EPISODES       SUBSCRIBE       REVIEWS       CONTACT

Brain in the News: How Covid Can Affect Existing Mental Health Conditions

Dr Daniel Amen and Tana Amen BSN RN On The Brain Warrior's Way Podcast

Dr. Daniel Amen and Tana Amen go over the latest health statistics and Covid research. They discuss healthy anxiety and the different messaging about social distancing.


Daniel Amen, MD:

Welcome to the Brain Warrior’s Way Podcast. I’m Dr. Daniel Amen.

Tana Amen, BSN RN:

And I’m Tana Amen. In our podcast, we provide you with the tools you need to become a warrior for the health of your brain and body.

Daniel Amen, MD:

The Brain Warrior’s Way Podcast is brought to you by Amen Clinics, where we have been transforming lives for 30 years using tools like brain SPECT imaging to personalize treatment to your brain. For more information, visit amenclinics.com.

Tana Amen, BSN RN:

The Brain Warrior’s Way Podcast is also brought to you by BrainMD, where we produce the highest quality nutraceuticals to support the health of your brain and body. To learn more, go to brainmd.com.

Daniel Amen, MD:

Welcome back. We’re talking about letting go of the brain attachment and letting go. But this week we’re going to talk about brand new in the news. There are a couple of big studies in the news. One is just horrifying. You have a review.

Tana Amen, BSN RN:

I have a review first, and this is cognitive conclusions.

I think you are an amazing human being. I love your podcast. I feel so late to have just found this. I have seen some of your stuff online and just love your approach to mental health overall big advocate for mental health. You’re probably one of the few psychiatrists I actually respect. I will be listening from now on. Keep blessing people with your gifts and genuine concern for others and their overall health which is mostly mental.

Daniel Amen, MD:

Bring in the news. What’s going on in the news. Study yesterday. Erectile dysfunction… six times more likely for men who’ve been infected with COVID.

Tana Amen, BSN RN:

Ouch.

Daniel Amen, MD:

Oh my goodness. It causes inflammation. Inflammation can make your blood vessels less pliable, less responsive, and that can impact your relationship. I mean, a lot of people get nervous when you talk about sex, but there’s one study actually from Harvard that show 40% of 40 year old men had erectile dysfunction at some point, horrifying 70% of 70 year old men. And now if you’ve been infected with COVID, those numbers even go higher. And often we know COVID has more negative consequences for people who are unhealthy. If they’re overweight or hypertensive or have diabetes and we have often said your best defense against COVID is your own immune system. Is it a new study out on people have long haulers that if they get the vaccine, it actually helps a number of people with it. I’m not exactly sure why.

Tana Amen, BSN RN:

That’s interesting.

Daniel Amen, MD:

That maybe it’s an extra boost to their immune system to fight the virus that sort of stick around too long. But you know, a lot of people get Lyme disease and don’t have chronic Lyme, but they’re clearly as a group have Lyme disease.

Tana Amen, BSN RN:

Well, I find it so interesting that COVID actually causes brain inflammation. I mean, it crosses the blood brain barrier. I just find that really fascinating. I think we just don’t know everything yet.

Daniel Amen, MD:

Well, I have about 50 COVID scans. And actually a number of them with before and after scans, we got them for, and then later, and it’s not good news. It increases activity in the limbic or the emotional part of the brain. There is a new study also out this week from the journal Lancet, where they looked at medical records of millions of people, and they found 280 some thousand who had COVID. And then they looked at new diagnoses of mental health conditions and compared them to new diagnoses of people who’ve had the flu and significant increases anxiety, depression, insomnia, psychosis which sort of fine, dementia, Parkinson’s disease.

Tana Amen, BSN RN:

Parkinson’s?

