Category Archives: Free-Lance Star Healthy Living Article

Dr Alattar writes a column about the brain and its mysteries, which is featured monthly in the Free-Lance Star’s Healthy Living section.

Brain shrinks, stroke risk rises in smokers

We know that smoking tobacco increases a person’s risk of cancer, heart attacks and strokes. But what do we know about how much harm smoking does to the brain? Way back in 1848, The Boston Medical and Surgical Journal described tobacco as a “Passage of an Iron Rod Through The Head.” This statement is not […]

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Neuroscience helps explain how we handle money

Money has the power to stir emotions and create drama fitting for a Shakespearean play. A raise in your salary gives you joy, but misery comes if you gamble your money away. You don’t mind risk taking because it paves the way to future success, but you’re panic-stricken when you lose money invested in stocks. […]

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Find peace, tranquility this holiday season

Doctor offers strategies for enhancing quality of life “Things do not change; we change.” These words were given to us a century ago by a wise man, Henry David Thoreau, who reminds us of the power within each individual. Holiday seasons are times when everyone is wishing for a little peace and tranquility, and hoping […]

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Lefties are in their right minds

Neurologist discusses left-handedness and what it says about how the mind works. Our body cherishes the idea of couples: two lungs, two kidneys, two eyes, two ears, two arms and two hands. Perhaps our organs need some company. Our two hands love to work with each other, but 90 percent of us tend to be […]

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Futuristic treatments may ease brain trauma

Implants, chips could help those who’ve suffered traumatic brain injuries. Sometimes a day can split our world into two parts—before and after. Greg, a patient of mine who is a sergeant in the Army, had such an unfortunate day. On a sunny and hot afternoon during his tour of duty in Iraq, he was traveling […]

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Music works magic on emotions, memories

Music can help you sleep better, relax and strengthen your mind. Mrs. DiLorenza was a frail and sweet 75-year-old piano teacher who was also a superb performer with agile fingers and a witty mind—not to mention her musical knowledge, which came from her days on The Juilliard School faculty. Twenty years ago, when I was […]

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Chronic pain can hurt your brain

With training, people can use their brains to minimize pain. Pine  is the Greek goddess of revenge. She punishes mortals who anger the gods. The word “pain” is derived from “Poine,” and the connection between Greek mythology and modern suffering opens a window to our view of pain. It’s a view that carries a feeling […]

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Teen brains are a work in progress

Lots of important development goes in on the brain during the teen years. But in one important area, the development lags When parents realize in horror that their 15-year-old son is turning into a creature resembling an alien in a movie scene, they are witnessing their teen’s brain metamorphosing right before their eyes. If your […]

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Meditation, prayer can ease anxiety

Spirituality and mindfulness help your brain A walk in a forest can be an opportunity for a physical workout, but for some, it is also a chance to connect with nature and be mindful of something beyond our being. Most of us have felt a sense of awe at a magnificent sunset or watching a […]

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Stress and bad sleep can lead to overeating, weight gain

Stress, bad sleep affect your weight Picture your brain as a pair of scales. When one side dips, the other side wants to bring balance back. If you get stressed or anxious, your brain wants to bring your stress level down and make you calm–and it wants to do something very quickly, because it seeks […]

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