Dr. Williams was recently named to FAST COMPANY’ magazine’s 100 most creative people in business for 2012, and Advertising Age magazine’s 2012 creative 50 list. He is the Founder and President of Hip Hop Public Health, a recognized national leader in stroke education research, and currently serves as Chief of Staff of Neurology at Columbia University. His work has been funded by the National Institute of Health (NIH) at the federal level, the New York State Department of Health at the state level, and the New York City Department of Health at the city level. He is the recipient of numerous national and local awards for excellence in teaching, innovation in public health, and humanism in medicine.
There is hope to defeat stroke. There is science behind that hope.
According to the ACTIVE study group, mental exercises that involve any type of memory or reasoning activity may retard the decline in cognitive function and age-related loss of independence. These brain workouts are called “mental calisthenics.” Increasing populations of websites are now dedicated to keeping our brains in shape. Physical trainers are now giving way to “mental trainers” who use crossword puzzles, sudoku, chess, memory games, and even martial arts to burn the fat in our brains. Some of these mental aerobics programs even offer 30-day money back guarantees!
The line separating mental health from dementia is not the great distance we think it is. Not the gulf from which we feel ourselves physically removed. We all float on its vast cerebral surface from which access to the brink of a demented world is rapid. As our world ages and the number of people with dementia rises, it will not surprise me if these brain fitness classes find their way into the mainstream of American culture. But first we need more rigorous scientific evidence to support their surge.
Since publication of his well-received “Stroke Diaries” — a doctor’s thoughtful series of stories of his patients battles with stroke–Dr. Williams has continued to detail further stories in hopes that readers will better understand what increases one’s risk of stroke, the steps they can do to decrease it, and the immediate steps they can take to decrease the impacts of stroke.
This site will occasionally publish those new stories. This one, “A Golfer’s Stroke,” tells the story of Henry, his success in business, and how it and, of all things, golf, combined to reduce Henry to a shell of what he once was.
Distress signals arrive at the “fear network” of the brain. This crouching system is a maze of neural connections involving the amygdala, thalamus, brainstem autonomic centers, medial prefrontal lobe and the visual cortex. If awoken, this network can destroy even the most powerful minds without even dealing a blow. The neuro-chemical surge is like dragon fire within the brain. It invokes panic – and may trigger a nervous meltdown.
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