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Does COVID-19 Leave Lingering Effects In The Brain?

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

For this episode of The Brain Warrior’s Way Podcast, it’s Brain in the News time! Dr. Daniel and Tana Amen take a look at some of the cutting edge brain health topics in order to help keep you informed of the latest in brain science and research. This week’s episode features topics such as COVID’s impact on the nervous system, virus-induced microclotting, connections between unemployment and addictions, and a breakthrough new nasal spray for treating patients with suicidal thoughts.

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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 are so grateful you are here with us. In this episode, we’re going to talk about brain in the news and the brain has just been in the news so much.

Tana Amen, BSN RN:      Yeah. It really has. So anything you learned questions, concerns, or especially what you’ve learned, if you would post it and tag us, we’d be grateful. You want to take a screenshot and send it to us, that’d be awesome. And if you go to brainwarriorswaypodcast.com and leave us a review five stars are always welcome, obviously, that helps us get our message out there quicker. It will enter you into a drawing for one of our books, either The End of Mental Illness or The Brain Warrior’s Way Cookbook, you get to choose. So if you go to brainwarriorswaypodcast.com and do that, and also tell us what’s going on in your life. We would love to hear it.

Daniel Amen, MD:          So brain in the news, what has been going on in the news so much and early on in the pandemic, it was reported that people lost their sense of smell and their sense of taste. So that’s clearly brain in the news. And then, so that means COVID-19, in a fairly high percentage of patients, it’s impacting your nervous system, it’s impacting your brain. And so many people have this seriousness of it. And that worries me because I am afraid this is going to become like some of the other pandemics where the virus really ends up impacting the brain for a long time. And we’re actually scanning people. Who’ve had COVID-19 and it’s had a significant impact on them.

Tana Amen, BSN RN:      Well, and part of the problem is we keep hearing this misinformation going around, or we hear that there’s, the numbers are not correct. So it gets people not believing it, but let’s make no mistake. The virus is real. The numbers might not be 100% accurate, but you still don’t want this virus. So whatever your personal, philosophical, or political beliefs are, the virus is still devastating. So that’s the part, and it’s not for everybody, it’s different for everybody, but we don’t know the impact and that’s the problem.

Daniel Amen, MD:          Right, and it could end up being like Lyme disease where you might not even know you had it, a lot of people who had COVID-19 didn’t know they had it, but a month later, a year later-

Tana Amen, BSN RN:      Well and the micro clotting issue.

Daniel Amen, MD:          They’re affected. And speaking about the micro clotting issue, it’s frightening. When they release some of the first autopsy reports on people who have died from COVID-19 and they looked at their liver, at their kidneys, at their heart, and their brain, what they’re seeing are just a myriad of these little tiny clots that the virus seems to have an impact on platelets and that micro clotting may actually be doing most of the damage.

Tana Amen, BSN RN:      And we don’t know what the longterm damage from that is going to be yet.

Daniel Amen, MD:          And we don’t know the longterm impact. I just know my mom, dad, and sister have it, my mom and sister seemed to be doing just fine. My dad really never recovered, but it wasn’t the only thing causing his death. But I have an employee that we just dearly love, who was young, who ended up on a ventilator in New York-

Tana Amen, BSN RN:      She was in the hospital for almost two months.

Daniel Amen, MD:          For almost two months. So be smart and do the right things. We often say that don’t worry, be happy people die the earliest from accidents and preventable illnesses and this in large part is preventable if you do the right things. And mental hygiene is just as important as washing your hands, which means you should wash your hands. And you also need to wash your thoughts. Also, brain in the news, there’s a new nasal spray that’s been approved for treating suicidal patients. Johnson and Johnson came out with SPRAVATO and it’s been approved as the first antidepressant for actively suicidal people. And actually it’s a form of ketamine, which is an anesthetic-

Tana Amen, BSN RN:      We use it all the time.

Daniel Amen, MD:          That has been found to work for a certain percentage of people. It’s expensive. It’s not the first thing I would do, but it gives hope for people who may be in a crisis.

