The Role of Lifestyle Choices in Decision-Making: Becoming a Conscious Architect of Your Brain

    Thursday, February 18, 2021: 3:30 PM - 4:30 PM



    Our physical and mental wellness significantly reflect the decisions we make on a daily basis. Leading edge research has identified two distinct brain regions that are fundamentally involved in decision making. Decisions and actions that are manifestations of activity primarily derived from the amygdala are characterized by impulsivity, short term reward, and self centeredness. The prefrontal cortex, offers up a top down modulating influence on amygdala based behavior and broadly serves to coordinate behaviors and decision making activities that favor empathy, long term planning, and more critical evaluation of various factors that contribute to decision making. 
    Lifestyle choices, including diet, exercise, sleep, meditation and nature exposure highly influence the degree of connectivity between these important areas. Lack of restorative sleep, for example, is detrimental to this important relationship and favors the development of disconnection syndrome - a situation in which poor decision making and lack of empathy are predominate.  
    Understanding this paradigm is especially relevant for healthcare providers as it begins to focus not on the decisions our patients make, be they good or bad, but more importantly, how our patients make their decisions.  
    This presentation will detail the rich scientific underpinning that demonstrates the powerful influence of specific lifestyle choices on our actual brain wiring that either sets the stage for making better choices for ourselves and others, or ushers in a decision making process that focuses only on immediate reward for oneself while disregarding the needs of others. We will review the central mechanistic role of inflammation, in disconnection syndrome with specific emphasis on how it is modulated by our lifestyle choices. 

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