Concussion Rescue: What To Do To Heal Your Brain, with Dr. Kabran Chapek

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

If you’ve suffered a head injury, or even if you’ve developed some bad habits over the years, your brain will need to heal in order to function at max capacity once again. So what can you do to heal your brain? In this episode of The Brain Warrior’s Way Podcast, Dr. Daniel Amen and Tana Amen are again joined by Dr. Kabran Chapek to discuss the risk factors for brain health issues and how to address them.

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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. Starting January 21st every Tuesday, we're going to be with you for an hour. 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 revolutionary. Welcome to The Brain Warrior's Way Podcast. I'm Dr. Daniel Amen.
Tana Amen: 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
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Dr Daniel Amen: Welcome back. We're here with Dr. Kabran Chapek, and we're talking about traumatic brain injury, concussions, his new book, Concussion Rescue. Kabran, you and I have shared a lot of patients over the last six years, and I'm always very grateful for you because I help with the psychiatric stuff and you make sure to put their body in a healing environment. Together we created the mnemonic "Bright Minds," which is really a functional medicine approach to mental health, brain health. We have talked about Bright Minds a lot, but go through each of those risk factors as it relates to Concussion Rescue. B is for blood flow and we see that on the scans, right? We see low blood flow 91% of the time in the frontal lobes. That just hurts everything in your life because it hurts decision-making.
Dr Kabran Chapek: That's a brilliant mnemonic. The more I use it with patients, the more sense it makes as we apply it to the different conditions that we see. Of course, blood flow. The vascularization, we need more blood flow if there's been a brain injury. The R is for retirement. As I said earlier, highest rates of brain injury are those either young adults, 0 to 17, and then over 65. The brain is more vulnerable, but also falls are higher in these populations. I is for inflammation. As we talked earlier, there's a cascade of inflammatory events that's like a fire that hasn't been put out and continues to smolder for months and sometimes years after brain injury. Genetics. I learned this from you, ApoE4.
Dr Kabran Chapek: People who have the ApoE4 genotype are more likely to suffer the long-term consequences of brain injury because the ApoE4 allele is a gene. It's known as the Alzheimer's gene, but really it means is that this person who has ApoE4 is more pro inflammatory. They're going to have more inflammation in their body than someone who doesn't. It's so much more important to do all of the things we're talking about.
Dr Daniel Amen: Get this, Kabran. 2004 I wrote my book Preventing Alzheimer's with neurologist Rod Shankle.
Dr Kabran Chapek: Great book.
Dr Daniel Amen: When I reviewed that literature, Rod and I came out and said, "If you're going to let your child play a contact sport, you first need to know their ApoE4 status." It's just a simple blood test that you know APOE e gene type, so APO gene type, and it'll tell you are you an E2. It's two, three or four. Do you have two twos, two threes, two fours. If you have one four, you probably shouldn't let your child play contact sports because those... There's a study in boxers. Those boxers who had one of the E4 genes started to show cognitive impairment after their 11th fight. Those boxers who had no E4 genes actually did not show cognitive impairment until after their 30th fight.
Tana Amen: It's because they're producing more inflammation faster?
Dr Daniel Amen: It's also involved in cholesterol metabolism as well, but it increases the risk of cognitive impairment with whatever insults you have. I would bet because we've also been talking about general anesthesia, people don't know this. General anesthesia for vulnerable people, it's a brain injury. It's an assault on their brain. Probably people who have the E4 gene have more damage from anesthesia, and these risk factors stack. They link, they sack, and then they attack you. Low blood flow, if you're older, that's worse, if you have inflammation because you have a highly processed diet, if you have genetic vulnerabilities for anxiety, depression, Alzheimer's disease, the E4 gene. Recovery is really dealing with all of that.
Dr Daniel Amen: Then the T is toxins, which I actually learned from your mentor Joe Pizzorno. He's got this great book, The Toxin Solution, that scared the socks off of me.
Tana Amen: Yeah, he's great.
Dr Daniel Amen: But we really live in a toxic environment, don't we?
Dr Kabran Chapek: We do. We do. We're kind of surrounded, kind of bathed in it. We all need to do things that help us detoxify, whether it's doing saunas regularly or taking our antioxidants, vitamin C, eating our vegetables.
Tana Amen: Where does hyperbaric oxygen fall in here?
Dr Daniel Amen: Blood flow. I'm so happy you brought that up.
Tana Amen: I mean, I got one in my house because I'm so in love with it. I go in every day. It's when I meditate. It just clears my brain. It just is so peaceful, and I know it's doing something positive.
Dr Kabran Chapek: If I could only do one thing to help heal the brain from brain injury, it would be hyperbaric oxygen.
Tana Amen: Interesting.
Dr Kabran Chapek: If I was only limited to one tool. It's that powerful. It doesn't help everyone, and it doesn't help as much if you just do that, but it is a powerful tool.
