Tag Archives: Spinal cord

Straight, No Chaser: Brain Health – How Your Brain Works

brain health fitness

Everyone at Straight, No Chaser and www.sterlingmedicaladvice.com is into brainpower. This is the first of a series of posts on brain health and brainpower. The purpose of these posts is to give you enough information to optimize, maximize and extend your brain health. Hopefully you’ve learned all this before (no pun intended), and we’re just reorganizing it for you.
The brain really is a fascinating organ; indeed it’s the body’s most powerful (with apologies to the heart; don’t be broken by the news). Despite jokes to the contrary, it only weighs about three pounds in the average person (I’d imagine many of you are inserting your own jokes about your favorite friends here…).

Brain Health

The brain has three major components:

  • The cerebrum is the area taking up most of the area in your skull. It controls thinking, problem solving, remembering, feeling and movement.
  • The cerebellum controls coordination and balance from its position in the back of the head, below the cerebrum.
  • The brain stem is also beneath the cerebrum but is in front of the cerebellum. The brain stem connects the brain to the spinal cord. It controls breathing, blood pressure, digestion and heart – functions you normally don’t have to “think” about (automatic functions).

You may be surprised to know about a quarter of your total blood supply nourishes your brain with each heartbeat. Your network of brain cells consists of billions of cells, and they extract approximately 20% of the oxygen and nutrients being carried by the blood. This amount can increase up to 50% depending on the brain’s level of activity. This is an immediate illustration of why brain health is so vital.

 CerebralCortex

Have you ever wondered why the brain has that wrinkled outer appearance? That area is called the cortex. The cortex roughly resembles a map corresponding to various functions. This area interprets sensations from within your body, and sights, sounds and smells from the outside world. It also helps you form and store memories, generate thoughts, make plans and solve problems. The cortex also controls voluntary movements.

left-right-brain-content 

Another common question about the brain relates to the differences between the left and right sides and what that has to do with people who are left-handed or right-handed. Here’s what is clear about the different halves of the brain.

  • The left half controls movement of the right side of the body, and the right half controls the left side of the body. Thus if you’re right-handed, you’re likely left-brain dominant.
  • In most people, the language area is mainly on the left.

 brain health neurons

All things considered, the adult brain has approximately 100 billion nerve cells, called neurons. Neurons are where the real work of your brain occurs. Via various branches, there are more than 100 trillion connections. This amazing and powerful network is called the neuron forest. This network of neurons is how we know to generate thoughts, feelings and memories. The individual “way stations” where chemicals (neurotransmitters) sent by neurons via electrical charges connect are called synapses. There are dozens of different types of neurotransmitters facilitating different levels of communication within the brain.

 brain health unhealthy brain

Functionally, this level of specificity is important to know at a general level because it sets the table for these additional considerations to be discussed in additional posts:

  • Good brain health keeps your brain working optimally.
  • Certain diseases (e.g. Alzheimer’s) destroy neurons and otherwise disrupt both the way electrical charges travel within cells and the activity of neurotransmitters.

This is a simplistic representation of how your brain organizes all the thoughts, activities, memories, skills and knowledge of self we have. Make the commitment to protect your brain. After all, it’s who you are.
Feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic.
Take the #72HoursChallenge, and join the community. As a thank you for being a valued subscriber to Straight, No Chaser, we’d like to offer you a complimentary 30-day membership at www.72hourslife.com. Just use the code #NoChaser, and yes, it’s ok if you share!
Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new books There are 72 Hours in a Day: Using Efficiency to Better Enjoy Every Part of Your Life and The 72 Hours in a Day Workbook: The Journey to The 72 Hours Life in 72 Days at Amazon or at www.72hourslife.com. Receive introductory pricing with orders!
Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.
Copyright © 2018 · Sterling Initiatives, LLC · Powered by WordPress

Straight, No Chaser: Brain Health – How Your Brain Works

brain health fitness

Everyone at Straight, No Chaser and www.sterlingmedicaladvice.com is into brainpower. This is the first of a series of posts on brain health and brainpower. The purpose of these posts is to give you enough information to optimize, maximize and extend your brain health. Hopefully you’ve learned all this before (no pun intended), and we’re just reorganizing it for you.
The brain really is a fascinating organ; indeed it’s the body’s most powerful (with apologies to the heart; don’t be broken by the news). Despite jokes to the contrary, it only weighs about three pounds in the average person (I’d imagine many of you are inserting your own jokes about your favorite friends here…).

