Brain Wash: How To Clean & Rewire Your Brain, with Dr. David Perlmutter

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

The recent explosion of technology into human life has brought with it an unexpected side effect: Our brains have been rewired in such a way that our physiology is not yet able to process the stimuli effectively. In the second episode of a series with “Brain Wash” author Dr. David Perlmutter, the discussion is on how we can revert our brains to a purer state, allowing us more control over our lives.

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Dr. Daniel Amen: We are going to start your new year, your new decade, off with a bang. Tana and I are going to do a six week live class, so starting January 21st every Tuesday, we're going to be with you for an hour. And at the end we're going to give away over $20,000 in prizes. We look forward to helping you kick off this new year by becoming brain health revolutionaries. Welcome to The Brain Warrior's Way Podcast. I'm Dr. Daniel Amen.
Tana Amen: 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.
Dr. Daniel Amen: 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
Tana Amen: 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 Welcome back. We are still enjoying this week with our friend and my mentor, Dr. David Perlmutter. We're talking about his book Brain Wash, which is just so interesting, why patients don't do what they should do, knowing that it's going to help them and all the reasons why, and what they can do to change that. In this episode, we're going to talk about strategies to break that cycle, from what we talked about in the last episode.
Dr. Daniel Amen: I love the fact that you wrote it with your son, because as authors and doctors we love what we do, but ultimately the most important thing we do is train the next generation of healers. And the fact that you could do that must've been very special for you.
Dr David Perlmutter: Train the next generation of healers, work on a project with a family member, with someone I love, I mean, it checked all the boxes. I don't think I've said this before, but Austin really proved to be my mentor throughout this process.
Tana Amen: Wow.
Dr David Perlmutter: Really was incredibly circumspect about not extrapolating too much from the data. I sometimes will extrapolate from animal studies to humans, I'll call it out. I maybe gloss it over a little bit, but he was really very, very, circumspect about all of those aspects about writing this book. And gosh, hundreds and hundreds of references that he cultivated. Quick, funny story. Whenever, over the last summer as we were collecting references, I would find a reference, I would send it to him. And then, one day I said, Austin, are you collecting? What are you doing with all these references? He said, you know, dad, every time you send me a reference, I make a little yellow sticky note and I put it up on the refrigerator. And that's as far as it gets. For a moment I went [inaudible 00:03:15], and then I realized, of course, he was kidding. Everything went into a Google Drive in a specific file and was organized better than I'd ever done. So, it was a terrific experience.
Dr David Perlmutter: To be able to share his perspective from his generation about the implications of what we've written versus my generation and my demographic, if you will, because many of the things that we call out that are hacking into our ability to make good decisions, like digital exposure, social media, et cetera, I think are far more germaned considerations as it relates to his generation, and even younger generations, than perhaps four ours. So, that was actually very, very important. We realized that the average American is spending more than six hours a day in front of one screen or another, be it their smartphone, tablet, computer, or television, which in a typical lifetime amounts to 22 years of screen time.
Dr David Perlmutter: We can discuss what that might be doing to the brain in terms of the corpus callosum, et cetera, but beyond that, one of the important points of the book is that when you're doing one thing, you're not doing something else. You're not preparing a meal, exercising, getting out in nature, connecting with other people in a direct physical way. Not paying attention to your sleep, hygiene, you name it. Not meditating. All the things that we will now, I guess, talk about, in terms of being able to regain connection. Not just to the prefrontal cortex, but regain connection to ourselves, neighbors, communities, and to our planet.
Dr. Daniel Amen: Why the name Brain Wash for this book?
Dr David Perlmutter: I would like to say that that was something that was in the back of our minds for many years. It wasn't, it was developed by our publisher. They loved it because it's attention grabbing, because we don't want to be Brain Wash, but then with the bubbles on the cover and everything, people realize it's a positive Brain Wash. We're trying to clean the brain. We're trying to-
Tana Amen: That's what ... Yeah.