Tana Amen: But if you combine it with the rest of your protocol, then it's very powerful.
Dr Kabran Chapek: It's that much better.
Dr Daniel Amen: M is either mind storms, these abnormal electrical activity. Common in head injuries because the temporal lobes where they come from sit right behind a sharp bony ridge that needs a bumper guard. I'm praying for that, or mental health challenges. If you have ADD, you're more likely to get a brain injury because of the impulsivity. As we talk about Haven, my granddaughter, I mean, I don't know that she has ADD, but it wouldn't surprise me how busy she is.
Tana Amen: She's like a wind up toy.
Dr Daniel Amen: The impulsivity increases the risk of brain injury. But if you never had ADD until the car accident you got into when you were a teenager and now you have ADD, that's not really ADD. That's traumatic brain injury where you have frontal lobe trouble.
Dr Kabran Chapek: I had a nurse who... She wanted to become a nurse. Her name was Jane. Well, let's call her Jane. She was 35, and she thought she had adult ADD. She had been in a car accident, and she had difficulty focusing, was given Dexedrine, a stimulant. It helped a little bit, but she couldn't study until she got treatment for also her brain injury and then she could focus and study and was able to complete nursing school.
Dr Daniel Amen: So important. Then the I is immunity and infections, which you and I have seen is so important. But some autoimmune problems are really caused by gluten and dairy and corn and soy. Doing an elimination diet can actually be really... I mean, diet is just a central piece to all of this and then hormones. N is neurohormone deficiencies. You write about that in Concussion Rescue about how testosterone, progesterone, thyroid can all be off after a head injury. Why is that?
Dr Kabran Chapek: Yeah, great question. 25 to 50% of people with a history of brain injury have damage to the pituitary gland. It's the master hormone gland sitting in the center of the brain in the sella turcica, the sort of bony pocket. It can be damaged through the same way as other parts of the brain can be damaged. If it's taken out, it's not sending the signal to the other parts of the other hormone systems, so thyroid, adrenals, the testes for testosterone, for women, ovaries, estrogen, progesterone, and also growth hormones. The top two we typically see, growth hormone deficiencies and sex hormone deficiencies, whether that's testosterone or estrogen, progesterone, this is especially high in the veterans with blast injuries.
Dr Kabran Chapek: I think that concussive force gets to the pituitary in particular and can penetrate more deeply. It's important to screen, and I talk about all the labs that should be done in the book, but checking all of these hormones but also the pituitary hormones because they're often damage. These can be corrected, and it's like we need those growth factors. That's kind of how I characterize them. These are growth factors for healing. We have the nutrients for antioxidant and feeding the system that way, but then also we need to have sort of big growth factors for healing as well with the hormones. It's like two halves of the coin.
Dr Daniel Amen: So important to get your hormones checked. Then D is diabesity. 70% of us are overweight, 40% of us are obese. I published two studies that shows your weight goes up, the size and function of your brain goes down. You're more likely to have lasting trouble if you have trouble with your weight, and you're more likely to have problems with your weight after a head injury. Because if 91% of head injuries affect your frontal lobes, then in our society with this incredibly bad food, you're just going to make a bad decision.
Dr Kabran Chapek: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Absolutely.
Dr Daniel Amen: Just think about it. When you think about the magnitude of this problem, every year, what did you say? Three million people go to the ER for a head injury and most of them live. That means over the last 40 years, there may be over a hundred million people walking around with the effects of concussions.
Dr Kabran Chapek: Daniel, I think it's so much higher because those are just the people going to the ER.
Tana Amen: Right. I was going to say a lot of people don't go. Homeless people don't go.
Dr Daniel Amen: Like you didn't go and you had-
Tana Amen: I thought I was fine.
Dr Daniel Amen: ...a very brutal car accident. People don't think of the whiplash injuries. It's like they think of that as a neck issue. Well, what's happening in your skull where your brain is not fixed, it floats in water.
Tana Amen: I want to correct that. I actually did go. We had too because we were... Our car stopped wherever. They took us to a local... We were in the middle of nowhere. They took us those little tiny, tiny hospital, and he checked out the rest of my body, made sure I didn't have any broken bones. He quickly flashed my eyes and that was it. I was done. I thought, well, I'm fine. I walked away.
Dr Daniel Amen: I think you're fine.
Dr Kabran Chapek: That's very common.
Tana Amen: It's not that I didn't go. It's that it wasn't taken very seriously because I walked away.
Dr Daniel Amen: No, they still don't take it seriously. When we come back, we'll talk more about it. I mean, we can talk on and on. Dr. Chapek's new book, Concussion Rescue, out January 28th. He's going to have a new course coming out shortly thereafter at Amen University.
Tana Amen: I'm so excited about the course to help people with the book.
Dr Daniel Amen: Stay with us. A resource to save your brain and your life.
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