Brain Health

The brain has three major components:

  • The cerebrum is the area taking up most of the area in your skull. It controls thinking, problem solving, remembering, feeling and movement.
  • The cerebellum controls coordination and balance from its position in the back of the head, below the cerebrum.
  • The brain stem is also beneath the cerebrum but is in front of the cerebellum. The brain stem connects the brain to the spinal cord. It controls breathing, blood pressure, digestion and heart – functions you normally don’t have to “think” about (automatic functions).

You may be surprised to know about a quarter of your total blood supply nourishes your brain with each heartbeat. Your network of brain cells consists of billions of cells, and they extract approximately 20% of the oxygen and nutrients being carried by the blood. This amount can increase up to 50% depending on the brain’s level of activity. This is an immediate illustration of why brain health is so vital.

 CerebralCortex

Have you ever wondered why the brain has that wrinkled outer appearance? That area is called the cortex. The cortex roughly resembles a map corresponding to various functions. This area interprets sensations from within your body, and sights, sounds and smells from the outside world. It also helps you form and store memories, generate thoughts, make plans and solve problems. The cortex also controls voluntary movements.

left-right-brain-content 

Another common question about the brain relates to the differences between the left and right sides and what that has to do with people who are left-handed or right-handed. Here’s what is clear about the different halves of the brain.

  • The left half controls movement of the right side of the body, and the right half controls the left side of the body. Thus if you’re right-handed, you’re likely left-brain dominant.
  • In most people, the language area is mainly on the left.

 brain health neurons

All things considered, the adult brain has approximately 100 billion nerve cells, called neurons. Neurons are where the real work of your brain occurs. Via various branches, there are more than 100 trillion connections. This amazing and powerful network is called the neuron forest. This network of neurons is how we know to generate thoughts, feelings and memories. The individual “way stations” where chemicals (neurotransmitters) sent by neurons via electrical charges connect are called synapses. There are dozens of different types of neurotransmitters facilitating different levels of communication within the brain.

 brain health unhealthy brain

Functionally, this level of specificity is important to know at a general level because it sets the table for these additional considerations to be discussed in additional posts:

  • Good brain health keeps your brain working optimally.
  • Certain diseases (e.g. Alzheimer’s) destroy neurons and otherwise disrupt both the way electrical charges travel within cells and the activity of neurotransmitters.

This is a simplistic representation of how your brain organizes all the thoughts, activities, memories, skills and knowledge of self we have. Make the commitment to protect your brain. After all, it’s who you are.
Feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic.
Take the #72HoursChallenge, and join the community. As a thank you for being a valued subscriber to Straight, No Chaser, we’d like to offer you a complimentary 30-day membership at www.72hourslife.com. Just use the code #NoChaser, and yes, it’s ok if you share!
Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new books There are 72 Hours in a Day: Using Efficiency to Better Enjoy Every Part of Your Life and The 72 Hours in a Day Workbook: The Journey to The 72 Hours Life in 72 Days at Amazon or at www.72hourslife.com. Receive introductory pricing with orders!
Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.
Copyright © 2017 · Sterling Initiatives, LLC · Powered by WordPress

Straight, No Chaser: Brain Health – How Your Brain Works

brain health fitness

Everyone at Straight, No Chaser and www.sterlingmedicaladvice.com is into brainpower. This is the first of a series of posts on brain health and brainpower. The purpose of these posts is to give you enough information to optimize, maximize and extend your brain health. Hopefully you’ve learned all this before (no pun intended), and we’re just reorganizing it for you.
The brain really is a fascinating organ; indeed it’s the body’s most powerful (with apologies to the heart; don’t be broken by the news). Despite jokes to the contrary, it only weighs about three pounds in the average person (I’d imagine many of you are inserting your own jokes about your favorite friends here…).

Brain Health

The brain has three major components:

  • The cerebrum is the area taking up most of the area in your skull. It controls thinking, problem solving, remembering, feeling and movement.
  • The cerebellum controls coordination and balance from its position in the back of the head, below the cerebrum.
  • The brain stem is also beneath the cerebrum but is in front of the cerebellum. The brain stem connects the brain to the spinal cord. It controls breathing, blood pressure, digestion and heart – functions you normally don’t have to “think” about (automatic functions).