Dr David Perlmutter: ... offload a lot of negative influences that we're all exposed to throughout the course of our days today and to reestablish connection to that prefrontal cortex, that part of the brain that really allows us to be the people that we want to be. People are starting to get the idea that, well, the brain washes itself, for example, by activation of the glymphatic system at night when we're in deep sleep. People sort of get that there is a way of cleaning the brain. Well, this is a broader net that is thrown in terms of actually rewiring the brain. It's not rewiring or new wiring, it's sort of rewiring it back to how it used to be before it was hacked. Before it was hacked by this incredible exposure to the digital world that's taking our attention, that's putting a premium on our eyeballs in terms of where we go. Being hacked by the addition, for example, of sugar to 68% of the 1.2 million foods that are sold in America's grocery stores. Being hacked by the mentality that if you want to be productive [crosstalk 00:06:39]
Dr. Daniel Amen: Wait, you need to say that again. 68% of the foods in the grocery store.
Tana Amen: That's crazy.
Dr David Perlmutter: Oh, [crosstalk 00:06:47]
Dr. Daniel Amen: This includes the produce department, the meat department.
Tana Amen: That's just crazy.
Dr. Daniel Amen: The thing that triggered it for me is I was on McDonald's website once, because when you travel, I'm always trying to find healthier alternatives. I'm like, well, their salads are probably healthier. And then in the grilled chicken salad, in the grilled chicken, they had orange juice, which of course has sugar in it, which breaks it down, makes it easier to chew, so you're out of the restaurant faster. I'm just like, grilled chicken and sugar? It just hit me in the face that it's a war out there. Hence, The Brain Warrior's Way Podcast.
Dr David Perlmutter: That's our mission. Our mission is to empower through education. Ultimately, people are going to make their own decisions, but I think when we present this information, then we're balancing the information input so people can make more balanced decisions. Because hey, well, even orange juice, well, that sounds really natural. Well, a 12 ounce glass of orange juice, that's 36 grams of sugar. It's the same as drinking a can of Coke. So, that's important for people to know. I'm like, well, what about the vitamin C? Well, the 60 milligrams of vitamin C doesn't offset 36 grams of sugar, thank you very much.
Tana Amen: Eat an orange and be done with it.
Dr David Perlmutter: Right, eat the orange if you have to.
Tana Amen: Right.
Dr David Perlmutter: But, that said, in looking at how diet is rewiring our brains and affecting our decision making, locking us into making further bad choices as it relates to the diet that we choose, wow. That is, as we mentioned before, a powerful feed forward cycle. How our diets increase our body habitus, our weight, and leading to obesity, that further is associated with more impulsive decision making the very next day. One recent study demonstrated that chronic sleep deprivation is associated with an average increased caloric consumption on a daily basis of 380 kilocalories, and without a concomitant increase in energy expenditure. So, that's 380 calories more input each day, while at the same time realizing you're not going to burn that off. That makes for more obesity, which makes poorer decision making.
Dr. Daniel Amen: Well, an extra 300 calories a day is probably, what, 40 pounds of fat a year on your body? And so it's like, well, no wonder we're always on a diet. And they go after these diet companies that give you foods that are just loaded with toxins, which is another, we call them weapons of mass destruction.
Dr David Perlmutter: That's right. Biological warfare on your plate. We said that there are some amazing books out there that you've written, that our colleagues have written, and they're worthless. They're absolutely worthless, unless people act on the information that they are given. You write wonderful books, but what good is it if it sits on the shelf and there's no action? So, we developed Brain Wash to really be the bridge, then, between information and action. Okay, new year's resolution. Call it what you will, but to implement this really good information was really the step that we wanted to focus on, our decision making, to really bring about change. It's the decision making that will ultimately allow us to be more caring individuals of each other and of our planet, as I mentioned earlier.
Dr. Daniel Amen: And no better time than at the beginning of a new decade. So, it's not just the beginning of a new year, but it's the beginning of a new decade and we have to begin to change this crazy increase in illnesses that are under our control once we know how to take control of our brains. And that's what you talk about in Brain Wash. When we come back, we're going to talk about how to detoxify your mind, which of course starts by detoxifying your brain. Stay with us.
Tana Amen: 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. While you're at it, feel free to give us a review or five star rating, as that helps others find the podcast.
Dr. Daniel Amen: If you're considering coming Amen Clinics or trying some of the brain healthy supplements from BrainMD, you can use the code podcast10 to get a 10% discount on a full evaluation at or a 10% discount on all supplements at For more information, give us a call at (855) 978-1363.