My first child was born in January and since then my life has been in fast forward. Almost every minute of the day is filled with new experiences for her, and at the same time everyday bodily functions such as eating, sleeping, peeing, pooping, touching, and feeling become exciting and new for a grown up adult such as myself. Watching her discover her world around her, increasing her coordination and being able to hold a toy, laughing for almost no reason, and giving unconditional love to me and her father, has been one of the greatest learning experiences of my life. This world is so new for her, and I can see her brain absorbing all her new surroundings like a sponge.
In April, I took my daughter to Colorado to see my paternal grandparents who are living in an assisted living home. Married over 60 years, these two were instrumental in my life and have given me immense lessons in love and family. My grandfather was a survivor of Polio, left with a slightly deformed foot, but not willing to accept being held back by such a "disability". He went on to be a successful baseball player, coach, teacher, and principle of a high school. My grandmother was a homemaker, raising three children, and was a talented musician and worked for many years with a school for the deaf. My grandmother began having tremors many years ago, and eventually was diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease. My grandfather's mother died of Alzheimers Disease when I was twelve, and now he has been diagnosed with beginning stage Alzheimers.( His sister also had some Alzheimers).
They are interesting to watch together now, my grandmother is mentally strong, but her body is slowing failing, while my grandfather looks the same as he always did, but he tells the same story over and over again and has a hard time discerning who is in the pictures hanging on his wall. It is hard to see them this way, but as they move into their mid 80's, seeing their world become simple as my daughters life becomes complex has turned on something in me that makes me want to preserve my brain as long as I can. After medical school, I had a series of blood tests on me as I hadn't been feeling well for years, most likely due to stress. One of the many things that was found, was that I was deficient in CoQ10 and some essential amino acids essential for dopamine (a neurotransmitter) production. I was told at that point that I was setting myself up for Parkinson's Disease, and since I may have a genetic predispositon to this, it was ESSENTIAL for me to address these deficiencies.
So where am I going with this long story you ask? I guess it's in witnessing life beginning and life ending, and how the brain can be as it's healthiest. Did my grandmother have the same genetic marker for deficiency and could she have prevented her Parkinsons? Was my grandfather genetically low in acetylcholine (a neurotransmitter) and thus inheritied Alzheimers from his mother?
Neurology has always been my greatest interest, and so I want to continue my research into the chemicals and personality that we all possess when we are born, and how our environment and choices through out life either enhance or inhibit health. I have family history of neurological disease, and I must be PROACTIVE in my brain health, so that my daughter or grandchildren never have to worry about me or themselves. This is why I have to figure out my brain... and if you relate to this story, I can help you understand yours.
Stay tuned to this blog each day for the simplified learning of the biochemicals that make up your nervous system! As always I look forward to your comments!