You may be surprised to know about a quarter of your total blood supply nourishes your brain with each heartbeat. Your network of brain cells consists of billions of cells, and they extract approximately 20% of the oxygen and nutrients being carried by the blood. This amount can increase up to 50% depending on the brain’s level of activity. This is an immediate illustration of why brain health is so vital.

 CerebralCortex

Have you ever wondered why the brain has that wrinkled outer appearance? That area is called the cortex. The cortex roughly resembles a map corresponding to various functions. This area interprets sensations from within your body, and sights, sounds and smells from the outside world. It also helps you form and store memories, generate thoughts, make plans and solve problems. The cortex also controls voluntary movements.

left-right-brain-content 

Another common question about the brain relates to the differences between the left and right sides and what that has to do with people who are left handed or right handed. Here’s what is clear about the different halves of the brain.

  • The left half controls movement of the right side of the body, and the right half controls the left side of the body. Thus if you’re right-handed, you’re likely left-brain dominant.
  • In most people, the language area is mainly on the left.

 brain health neurons

All things considered, the adult brain has approximately 100 billion nerve cells, called neurons. Neurons are where the real work of your brain occurs. Via various branches, there are more than 100 trillion connections. This amazing and powerful network is called the neuron forest. This network of neurons is how we know to generate thoughts, feelings and memories. The individual “way stations” where chemicals (neurotransmitters) sent by neurons via electrical charges connect are called synapses. There are dozens of different types of neurotransmitters facilitating different levels of communication within the brain.

 brain health unhealthy brain

Functionally, this level of specificity is important to know at a general level because it sets the table for these additional considerations to be discussed in additional posts:

  • Good brain health keeps your brain working optimally.
  • Certain diseases (e.g. Alzheimer’s) destroy neurons and otherwise disrupt both the way electrical charges travel within cells and the activity of neurotransmitters.

This is a simplistic representation of how your brain organizes all the thoughts, activities, memories, skills and knowledge of self we have. Make the commitment to protect your brain. After all, it’s who you are.
Feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic.
Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new book Behind The Curtain: A Peek at Life from within the ER at jeffreysterlingbooks.com, iTunes, Amazon, Barnes and Nobles and wherever books are sold.
Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.
Copyright © 2016 · Sterling Initiatives, LLC · Powered by WordPress

Straight, No Chaser: Brain Health – How Your Brain Works

brain health fitness

Everyone at Straight, No Chaser and www.sterlingmedicaladvice.com is into brainpower. This is the first of a series of posts on brain health and brainpower. The purpose of these posts is to give you enough information to optimize, maximize and extend your brain health. Hopefully you’ve learned all this before (no pun intended), and we’re just reorganizing it for you.
The brain really is a fascinating organ; indeed it’s the body’s most powerful (with apologies to the heart; don’t be broken by the news). Despite jokes to the contrary, it only weighs about three pounds in the average person (I’d imagine many of you are inserting your own jokes about your favorite friends here…).

Brain Health

The brain has three major components:

  • The cerebrum is the area taking up most of the area in your skull. It controls thinking, problem solving, remembering, feeling and movement.
  • The cerebellum controls coordination and balance from its position in the back of the head, below the cerebrum.
  • The brain stem is also beneath the cerebrum but is in front of the cerebellum. The brain stem connects the brain to the spinal cord. It controls breathing, blood pressure, digestion and heart – functions you normally don’t have to “think” about (automatic functions).

You may be surprised to know about a quarter of your total blood supply nourishes your brain with each heartbeat. Your network of brain cells consists of billions of cells, and they extract approximately 20% of the oxygen and nutrients being carried by the blood. This amount can increase up to 50% depending on the brain’s level of activity. This is an immediate illustration of why brain health is so vital.

 CerebralCortex

Have you ever wondered why the brain has that wrinkled outer appearance? That area is called the cortex. The cortex roughly resembles a map corresponding to various functions. This area interprets sensations from within your body, and sights, sounds and smells from the outside world. It also helps you form and store memories, generate thoughts, make plans and solve problems. The cortex also controls voluntary movements.

left-right-brain-content 

Another common question about the brain relates to the differences between the left and right sides and what that has to do with people who are left handed or right handed. Here’s what is clear about the different halves of the brain.