Daniel Amen, MD:

Yeah. That COVID can impact your brain. And so doing what you can to avoid it, if you can, right, masks, wash your hands, physical distancing, not social distancing socially. We want to be more connected. I think that was one of the big mistakes early in the pandemic is we want to be physically distancing so the virus doesn’t jump from me to you, but we want to be socially more connected than ever before. But we’re going to find this virus like a number of other viruses, Epstein-Barr for example, or Herpes can cross the blood brain barrier and can wreak havoc. And I don’t really want to say on your mental health, because it’s your brain health, because your brain creates your mind. There’s another study out recently, the increased risk of traumatic brain injuries among parents and children who have Attention Deficit Disorder. And I’ve known this for a long time because of the level of impulsivity that you might not think before you run in the street. One of my daughters who was hyperactive from before birth, she just had no fear.

Tana Amen, BSN RN:

That’s like her own child now. Who terrifies me when she comes over here. Terrifies me.

Daniel Amen, MD:

She’s a bit better.

Tana Amen, BSN RN:

She’s so cute. But I mean, I’m terrified.

Daniel Amen, MD:

Because there’s no…

Tana Amen, BSN RN:

No, she literally doesn’t even hesitate. She just runs straight into the pool. When no one’s standing there. Scary as heck.

Daniel Amen, MD:

So the study that was published children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder are vulnerable to traumatic brain injuries. They experience undesirable impacts more frequently than children without, and this was actually a study from Taiwan and people who have untreated ADHD have a higher incidents of almost every bag.

Tana Amen, BSN RN:

That’s what I was just going to ask. I wonder what the rate is of kids who do experience things like drownings or you wonder how many of them had ADD or ADHD.

Daniel Amen, MD:

Or get into medications and or guns

Tana Amen, BSN RN:

I have a child who borders, OCD. She has a very, very busy brain. I mean, we’ve always had to like give her supplements to sort of calm her down, but she’s the opposite terrified of almost everything, which I’m okay with. I’m not going to say I hate that. But I wonder because I see her versus her friends, some of who are extremely impulsive and they get into trouble and I wonder how much of that has to do with ADHD?

Daniel Amen, MD:

It has to do with brain function, for sure. And your brain type. You can actually find your brain type at brainhealthassessment.com. The people who are type two, they’re a DD group, they’re spontaneous, they’re impulsive. Often don’t think about the consequences. Most of them that are just type two. There’s 16 types. If you’re anxious and cautious, that’s you. Then you’re more thoughtful and more afraid. And what we often say is some anxiety is important and they tend to have lower cortisol levels and lower heart rates, lower from low function, which means they don’t have appropriate fear.

And so I used to think, being a psychiatrist, my job was to lower people’s anxiety. And it’s like, not for everybody. Some people need to really raise their anxiety. So where is your anxiety at today? Do you have enough where you’re being really thoughtful about the pandemic and COVID and your health?

Tana Amen, BSN RN:

Or do you have too much, is it paralyzing?

Daniel Amen, MD:

Or does it paralyzed you and what are the ways to balance it? We don’t want you to believe every stupid thought you have, which is why I collect anteaters that are going to become a big part of the future. But you also don’t want to have positive pie in the sky. Happy thoughts that aren’t rational, that you want to have appropriate fear. So it’s really the bounds between enough anxiety. You make the right decisions, but not too much anxiety that you froze.

Tana Amen, BSN RN:

Right. So that’s brain in the news for this week. And please post what you’ve learned. Tag someone, tag us. We’d love to hear from you. And some just a review. We would love to get a review from you. And if we read your review, it enters you into a drawing to win one of our books. Either Daniel’s book, Your Brain Is Always Listening, or my book, The Relentless Courage of a Scared Child. And we will be back with your questions.

If you’re enjoying the Brain Warrior’s Way Podcast, please don’t forget to subscribe so you’ll always know when there’s a new episode. And while you’re at it, feel free to give us a review or five-star rating as that helps others find the podcast.

Daniel Amen, MD:

If you’re interested in coming to Amen Clinics, use the code podcast10 to get a 10% discount on a full evaluation at amenclinics.com. For more information, give us a call at (855) 978-1363.