three people at the brain health consortium

palm health foundation logoPalm Beach County is uniquely poised to become a leader in brain health due to Palm Health Foundation’s Brain Health Innovation Fund. This community foundation is currently providing mental health first aid programs, teaching residents how to care for the brain, responding to the opioid crisis, reducing the stigma surrounding mental challenges, and funding a mindfulness-based study. In partnership with Florida Atlantic University and other local scientific research entities, plans are underway to make Palm Beach County a model for other communities regarding brain health.

At their recent fundraising luncheon at the Kravis Center, eight speakers rotated through three stages to talk about the opioid crisis, neighborhood outreach, parenting and brain development, and educational breakthroughs in neuroscience. Two of the speakers were local high school students who have participated in the Florida Atlantic University Biomedical Sciences Academy.

The overall message was one of awareness. We often forget that healthy brains are vital for healthy bodies. There is no separation of mind and body, as chiropractors have known all along.

Daily Brain Health Tips

  • Take a break to stretch.
  • Offer random acts of kindness to someone.
  • Turn off electronics 1 hr before bedtime.
  • Take a walk in nature.
  • Think of 3 things you’re thankful for.
  • Try a breathing exercise or meditation.

Tips provided by Train the Brain, from the Palm Health Foundation. Visit them for more!

Introducing Eunice Vazquez

eunice vasquez head shotWe’re pleased to introduce our newest staff member, Eunice Vazquez, who will be working at the front desk. Eunice was born and raised in Miami and is fluent in both Spanish and English. She worked at Jackson Memorial Hospital in the maternity ward as an admitting clerk. She loves decorating friends’ homes and watching black and white movies. She believes wellness is an important part of living a carefree life. Please join us in welcoming her to the Mallen Chiro family. (photo by Adriana Garcia)

Doctor Cure Thyself

photo of Ed Mallen, Chiropractor, West Palm Beach, FLIt’s common in our society to reach for relief when we feel pain. Doctors prescribe pain medication routinely for any number of medical procedures and injuries. Some of this is indicated, but over the last decade more medical professionals are questioning prescribing practices. Chiropractors believe that much can be done for pain without resorting to medication.

I was surprised to hear during the recent luncheon on brain health that 40-60 percent of addiction is genetically linked. I wasn’t sure I heard that right, but upon researching it I see that the National Institute on Drug Abuse says “as much as half of a person’s risk of becoming addicted to nicotine, alcohol, or other drugs depends on his or her genetic makeup.”

As a health professional, this tells me that much of a patient’s challenges with addiction are inherited, which in many ways should lessen the stigma. We can all do a better job offering any addicted person compassion rather than judgment.

Now that many doctors are aware of the prescribing risks, we are making some progress. With the closures of pain clinics and a crackdown on the problematic sober homes in South Florida, deaths due to opioids have decreased. Yet, unfortunately, fentanyl abuse is now a larger problem. The Sun Sentinel reported in an article in Nov 2019 that Palm Beach County had the highest rate of death due to fentanyl overdose in the state.

Chiropractic care can assist in the recovery process. Consumption of opioids and other drugs reduces the body’s ability to produce our natural feel-good chemicals, endorphins. Modalities like chiropractic adjustments, massage, acupuncture have been proven to be efficacious in reducing pain. Once pain is reduced, patients can benefit from an exercise program that helps with oxygenation of cells and an eventual return to a normal release of endorphins.

As much as it’s important to avoid substances that are addictive and deleterious to our health, it’s also important to exercise the brain. There are so many ways to improve brain performance and cognition. Besides crossword puzzles and sudoku, you can find a variety of brain exercises on the internet. Yet, I’d like to share some simple things I do from time to time.

I started doing these years ago, not from a concrete sense that I wanted to train my brain. I just found them fun and interesting. I knew instinctively that these activities were good for my brain. Here are a few of my favorites:

“Left-Handed Morning” Every once in a while, choose to do your morning routine (eating breakfast, drinking coffee, brushing my teeth, etc.) with your left hand (if you’re left-handed, use your right). You’d be surprised how challenging it is, but it also is weirdly gratifying.

“Eyes Closed” Complete some morning tasks with your eyes closed. Choose the day’s clothing by using your tactile senses, feeling the texture of your clothes. Walk from room to room with eyes closed gauging the location of objects by feel. *Disclaimer: If you have any concerns about your balance or have any fall risks, stick to stationary seated activities (like eating) with your eyes closed. Certainly, don’t try this while walking down the street, biking, or driving. Haha.

The point is to mix things up. Take a new route to work or listen to a different type of music. Just remember that your brain is an incredibly important part of you and deserves some attention in your wellness journey.


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