Brain Maps and Childhood Trauma – What they have to do with Alzheimer’s

Nov 29, 2017

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This week’s guest is Dr David Merrill MD, PhD, Assistant Clinical Professor, Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences at UCLA. Dr Merrill is an active proponent of prevention of Alzheimer’s and an expert in many areas relating to this.

Uncommon tests you can do to assess your risk:

Quantitative Electroecephalography – AKA: qEEG – and structural MRI are two technologies that are widely available. Dr Merrill explains how they can be used to assess if you have brain wave or structure changes that look like impending dementia.

qEEG essentially creates a map of the function and electrical activity of many of the parts of your brain. These maps can also give you an indication of how “efficiently” your brain is connected. Dr Merrill talks about the signatures that distinguish depression and cognitive impairment or dementia including Peak alpha frequency interpretation (<8 hz) and Evoked Response Potential and the p300 wave. Also there is a brief mention of how to keep your white matter (the connecting brain cell components) in tact.

A good “brain dose” of exercise is about 30 minutes a day, 5 times per week, intensity of the exercise should be enough so that you feel breathless/winded/sweaty. But recent evidence suggests that walking one mile per day about 6 days per week that this preserves gray matter (or the area in the in the brain that does the work so to speak, ie neurons).

We have a discussion around 23andMe and ApoE4 and Alzheimer’s genetics and how these relate to brainwave activity and the p300 wave.

Deep discussion about trauma, stress and concussion and their roles in developing Alzheimer’s and dementia. Discussion about the Adverse Childhood Experiences score.

Resources Mentioned:

  • Neuronetrix – Cognision is the office-based cognitive testing product that Dr Merrill uses.
  • Connect with Dr Merrill at


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