Many struggles that children or adults face in school or work are the result of an underdeveloped cerebellum. The good news is that you can increase blood flow to the cerebellum through a process called vestibular stimulation. In the third and final episode of Cerebellum Week, Dr. Daniel Amen and Wynford Dore discuss which of these activities will help the most with vestibular stimulation.
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Dr Daniel Amen: So, welcome back. So, this is our last episode of Cerebellum Week I am here with Wynford Dore. He is the author of Stop Struggling In School, also the creator of the Zing Program; www.withzing.com. I have been fascinated by his work, and we're beginning to do some research together here at Amen Clinics. And we've talked about some sort of severe cases-
Wynford Dore: Yeah.
Dr Daniel Amen: ... like Suzy and Nina's son. But, I also believe that if you wanna optimize your performance, the first thing to do is optimize your cerebellum.
Wynford Dore: Absolutely. The cerebellum is the key-
Dr Daniel Amen: I mean, why not go with 50% of the brain to start?
Wynford Dore: Yeah. The cerebellum is so misunderstood, but so are the people who have an incompletely developed cerebellum so misunderstood. So, the vast majority of children that I see struggling in school as my book talks about; is children that don't read very much, they can't concentrate for long, and teachers often wrongly assume they're choosing not to be concentrating. Or they're assuming that they're not intelligent.
Dr Daniel Amen: No, we have to stop with that 'cause it's so important. So many people when a child struggles, or an adult struggles they think they know why and they label them as bad-
Dr Daniel Amen: ... or unmotivated, or don't care. I cannot tell you the thousands of people who come to the clinic, and I go, "Well, what's your teacher say about you?" "If only you tried harder you'd do better."
In fact, what we've seen with the images is the harder many people try, the worse it gets. I just saw a girl yesterday who is a world famous person, when she tried to concentrate her cerebellum deactivated, along with her frontal lobe deactivated. There is no amount of shaming, there is no amount of belittling her, there is no amount of smacking her, 'cause she'd been fairly severely abused.
There is no amount of that that is going to help her, that we need to look ... I mean, that's what we do. We need to look and then we need to rehabilitate.
Wynford Dore: Yeah, absolutely. So, if you've got a child that's misunderstood have a look at the cerebellum, and find out if any aspect of the cerebellum is not yet developed because that will probably explain it. And the irony is very often the brighter the fundamental part of the brain is, the less develop the cerebellum is. So, you often get these strange situations where you've got savants and highly autistic people who are genius at something, but totally incapable ... Well, there's a complete eccentricity, aspurge is the same-
Dr Daniel Amen: And that's how we see it, it's a classic autism pattern on scans. Their hyper frontal, which means their frontal lobes work too hard and their cerebellums are cold, or just low in activity.
Wynford Dore: I'm actually sitting here, I've been with Dr. Amen this morning and I can hardly sit down because I'm so excited about the quality of the data. I believe that the brain scan methods you are using could transform the effectiveness of psychiatric conditions and all sorts of learning things too.
I know what I'm doing is already extremely good, but I know you're gonna help me make it hugely better. And that so excites me. One in five children are struggling, misunderstood, underperforming, and the chances are they might go right through life underperforming. One in a hundred will become a millionaire, and do something even though they drop out of school as nearly all the billionaires have done.
Why is that? Why is our education system not understanding the idea? Education is-
Dr Daniel Amen: Because it's a brainless education-
Dr Daniel Amen: ... system. What if we educated people to optimize their brain? What a concept, but ... So, if someone's intrigued they can get your book-
Dr Daniel Amen: ... Stop Struggling In School, they can go to withzing.com-
Wynford Dore: Get a copy for the teacher as well, 'cause often it's the teacher that's holding the child back because the teacher doesn't understand.
Dr Daniel Amen: So, what are some of the practical things our listener can do to optimize their vestibular systems and their cerebellums? 'cause if you are struggling, or you just wanna be your best ... 'cause I know a lot of professional athletes use his program-
Wynford Dore: Yeah, they do.
Dr Daniel Amen: But, let's give people just things to think about. I often talk about on The Brain Warrior's Way that I play table tennis, actually at a really high level. 'cause I think of it as one of the best brain games-
Wynford Dore: Absolutely.
