What did we learn in 2019?
December 9, 2019
This is the year end edition of the SPA newsletter. This is the end of 9 years of writing and somewhere around 934 articles. This is always a great time to reflect on this year's learning and the themes that are developing in human health. This was an interesting year as many cutting edge scientific advances are gaining prominence in medical journals and not just the basic science literature. We are getting significantly smarter about the causes of disease. The comical part is that the answers have been around for a thousand years!
1) Inflammation continues to be the major identifiable root problem in diseases of aging and neuro-degeneration. Diet and mental stress are the primary drivers of all inflammatory issues. Mitigating risk REQUIRES lifestyle choices that are focused on movement, whole food Mediterranean diets, stress reduction and chemical avoidance.
2) Mental stress and the lack of quality psychiatric care is driving a disproportionate amount of disease morbidity in Americans. Medicine is woefully inadequately prepared to handle the changes that are present and coming. We do not have enough psychiatrists in the country to handle the disease burden. On top of this fact, we are less grounded as a society and it is showing in the cracks of behavior.
3) The modern media continues to glorify the ills of society. There is a persistent and heavy focus on negative events. The news cycle is depressing at best. The media industrial complex glorifies all of the wrong ideals for our kids to emulate. We need more focus on the positives in humans and less polarizing content showing the negatives and the worst parts of human behavior. Maybe then we can start to reduce baseline stress.
4) Meditation and prayer are highly beneficial and highly recommended for all Americans to help reduce stress, immune and hormone dysregulation and inflammation. The data is SOLID in the space. Just Do it.
5) Sleep is more important than ever as the mechanisms for cleaning the brain at night, reducing Alzheimer's risk, pruning unneeded neurons and memories, maintaining a high energy level and growth are being elucidated. Make sure that your kids are getting adequate sleep nightly. It is a big deal.
6) The intestinal microbiome continues to be a hotbed of research, but we are still far away from a simple answer other than a high fiber diet devoid of highly processed foods will significantly help grow and maintain the right bacterial flora.
7) The research on the use of pharmaceutical medications continues to shed light on the myriad risks related to chronic use of any medicine, especially the DMARD's for autoimmune disease. Chronobiology has informed us that timing of use is now a factor in drug risk for all mammals.
8) Wearable tech is gaining ground in functionality and the ability to deliver actionable data. As time progresses, leverage wearable tech to help you make changes to your choices that benefit your physiology.
9) Time restricted feeding and fasting are very useful for repair and longevity in the human body. Begin to review the data by listening to Dr. Rhonda Patrick or Peter Attia for more knowledge.
10) Podcast media is a fantastic way to consume high quality data while a captive audience in a car or otherwise. Especially, if you are an auditory learner.
11) Vaping and opioids have become a major risk for death driving the United States life expectancy downward for the first time in generations. We need to do a better job of finding alternative ways to deal with our pain non pharmacologically. This will help reduce the chance that an opioid medicine will end up in the wrong hands starting an addiction issue. The volume of children being born to opioid addicted mothers is staggering and heartbreaking simultaneously.
12) Screen time for adults and children alike is out of control. Pay attention to screen time and be conscious of time wasted. Make a pact to be more present moment with your kids and self.
As a parent - For the 2020 year - I would recommend that you not negotiate with your children on these things:
4) Chemical avoidance
5) Screen time
That is a recipe for health.