  • The left half controls movement of the right side of the body, and the right half controls the left side of the body. Thus if you’re right-handed, you’re likely left-brain dominant.
  • In most people, the language area is mainly on the left.

 brain health neurons

All things considered, the adult brain has approximately 100 billion nerve cells, called neurons. Neurons are where the real work of your brain occurs. Via various branches, there are more than 100 trillion connections. This amazing and powerful network is called the neuron forest. This network of neurons is how we know to generate thoughts, feelings and memories. The individual “way stations” where chemicals (neurotransmitters) sent by neurons via electrical charges connect are called synapses. There are dozens of different types of neurotransmitters facilitating different levels of communication within the brain.

 brain health unhealthy brain

Functionally, this level of specificity is important to know at a general level because it sets the table for these additional considerations to be discussed in additional posts:

  • Good brain health keeps your brain working optimally.
  • Certain diseases (e.g. Alzheimer’s) destroy neurons and otherwise disrupt both the way electrical charges travel within cells and the activity of neurotransmitters.

This is a simplistic representation of how your brain organizes all the thoughts, activities, memories, skills and knowledge of self we have. Make the commitment to protect your brain. After all, it’s who you are.
Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new book Behind The Curtain: A Peek at Life from within the ER at jeffreysterlingbooks.com, iTunes, AmazonBarnes and Nobles and wherever books are sold.
Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook @ SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.
Copyright, Sterling Initiatives, LLC. 2013-2015

Straight, No Chaser: Brain Health – How Your Brain Works

brain health fitness

Everyone at Straight, No Chaser and www.sterlingmedicaladvice.com is into brainpower. This is the first of a series of posts on brain health and brainpower. The purpose of these posts is to give you enough information to optimize, maximize and extend your brain health. Hopefully you’ve learned all this before (no pun intended), and we’re just reorganizing it for you.
The brain really is a fascinating organ; indeed it’s the body’s most powerful (with apologies to the heart; don’t be broken by the news). Despite jokes to the contrary, it only weighs about three pounds in the average person (I’d imagine many of you are inserting your own jokes about your favorite friends here…).

Brain Health

The brain has three major components:

  • The cerebrum is the area taking up most of the area in your skull. It controls thinking, problem solving, remembering, feeling and movement.
  • The cerebellum controls coordination and balance from its position in the back of the head, below the cerebrum.
  • The brain stem is also beneath the cerebrum but is in front of the cerebellum. The brain stem connects the brain to the spinal cord. It controls breathing, blood pressure, digestion and heart – functions you normally don’t have to “think” about (automatic functions).

You may be surprised to know about a quarter of your total blood supply nourishes your brain with each heartbeat. Your network of brain cells consists of billions of cells, and they extract approximately 20% of the oxygen and nutrients being carried by the blood. This amount can increase up to 50% depending on the brain’s level of activity. This is an immediate illustration of why brain health is so vital.

 CerebralCortex

Have you ever wondered why the brain has that wrinkled outer appearance? That area is called the cortex. The cortex roughly resembles a map corresponding to various functions. This area interprets sensations from within your body, and sights, sounds and smells from the outside world. It also helps you form and store memories, generate thoughts, make plans and solve problems. The cortex also controls voluntary movements.

left-right-brain-content 

Another common question about the brain relates to the differences between the left and right sides and what that has to do with people who are left handed or right handed. Here’s what is clear about the different halves of the brain.

  • The left half controls movement of the right side of the body, and the right half controls the left side of the body. Thus if you’re right-handed, you’re likely left-brain dominant.
  • In most people, the language area is mainly on the left.

 brain health neurons

All things considered, the adult brain has approximately 100 billion nerve cells, called neurons. Neurons are where the real work of your brain occurs. Via various branches, there are more than 100 trillion connections. This amazing and powerful network is called the neuron forest. This network of neurons is how we know to generate thoughts, feelings and memories. The individual “way stations” where chemicals (neurotransmitters) sent by neurons via electrical charges connect are called synapses. There are dozens of different types of neurotransmitters facilitating different levels of communication within the brain.

 brain health unhealthy brain

Functionally, this level of specificity is important to know at a general level because it sets the table for these additional considerations to be discussed in additional posts:

  • Good brain health keeps your brain working optimally.
  • Certain diseases (e.g. Alzheimer’s) destroy neurons and otherwise disrupt both the way electrical charges travel within cells and the activity of neurotransmitters.

