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Understanding the human brain is essential to become a well-informed, modern citizen. As always, nonsense proliferates around popular topics. The author of the human Brain is a physician-writer who is good at making complex subjects more understandable. Dr. Gislason is also an expert navigator who can steer you away from nonsense, and help you understand practical details about brain function and disease. This is a big book with big ideas, so be prepared to read, re-read and then keep the book as reference. Read topics from the book by clicking links to the left.
Here is Dr. Gislason's Preface to the Human Brain
"My goal in writing this book is to provide a guide to intervention in disorders of brain function. The brain is the organ of the mind. Therefore, molecular influences that alter the function of brain are manifest as mental influences. Brains are delicate devices that need special care to work well. When brains do not function well, disorders of sensing, deciding, acting and remembering occur. Food is the major source of molecular influences on the brain and, therefore, on mind states. Finding and consuming food is the main business of all animal brains and remains the priority in the organization of human behavior.
An integrated view of body/mind does not draw artificial boundaries among different events. Psyche does not affect Soma or vice versa. Psyche and Soma are one interacting whole system. Behavioral adaptation to environment is intermeshed with molecular adaptation. This means that mind and body interact with environment as a single integrated unit. Molecular events determine mind/body events just as mental or behavioral events determine molecular events. There is little argument that diseased arteries that carry blood to the brain lead toward the most prevalent and often the most devastating loss of brain function. High blood pressure and plugged arteries work together to produce strokes. Other brain diseases are not so obvious.
The role of the environment and dietary problems in creating emotionally and mentally disturbed people has been underestimated or ignored. Bad environments and problems in the food supply can disturb brain function in entire populations. Bad chemicals are more powerful than good intentions and good ideas unless the good idea is to remove the bad chemicals from the environment. When a fish in an aquarium displays psychotic behavior, you do not call a fish psychiatrist; you check the oxygen concentration, temperature, and pH of the water. You have to clean the tank and change the fish diet.
I regret the increasing use of psychotropic drugs. The aggressive marketing of drugs that affect the brain has become a major determinant of what people believe and how people behave. I was once an advocate of drug therapy, but now I believe that we are on the wrong track and advise against taking drugs that affect the mind.
My work in philosophy takes the broadest view of the human experience and also focuses on the details of how our mind works. As a physician, I advocate practical solutions to brain dysfunction that are often ignored in medical practice. These are solutions that emphasize removing the causes of disease by improving the environment and the food supply.
In a world where no one understands what causes the major brain diseases, all clues should be considered. There are numerous possible chemical toxicities from polluted air, water and food. I continue to advocate improving environments and diet revision as the most desirable and least practiced methods of preventing and resolving common brain diseases. Negative food effects on brain function are often ignored in neurology and psychiatry. Major diseases originate from eating too much of the wrong food and damage many organs simultaneously. I suggest that a prudent person suffering early brain-dysfunction symptoms would be wise to pursue vigorous, thorough diet revision at the earliest opportunity.
Alcohol, drugs bought on the street and in pharmacies that target the brain are used excessively and inappropriately adding to increasing numbers of disturbed and dysfunctional people. Because some brain dysfunction compromises judgment, learning and motivation, family members, friends and professional advisors often have to initiate diet revision and provide the right direction and support
Diet revision that removes problems and leads to correct nutrition is the most important and perhaps the least practical intervention because humans have difficulty changing their habitual patterns. If beneficial change were a matter of rational choice, then most human problems and most diseases would disappear."
Stephen Gislason MD
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