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November 6, 2019

The Brain Drives the Body

By Joanne Fruth, MD  

“The Brain drives the Body”. Such an eloquent, simple statement spoken to me by my brother Bill 25 years ago as he summarized the decline of my mother’s health as she battled dementia.

Bill summed up what I learned in my Medical School neurology and psychiatry classes in 5 words. And I’ve recalled and repeated that statement many times to my patients over the years to help them understand how the health of the brain is so important to the health of the body.

There is much about brain health we don’t understand.  I tell my patients that we are no longer in the “Dark Ages” of understanding the complexities of brain chemistries.  We’re in the “Middle Ages”. It’s only a matter of time before humans understand how nerves, chemicals, and hormones all work together to create our thoughts, behaviors, actions and bodily functions.

As we enter the season of shorter days and longer nights, we also enter the season of gratitude. How can the thought of giving thanks help our health?

It’s simple on one level, and complicated on another, but there are several scientific studies which show that being THANKFUL actually has health benefits.   By practicing positive thoughts, there are a cascade of neuroendocrine (nerves and hormones) reactions throughout the body which potentially improve depression, anxiety, sleep, personal relationships and general wellbeing. Gratitude may also lead to improvement in blood pressure, pain, cholesterol and longevity.

So Gratitude is free, it’s not fattening and it’s worth a try.

Thanks Bill.

Dr. Fruth is a family physician with a mission to promote the benefits of primary care and especially Family Medicine (#FMrevolution).  As Medical Director at Avance Care, Dr. Fruth uses her years of experience and passion for teaching to inspire other clinicians to make each primary care visit one which builds the foundation good health

Dr. Fruth loves hiking, trips to Broadway and seeking adventure (or a quiet evening) with her emergency physician husband. She has three adult children on their own missions to make the world a better place.

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