangles (β = −0.77 score units [95% CI, −1.52 to −0.02]), and lower neuropathologically defined Alzheimer disease (β = −0.53 score units [95% CI, −0.96 to −0.10]) but only among apolipoprotein E (APOE ε4) carriers. Higher intake levels of α-linolenic acid (18:3 n-3) were correlated with lower odds of cerebral macroinfarctions (odds ratio for tertiles 3 vs 1, 0.51 [95% CI, 0.27 to 0.94]). Fish oil supplementation had no statistically significant correlation with any neuropathologic marker. Higher brain concentrations of mercury were not significantly correlated with increased levels of brain neuropathology.

Conclusions and Relevance  In cross-sectional analyses, moderate seafood consumption was correlated with lesser Alzheimer disease neuropathology. Although seafood consumption was also correlated with higher brain levels of mercury, these levels were not correlated with brain neuropathology.