Our Noggin Story
Facing into the diagnosis of a condition with no cure and that was only going to worsen over time is a tough pill to swallow. When you are ‘the doctor in the family’ your nearest and dearest look to you for answers to their questions about why, what happens next and what can I do?
Back in 2013, when it came to the conditions we were facing as a family -Multiple Sclerosis, Alzheimers Dementia and Anxiety- the answers I had for my family were “I don’t know why”, “Nothing good happens next” and “there isn’t that much you can do”.
In parallel, as a first time mum of a newborn, I watched our infant son develop and learn day by day. Did our amazing brains really just give up the ghost when they were struck with disease? Neurology ( the medical speciality that deals with all things brain) had scared me as a medical student- conditions with difficult to pronounce names and groups of symptoms that were hard to piece together.
I knew the brain was a complicated and complex organ but I couldn’t wrap my own head around the fact that we were facing a brick wall with these brain affecting conditions.
What I learned from my own research into how the health of our brains can be helped, preserved and actually improved, EVEN in the face of scary diagnoses like the ones we were facing, was jaw dropping. After many years of clinical practice as a Doctor, I was well versed in heart health, skin health and lung health but I will be honest- Brain Health was a brand new concept.
The research was there (and is growing on a day by day basis) and this is just some of what I discovered –
Our brains can be changed at any stage due to this cool thing called neuroplasticity
By making brain healthy choices we can improve our mental health (even if you have a diagnosis such as depression).
When we sleep our brain doesn’t actually shut down but does all sorts of important jobs to help our brains stay healthy. As a result how we sleep is incredibly important for our brain and even our risk of developing dementia
What we eat can improve our mood, reduce risk of depression and in some cases, radically improve conditions such as MS
Our gut and our brain are in constant communication ( hence ‘ the butterflies’ when we get nervous) meaning that the gut has the name ‘the second brain’. The health of our gut is a whole other big important topic that has a direct link to the health of our brain.
Certain nutrients have been shown to help with different aspects of brain and mental health- including energy, ability to focus and symptoms of stress
Our brains thrive on new challenges and that learning can take place at all stages of life
Who we spend our time with and how we communicate with people can actually change the wiring of our brain
Being kind as well as being optimistic are scientifically proven to help our brain stay healthier as well as help us feel better
There is a HUGE science and evidence base around meditation, mindfulness and relaxation to mitigate some of the big effects stress can have on our wellbeing (things that I had previously considered a bit ‘out there’ and not ‘my thing’ )
And, even as a reluctant exerciser, there was no denying that exercise, movement and being active in any form at any age are our brains secret weapon.
I wanted to shout this from the roof tops, but I’ve always been told I speak too quietly, so we created Noggin The Brain People. To help you look after your noggin and the noggins of those you care about most.
Dr Clara Russell
Mum, wife, daughter, GP
Co founder ‘Noggin the Brain People” Because your brain is amazing. And it needs looked after.