Quality of Life
Thanks for sharing the WSJ piece about quality of life during a chronic illness.
I am a Family Physician with a long-standing interest in neuroscience, especially the interface between certain dietary elements and brain function. Over the years I have noticed that when my patients brains seem to be impaired for any reason, focusing on quality of life seemed to be less effective. This led me on a long quest to try to figure out why so many people today seem to suffer from some degree of brain dysfunction.
Hudson and Pope from Harvard first noticed the association between many brain dysfunction disorders when they published their Affective Spectrum Disorder concept in the 1990s. They showed that a diverse group of conditions including major depression, ADHD, social phobia, migraine headaches, fibromyalgia, obsessive-compulsive disorder, PTSD and eating disorders seem to be somehow connected. Because they never determined the pathology and triggers of Affective Spectrum Disorder their concept never made it out of academic medicine. I believe that’s about to change.
Recent research has clearly shown that excessive fructose primarily from sucrose and HFCS is the driving force behind central obesity and insulin resistance. When someone with insulin resistance consumes high glycemic carbohydrates, their brain is subjected to magnified glucose spikes. Over time these toxic magnified glucose spikes seem to trigger a chronic brain disorder characterized by symptoms reflecting low levels of monoamine neurotransmitters such as dopamine, norepinephrine and serotonin. At this stage they are often diagnosed with one or more of the conditions mentioned by Hudson and Pope.
Because the brain plays a key role in auto-regulating fat stores, people with this disorder lose this ability and start to store fat at virtually any caloric intake even as they lose lean body mass (weight) from under-eating.
We now call this disease Carbohydrate Associated Reversible Brain syndrome or CARB syndrome. We believe that CARB syndrome is now the most common chronic disease in modern societies. We have also developed effective treatment protocols based on this model. When patients with CARB syndrome are effectively treated, their ability to function and level of wellbeing rapidly improves. In other words it takes a healthy brain to truly have a quality of life. Thus we have learned to focus on improving brain function as a central part of our effort to improve the quality of our patient’s lives.
Although this concept is relatively new, I have discussed it with many top academic researchers including Richard Johnson, M.D. (fructose researcher), Robert Lustig, M.D. (regulate sugar), Loren Cordain (The Paleo Diet) and others.