Dopamine and the Pleasure Pathway


The article above really got me thinking about how I talk to my patients about how to achieve optimal well-being

Dopamine pathways are at the heart of pleasure pathways. These are activated from a range of stimuli At one end of spectrum are positive things such as uplifting music to the tragic, all-to-common drug addictions

Unfortunately, in the United States, our food industry has figured this out as well. They have created hyper palatable foods that create a dopamine surge that is able to overwhelm our natural satiety centers, leaving us obese and moody

Food can be Medicine. If you eat mostly vegetables and whole grains and fruits, you will have a more consistent sense of well-being being and be less likely to crave detrimental things like sugary sodas or even illegal drugs


Omega 3 Fatty Acids

Today I tweeted out a brief interview with a doctor talking to Dr. Oz about the value of omega 3 fatty acids. These powerful fatty acids are found in many foods such as flaxseeds, salmon, tuna as well as almonds.

They cause positive health benefits in a multitude of ways. They can improve heart and joint health, improve the condition appearance of your skin and even help to improve and preserve memory and cognition. Most of the positive things they do are a result of their strong anti-inflammatory effects in our systems

Unfortunately, it has become more difficult to find the right balance of omega 3 fatty acids Along with a decreased nutrient content in our food over the past generation, there’s been a significant reduction in the beneficial ratio of omega 3 to mega 6 fatty acids. To help combat this, try eating some almonds every day or add flaxseed to your soups drinks, or smoothies. Also, if you can afford it, always reach for the free range chicken, eggs, and salmon as their omega 3 fatty acid content is significantly better as well.



Four weeks ago, I was involved in a high-speed crash. A lady failed to yield and turned left in front of me and I struck her at a approximately 60 miles an hour. I went from 60 to 0 in approximate 2 feet. I was taken to the nearby trauma center. Stubbornly, I laid there and said you know what I think I feel fine.

The next day it really hit me however. I began to have severe pain in my neck,chest, and mid back region. After attempting to treat it by myself and return to my normal exercise routine and only making matters worse, I decided to go to my doctor. She gave me a prescription for physical therapy.

The physical therapist emphasized stretching. This is such a simple but essential part of our exercise routine we so commonly neglect. After only several days of doing neck and upper back stretches I felt markedly better.

I tell my patients all the time that “motion is the lotion”. In order to increase our chances of optimal, pain-free motion, we should do stretching every day.


Disability In the United States


The above article provides a sobering commentary on the state of the disability system in the United States.

Currently approximately 9 million people are receiving social security disability benefits or approximately 5% of the available workforce. Many of these people have of given up any hope of ever returning back to work as less than 1% of people on disability ever do actually return to work.

As Physicians, we need to change the narrative. We need to put the “ability back into disability”. By directly confronting patients fears, identifying barriers to return to work, and looking for transitional work, many of these ex-workers on disability may be able to transition back to a productive work environment.


Health behavior interventions

The opioid epidemic in Ohio has had a incredibly negative affect on injured workers and their ability to return to work.

As a unique solution, Ohio Bureau of Worker’s Compensation has begun to encourage use of health behavioral assessments and interventions. An excellent webinar was recently posted to their site.

Put simply, health behavioral assessments use a variety of tools to identify barriers to return to work. These may include negative patterns of thinking including fear, work avoidance and unhealthy lifestyle habits.

Health behavioral interventions are then designed to address these roadblocks to return to work and healthy functioning. They’re not intended to address psychiatric or mood disorders, but serve more as a life coaching tool to optimize Ohio’s workers well-being.

The time has come for this tool to be used widely with our workers in the state of Ohio. Together, workers as well as employers will all benefit.