Lifestyle & the Frontal Lobe
"And I looked, and, lo, a Lamb stood on the mount Zion, and with him a hundred forty and four thousand, having his Father's name written in their foreheads."
Our lifestyles play a major role in the proper functioning of our frontal lobe. Therefore, we must focus on both the positive things we can do and the negative things to avoid.
Drugs that damage our Frontal Lobes
3. Other legal social drugs:
We all know, without a doubt, the danger that illicit drugs play on our mental performance. We have all witness on the news the damage that was caused by individuals who were under the influence of drugs. However, it seems to be worse than we ever thought. There is growing evidence that drugs affect the functionality of the brain long after their initial usage. Research funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse showed that college students who were habitual marijuana users had defects in their attention, memory, and learning even 24 hours after their last use of the drug.32 The effects on the brain were still evident long the high was over and the brain in essence functioned on lower terms. Marijuana has now been proven to harm the brain of the developing fetus. A mother who uses marijuana gives her child a lifelong legacy of brain impairment.33
32 Mathias R. Studies show cognitive impairments linger in heavy marijuana users. NIDA notes (National Institute on Drug Abuse) May/June 1996;11(3):1, 4, 9.
33 Fried PA, Gray R, Watkinson B. A follow-up study of attentional behavior in 6-year-old children exposed prenatally to marihuana, cigarettes, and alcohol. Neurotoxicology & Teratology 1992 Sep-Oct;14(5):299-311.
Many legal prescription and over-the-counter medications can also impair frontal lobe function. Any good medication reference book will prove this point clearly. You will find that many of these drugs have an influence on the central nervous system, and one of the most commonly affected areas of the central nervous system is the frontal lobe. On a personal note, my son suffers from seizures and one of the medications that he has to take caused his personality to change.
34 The Medical Letter 1989 Dec 29;31():113-118.
If you have even witnessed a person drunk, then you know without a doubt that alcohol definitely effects the frontal lobe. In fact, alcohol is one of the world's most popular and known frontal lobe destroyer, yet it is legal just about everywhere
Not long ago, alcoholics and non-alcoholics were studied to see what effects alcohol had on the brain. The researchers used magnetic resonance imaging equipment, better known as MRI and positron emission topography or PET scan. The MRI was used to look at the actual structure of the brain while the PET scan was used to look at its function. What the researchers found among alcoholics, was a striking amount of gray matter loss in frontal lobe area. The gray matter is where bodies of brain nerve cells are concentrated. What this indicated was an actual loss of brain cells in the frontal lobe. On the other hand, the PET scans revealed that alcoholics showed a lower glucose metabolism, indicating less frontal lobe activity.39
These impairments were not limited to heavy alcoholic users only. The researchers found a measurable decrease in abstract thinking ability among social drinkers as well. These individuals drank as little as one alcoholic beverage per week.
My friends, how can we serve the Lord if we can't understand what He desires of us. If our minds are destroyed, then we can't develop the mind of Christ! Scripture says, "Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging: and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise (Prov. 20:1). Let us not be deceived, alcohol impairs the mind and the mind that is impaired cannot please God.
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39 Wang GJ, Volkow ND, et al. Functional importance of ventricular enlargement and cortical atrophy in healthy subjects and alcoholics as assessed with PET, MR imaging, and neuropsychologic testing. Radiology 1993 Jan; 186(1):59-65.
Caffeine has far-reaching effects on the brain. This is not unexpected, since it is America's drug of choice for an early morning lift. However, a heavy price is paid for that stimulation. Let us look at how caffeine works and then explore some of its associated side effects.
Caffeine impinges on the brain's communication system in a number f ways. In exploring these relationships, we need to recall that brain cells talk to one another through chemical interchanges. nerve cells release chemical called neurotransmitters (or "chemical messengers") that are picked up by neighboring cells. These neurotransmitters then cause changes to occur in the cell that receives them. Some neurotransmitters cause stimulation of the recipient nerve cell, while others cause depression. Caffeine's widespread influence focuses primarily on its ability to affect the levels of two transmitters: acetylcholine and adenosine. Caffeine disrupts the brain chemistry by increasing the level of acetylcholine and interfering with the transmission of adenosine. Thus, caffeine upsets the delicate balance of nerve transmission in the brain, which may have devastating consequences. Adenosine tones down (or puts the brakes on) many aspects of brain nerve transmission. But caffeine weakens its power to do its work, thus allowing artificial stimulation of the brain from the caffeine.
The Brain's Adjustment to Caffeine
If caffeine is so good for us, as some lay people (and even some scientists) would like us to believe, it is interesting to note that the brain puts forth great effort to try to undo the effects of this popular legal drug. Under a situation of chronic exposure to caffeine, the brain tries to compensate in at least two ways. First, it decreases its production of acetylcholine. This appears to be a way to lessen the impact of the increased acetylcholine levels brought on by caffeine. Second, the brain increases its number of adenosine receptors. This is likely a response to give adenosine more of a voice in brain communication--in spite of caffeine blocking its role to some extent. Unfortunately, these brain changes contribute to caffeine dependency. Thus, brain structure and function have changed and consequently the brain actually comes to expect caffeine in its environment. This is one of the reasons why coffee users are so committed to their morning brew. If they do not get their caffeine, they fell that they are running at less than half-throttle. Even more so, if coffee users stop using the beverage, they are likely to develop withdrawal symptoms such as headache in addition to fatigue.
Other Potential Problems with Caffeine
Nutrients that Impair our Frontal Lobes
"They impart a strength, a power of endurance, and a vigor of intellect that are not afforded by a more complex and stimulating diet."
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"Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus."