Mark Tommerdahl, Ph.D.

44 posts

Mushrooms, Alzheimer’s and Improving Brain Health Through Diet




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The Brain Gauge is a Functional Measure



A functional measure simply tells you how well something works. In the physical world, there are lots of functional measures. How fast can you run a mile? How much weight can you lift? How fast can you swim across the pool? Can you run up 2 flights of stairs without getting out of breath? These measures tell you something about performance and how well your body functions when it tries to do something - when it is stressed or pushing the envelope.

Why are functional measures important? After all, I


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Losing Your Mind Without Sleep



The question of “why do we sleep?” has long been asked and has never been well understood. Despite it being a subject of study as early as the 1700’s (although probably earlier), there is still a lot of uncertainty surrounding our need to spend up to a third of our lives in an unconscious state. As suggested by Jessen et al. (2015), the 25% reduction in brain energy metabolism isn’t really enough to suggest that sleep is a means of energy conservation. When thinking on an evolutionary scale,


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Obesity and Dementia: Is There a Connection?



How’s your new year’s resolution going? If you’re one of the stereotypical Americans who made a resolution to get in shape and lose weight this year, then you might also be the stereotypical American who loses motivation for that goal a few weeks into the new year. A new study published in Neurology may help you to regain that motivation.

It’s not uncommon for us to hear in the news about the negative effects that obesity can have on the peripheral parts of our body—things


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Autism: What kind of results could you expect from the Brain Gauge?



In another article, we discussed the nature of autism and how it guided the design of the Brain Gauge testing methods. One question that we often get is what Brain Gauge scores look like before and after treatment. We are often inquired whether Brain Gauge scores indicate if someone is improving or not.

Let’s take a look at one of the subjects in one of our autism studies. At the time, the patient was 22 years old, IQ in the 120 range and had an AQ of 38. He


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The test for aging dementia many people would like to avoid.



If you could take a test that predicts you are headed for a degenerative state, would you take it?

Over the past couple of years, I have had several interesting discussions with clinicians using the Brain Gauge revolving around the fact that some patients score poorly and don’t like their scores. These people generally fall into one of three groups:

  1. People that declare that they feel fine and that there is nothing wrong. Doubtful if they will seek help.
  2. People that are disturbed that their scores are poor, but


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PTSD, inflammation and more..



Although it is has been considered difficult to treat (and sometimes diagnose), it appears that one underlying symptom in PTSD is neuroinflammation.

It is estimated that approximately 8% of Americans will develop Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) at some point in their life, but nearly 70% of the same population will experience a traumatic situation. So why do some people develop PTSD while others do not? As is the case with TBI/concussion, ethics prevents controlled studies of the development of PTSD, but there are other ways to tease apart


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A sample step by step guide to use your Brain Gauge to monitor your brain health



One of the strengths of the Brain Gauge is that, when used correctly, it is able to detect changes in your brain function before those changes are large enough to cause physical symptoms. Early detection is paramount for slowing, halting, or even reversing the progression of any disease, which is why monitoring is so important, especially if you are at increased risk of developing a neurodegenerative disease. Monitoring could (and should) be done by a doctor, but it can also be supplemented with a Brain Gauge (we should note that


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Going head-to-head with other cognitive scoring systems: case study



There are lots of brain assessment tools commonly used for concussion, but they fail to consistently detect alterations in brain health.

The Brain Gauge system was designed to be used for a wide spectrum of neurological disorders and other situations that benefit from assessing brain health. From the beginning, we set out to design a system in which pre-injury “baseline” measures would not be necessary. After all, many clinicians see patients only after that patient has sustained a potentially concussive impact.

Similarly, it's difficult to approximate a patient’s brain


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Are my supplements working?



And perhaps more importantly, am I taking the right amount of supplements?

I am fascinated by the number of supplements on the market that claim all kinds of brain health benefits - things like better memory, optimized brain performance, and even reversal of the aging process. While I am not disputing or supporting any of these claims, what really impresses me is how many people take supplements on the blind faith that they will improve or optimize their brain performance. How do we know that supplements are actually helping us?


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