This is a simplistic representation of how your brain organizes all the thoughts, activities, memories, skills and knowledge of self we have. Make the commitment to protect your brain. After all, it’s who you are.
Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what 844-SMA-TALK and http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, Facebook @ SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and Twitter at @asksterlingmd.
Copyright © 2014 · Sterling Initiatives, LLC · Powered by WordPress.

Straight, No Chaser: When That Back Pain is the Least of Your Problems

Emergency
Back pain hurts, but there are various causes of that pain that will kill or cripple you.  Here’s some information on some diseases that present with back pain representing life-threats.  Be advised that as an Emergency Physician, my initial orientation is more toward ruling out the life-threatening consideration than making a definitive diagnosis, which comes afterwards.  Forewarned is forearmed.
Let’s start where we left off on the last post and identify what I was talking about….
Here are a few clues to help you hone in on whether your back pain requires emergency attention.  Remember pain and pathology (serious disease) are two different considerations.  I’m describing medical emergencies here and admittedly being overly simplistic.

  • Direct blow to your back:  Think Fracture
    • The trauma literature suggests that most motor vehicle collisions don’t have enough direct force to break your back.  It’s suggested that the force of a baseball bat is needed to break something in your back if you were previously healthy.  That said, the consequences of fracture are such that direct back trauma from a fall or other direct blow are such that you should at least be evaluated.
  • Fever and new onset back pain: Think Spinal Epidural Abscess
    • A spinal epidural abscess is a ‘pus pocket’ (i.e. infection) that collects between the spinal cord’s outer covering and the bones.  It can result from a recent back surgery, a back boil, a bony spinal infection (vertebral osteomyelitis), from IV drug abuse, or as part of an infection otherwise delivered from the blood.  Antibiotics for about a month and/or surgery may be required.
  • Loss of control of your bowel movements or bladder: Think Cauda Equina Syndrome (CES)
    • There are many neurologic causes of low back pain, but the ones associated with ‘hard’ neurologic findings represent true medical emergencies.  CES is caused by something compressing on the spinal nerve roots, like a ruptured lumbar disk, a tumor, infection, bleeding or fracture or various birth defects.  This could lead to loss of bowel and bladder control and possibly permanent paralysis of your legs.  Again, there are several other causes of these symptoms, but for the purposes of this blog, get evaluated quickly, and let us figure out whether this or something else is going on.
  • New onset back pain after age 65: Think Cancer
    • There are several considerations in play when it comes to back pain in the elderly, including fractures and arthritis, but the life-threatening consideration I’m focusing on is cancer.  The spine is a common place for cancer cells to metastasize; in fact approximately 70% of patients with metastatic cancer will have spinal involvement.  Given that only about 10% of these patients tend to be initially symptomatic, it’s imperative that you get evaluated if symptoms present.  It could represent a significant advancement of disease.
  • Numbness and tingling in both of your legs: see Cauda Equina Syndrome above
  • Night-time back pain: Think Metastatic Cancer.
    • Bone pain at night in a patient previously diagnosed with cancer is the most ominous symptom in patient with metastatic cancer.
  • Sudden sexual dysfunction: See Cauda Equina Syndrome above
  • Weakness and/or loss of motion or sensation in your legs: See Cauda Equina Syndrome above
  • Unexplained new weight loss and new onset back pain: Think Cancer
    • There are a few considerations here, but I’m focusing on the life threatening consideration and working backwards from there.
  • Work-related back injuries
    • This isn’t as much a life-threatening consideration as it is a limb and career-threatening one.  Given the degree of disability that is work-related and the need to continue working at the same level of productivity required to keep your job, it’s a pretty good idea to have incremental changes in symptoms and function assessed.  Ignoring symptoms when they occur can lead to failure to qualify for worker’s compensation, not to mention it places you at risk for worsening injuries and ongoing disability.

Other diseases present with back pain, including kidney stones and infection, pancreatitis and certain ruptured abdominal organs.  I’d like to make special mention of the latter, which may include abdominal aortic aneurysms and ectopic pregnancies, both of which I’ll address in the future.  The take home consideration here is to use these cues to know when to get rapidly evaluated.  Even though people use the Emergency Room for seemingly everything these days, knowing when time is of the essence for true emergencies is a life-saver.