Dr Daniel Amen: ... you gotta get your eyes, your hands, and feet all to work together while you think about the spin on the ball and it's a strategy-
Dr Daniel Amen: ... game.
Wynford Dore: And you're right, table tennis is great for that because you've got a lot of vestibular stimulation, a lot of eye movement, a lot of coordination happening all at the same time; that's great. Brain training games however, on the other hand, you're staring at the computer, you might be moving the mouse a bit, no vestibular stimulation. They will not create any significant lasting change in the brain.
In fact, the potential is that it will actually stifle further development. I've got a grandson and I'm pestering him all the time to reduce the screen time he spends ... Get him outside, get the kids outside get them climbing, and jumping, and doing all of the things that will stimulate their vestibular. So, increased physical exercise is critical-
Dr Daniel Amen: As long as it doesn't increase the risk for concussions. We're not hitting soccer balls with our head, we're not playing tackle football, we need to protect the brain. And if you did, like I did, you need to rehabilitate your brain.
Dr Daniel Amen: So, I have a huge ... And you said something interesting this morning that the trampoline can actually be really good, as long as they don't get a concussion being crazy on the trampoline.
Wynford Dore: Trampolining is great, be safe with it, so is things like ballet. So, anything with the significant amounts of balance. Now, the irony is that things like skiing, and windsurfing, and so on these are actually very good exercises, but it doesn't activate the whole of the cerebellum. It's very good for some aspects of vestibular; there's balance, stimulation, but it doesn't do them all.
So, don't expect any of these sport to do everything. And that's why I put together a comprehensive program that systematical goes through every different type of vestibular stimulation, and every different type of important coordination, and put them together in a systematize way. But, every exercise you get your child to do will make a difference.
Dr Daniel Amen: So, I wonder if you know about the study from ... I think it was from England where they looked at 90,000 people-
Dr Daniel Amen: ... and they looked at who did what exercise, and how long did you look. So, people who lived the shortest was soccer and football, American football.
Dr Daniel Amen: Runners, it actually didn't extend their life. It was pretty interesting. The people, swimmers, extended their life, the people who played racket sports lived the longest.
Wynford Dore: Wow.
Dr Daniel Amen: And I think of all of those, racket sports-
Dr Daniel Amen: ... actually activate the cerebellum-
Dr Daniel Amen: ... almost more than anything else. But, what do you think about running and activating the cerebellum? My thought is, but I'd love your thought, is ... Well, not much 'cause it's sort of automatic-
Wynford Dore: It's completely automatic.
Dr Daniel Amen: ... where-
Wynford Dore: And you're generally going in pretty much a straight line. So, there's actually relatively low levels of vestibular stimulation there. With table tennis you are jumping around from side to side, and going back and forward, you're given every type of stimulation possible every split second to your cerebellum. Running is, Yeah, it's good maybe for your cardio and so on, but in terms of vestibular stimulation it's not gonna do much.
Dr Daniel Amen: So, walking wouldn't really do very much for a vestibular stimulation?
Wynford Dore: No, walking is not and-
Dr Daniel Amen: ... unless you're doing an obstacle course.
Wynford Dore: ... pool and things like that, they're fun but they're not gonna help your brain that much.
Dr Daniel Amen: Interesting. All right. So, what are some of the exercises people can do for vestibular stimulation?
Wynford Dore: Well, if look on ... If you actually look in my book we actually give a load of free exercises away, things you can do. And they're things like getting your child to balance on one leg and then shutting one eye, be careful when you do that so they don't hurt themselves. Because the more you can stand on one leg and then shut your eye ... Yeah, try it Dr. Amen it's ...
Dr Daniel Amen: Well, now I'm out of the thing ... Now when I shut both eyes it begins to wobble.
Dr Daniel Amen: It's actually how long you can keep your eyes closed on one leg determines your brain's age.
Wynford Dore: Exactly. Well, you can bring your brain age down-
Dr Daniel Amen: So, I used to practice one leg how long can I stand-
Wynford Dore: Yeah. You can actually bring your brain's age down. So, if your child is say 10 years of age and can only stand on one leg with his or her eyes closed for about 10 seconds, if they can only do that then they've got some more development, they've got some more potential you're waiting to discover. So, that's a kind of general rule of thumb.
