Brain Health, Novel Stimuli, and Actionable Advice to Keep You Sharp as You Age
Tommy Wood BM BCh, PhD is a neuroscientist, elite-level professional nerd, and performance consultant to world class athletes in a dozen sports. He received an undergraduate degree in biochemistry from the University of Cambridge, a medical degree from the University of Oxford, and a PhD in physiology and neuroscience from the University of Oslo. Tommy is an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics and Neuroscience at the University of Washington and Visiting Scientist at the Institute for Human and Machine Cognition. His research focuses on brain health and brain injury treatment across the lifespan, as well as developing easily-accessible methods with which to track health, performance, and longevity in both professional athletes and the general population. Tommy serves as deputy editor of the Wiley Journal Lifestyle Medicine, is a Director of the British Society for Lifestyle Medicine, and consults for a number of digital health companies and charities that focus on how lifestyle and the environment can affect long-term health and chronic disease.
We really appreciate Tommy’s unique perspective working as a physician and neuroscientist from pediatrics up through aging adults. This episode is packed with practical information about brain health and maintaining cognitive function as we age.
Points of interest in the episode:
05:10 Tommy’s background
08:30 Diverse perspectives; Range by David Epstein
10:15 The pillars – sleep, nutrition, and cognitive function – are always important
11:15 Defining brain health; Dr. Josh Turknett
14:35 Stimulus and adaptation
15:11 Sauna, while not a panacea, actually does tick a lot of boxes
15:27 Age-related determinants of brain health
18:44 3 mechanisms for memory changes as we age
22:30 It’s not that as we get older, our cognitive function declines, It’s that we’re using our brains less
23:13 Which stimuli are best for your brain?
23:55 Brain age of musicians vs. non-musicians
27:30 Allowing for failure as a learning tool
28:50 The correlation between physical strength and brain health
38:07 The London taxi driver study: The Knowledge
39:50 The correlation between strength and disease; Gabrielle Lyon
43:45 The brain can heal; Dr. Norman Doidge
46:00 Brain health recommendations
48:20 Novel activity
49:15 Community impact on brain health
50:30 Mindless scrolling, Sudoku, Wordle
52:00 How social isolation affects our health; George Slavich UCLA
55:40 Dementia cases in postmenopausal women; Lisa Mosconi
59:10 Formula 1
63:00 The basics still really matter; Built to Move
66:10 Supplementation and blood panel recommendations
68:50 What’s next
70:10 Tommy’s socials
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