Tana Amen, BSN RN:      Right, and we want to talk about, of course, drug overdoses, mental health concerns as this pandemic continues. We know right off the bat, there were the calls to suicide hotline were up 1,000%. And so that’s a problem, obviously suicide is up. But as unemployment and these things, especially as checks start to run out for every percentage point of unemployment that went up, there was a threefold increase in opiate use, correct?

Daniel Amen, MD:          Opiate addiction.

Tana Amen, BSN RN:      Opiate addiction.

Daniel Amen, MD:          Went up 3.4%. So the unemployment rate went up from 3% to almost 20%. And so you just think-

Tana Amen, BSN RN:      Watch this explosion.

Daniel Amen, MD:          Skyrocket, which means now is the time to be more diligent about your brain and mental health, not give yourself an excuse to smoke more pot or drink more alcohol.

Tana Amen, BSN RN:      Right. Well, and they’re saying that the overdoses now, not just addiction, overdoses are up 30 to 40%, so that’s pretty crazy. And it’s, you can see it though. You see some people do find when they’re at home. I have a mother who lives alone and I was so worried about her, I wanted her to come stay with us and she’s like, “I want nothing to do with coming to your house.” And she is actually doing great by herself which surprised me.

Daniel Amen, MD:          Did she really say it that way?

Tana Amen, BSN RN:      Yeah, pretty close. So she’s like, “I’m independent. I want to do my own thing,” but she’s doing actually really, really well. But then I see other people who they really just can’t seem to keep it together because they’re so lonely, and so by themselves, and it’s just overwhelming and trying to do everything on their own. And it’s just too much. And we see mothers that are having to deal with ADD and OCD kids that are not doing well and they’re self medicating. And it just it’s really been an avalanche of things we’ve seen. So it makes sense that people are stressed out and they’re looking for something, but that’s not the thing to look for. So finding healthier alternatives is really important.

Daniel Amen, MD:          Well, and that’s why video conferencing is just so important. And Amen Clinics is open. We’ve been open the whole time. We considered ourselves an essential medical service. And so all eight of our clinics have been opened. And if you need to talk to someone, if you need to be seen, we’re doing video conferencing literally with people around the world.

Tana Amen, BSN RN:      Yeah, no, it’s been great. And I’ve been doing some live chats on my Facebook and Instagram page with our doctors and they have been exploding and it just shows me the need. It shows me the need of the people and what they’re sending in their questions. And it’s fantastic.

Daniel Amen, MD:          And have those resources for you. I’ve done 75 live chats during the pandemic, Tana’s done a bunch. So you can find Tana on Facebook, Tana Amen or Dr. Daniel Amen on Facebook and any night we may show up. So follow us for sure.

Tana Amen, BSN RN:      Yeah. And so hold on, I was going to say something.

Daniel Amen, MD:          We [inaudible [00:08:57].

Tana Amen, BSN RN:      I know I was just going to end it, I was going to wrap it up. I forgot what I was going to say. Anyways, okay. So yeah, so even if you are struggling with resources, there are so many free resources on both of our websites, Amen Clinic’s website. So don’t let that be a reason not to reach out and try to get some help. And we would love to hear from you. If you’re struggling, if you’re having problems or questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to reach out, leave us your questions, your comments, go to brainwarriorswaypodcast.com and leave us a review. Good reviews are always welcome. And it will enter you into a drawing for either The End of Mental Illness or The Brain Warrior’s Way. So you get to choose.

Daniel Amen, MD:          And if we read your question on air, you’ll automatically get a book from either of us. Stay with us.

Tana Amen, BSN RN:      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 considering coming to Amen Clinics or trying some of the brain healthy supplements from BrainMD, you can use the code podcast 10 to get a 10% discount on a full evaluation at amenclinics.com or a 10% discount on all supplements at brainmdhealth.com. For more information, give us a call at 855-978-1363.