So, standing on one leg is great, getting them to spin around is another thing. Getting them to jump on one leg and jump around in a circle, and then get them to shut one eye whilst they do that. Any exercise that involves jumping, spinning, standing on one leg especially with their eyes closed, all of those are gonna force the vestibular to be exercise; which in turn forces this electrician at the back here, the cerebellum to do some more fundamental wiring.
Dr Daniel Amen: Do you think that's why autistic kids tend to flap, or spin as an attempt to try to stimulate that system?
Wynford Dore: Well, it's interesting. I think there's some inhibition things going on there as well, which is a slightly different issue. So, they got reduced control of ... To stop [inaudible 00:11:39] happening, but many autistic children come alive if you take them to a fun-fair. If they go round and round, or going up and down they're smiling that often. Not always but that often at their happiest when they've got huge amounts of vestibular stimulation. Or if you take a young child that is autistic into a swimming pool and you throw them up and down in the water, they love it.
So, you get more happiness, more joy when the vestibular is stimulated, the cerebellum is doing its job, and their whole brain comes alive and it's functioning more normally.
Dr Daniel Amen: And the people who would benefit from Zing, they're so many kids. And Chloe my 14 year old who I adore, when I scanned her very busy frontal lobes, very quiet cerebellum and she's not in any way-
Wynford Dore: And huge potential then, huge potential.
Dr Daniel Amen: ... not in any way autistic. But, knowing that is we knew why she would quit when she started a sport if she wasn't perfect. So, this hyper frontal often goes with perfectionism which she clearly has, so when saw it she's like, "Okay, I understand why I have to do coordination exercises." And dance made a huge-
Wynford Dore: Did it. Yeah.
Dr Daniel Amen: ... positive difference for her. I am trying to get her to do Zing, so it's-
Wynford Dore: Well,-
Dr Daniel Amen: Children do not always listen to their parents.
Wynford Dore: No, and it's not as easy as taking a pill but it develops naturally, and in a lasting way the kind of thing that's gonna make a lifelong difference. You think like when you run ... When you learn to ride a bike, you don't do it in a second, you might know what to do because you've watched people riding a bike. But, until you've practiced, and practiced, and practiced you can't ride, you fall off.
When finally the cerebellum has done its job, and made all of those coordinated links you can get on a bike without thinking about it and ride automatically.
Dr Daniel Amen: So, many who are anxious about riding a bike, or learning how to swim often have an underdeveloped cerebellum?
Dr Daniel Amen: And if you go through the program ... And the program is 10 minutes twice a day, and often after a month people notice significant benefit-
Wynford Dore: They do.
Dr Daniel Amen: But you recommend they do it for about six months?
Wynford Dore: Yeah. Look, it's not a quick thing, it's 10 minutes twice a day for six months. But, if you got a child struggling at school, if you got a child that's got potential and no one is finding it, do you really want them to go right through their life without discovering it? You know I-
Dr Daniel Amen: Right. I mean, six months is like a drop in the bucket for-
Dr Daniel Amen: And one of the interesting things, I know that your partner is also very interested in diet-
Wynford Dore: Absolutely, and nutrition.
Dr Daniel Amen: ... and there's studies on gluten-
Dr Daniel Amen: ... turning off the cerebellum.
Dr Daniel Amen: That's actually a SPECT study with gluten turning off the cerebellum-
Dr Daniel Amen: ... and in another study 40% of people with cerebellar dyspraxia, so that's where the cerebellum's not working-
Dr Daniel Amen: ... is from a gluten sensitivity.
Dr Daniel Amen: And that's why so many of our autistic, and ADD kids do better when we get rid of gluten and dairy ... Well, thank you so much for being part of Cerebellar Week here on The Brain Warrior's Way Podcast. I want everyone to look at ... You can get it on Amazon right now, Stop Struggling In School.
Go to Withzing.com, to learn about it. Stay tuned here, we'll talk more about it as we get our research project underway with Wynford Dore. Thank you so much.
Wynford Dore: Thank you.
Dr Daniel Amen: Thank you for listening to The Brain Warrior's Way Podcast. Go to iTunes and leave a review, and you'll automatically be entered into a drawing to get a free signed copy of The Brain Warrior's Way and The Brain Warrior's Way Cookbook we give away every month.