About Remedy Of Choice
Stephen Carter

Hi, I'm Stephen Carter.

Years ago I used to perform research as a physical scientist. Nowadays I spend much of my time writing about aspects of the health sciences.

Not too long ago I became interested in the subject of brain science.

While researching the subject I learned that women tend to be far more likely than men to be afflicted with a brain dysfunction at some point in their lives.

This discrepancy between the incidence rate of brain disease in women and men drew me to the science proposed to explain the effect.

Before long I discovered that the reason women are far more susceptible to neurodegenerative diseases than men (according to our present understanding) is that they alone go through a transitional phase which quite literally remodels their brain - and that phase is menopause.

Not long after learning this I began working on the brain health program I now offer on this site, which is Her Ageless Brain.

For the woman who is currently enduring menopause, or expects to do so soon, the short of it is that this program has been designed to help you heal your hormones and save your brain.

You can find a more thorough explanation of what Her Ageless Brain is about on the home page.

But if you are more curious right now about why exactly it was that I ended up creating this program (and not someone else) then keep reading...

If you become a member of the program it will eventually become clear to you that the story of women's brain health, and all the additional things you need to know to have a chance of maintaining it, is a lot to take in. This is why Her Ageless Brain is administered as a six-month program of both educational and actionable material. Because you are going to have to pace yourself.

Assembling the program, which is to say having to do the work of going out and finding the raw information to be boiled down into a coherent framework, and then massaging the result of that into something which might be understood by someone with no prior knowledge of this subject... well, this proved to be not the least bit easy.

It takes a particular kind of person to do it.

As it happens, and not so coincidentally it seems, I have a very strong record of choosing to go all in on these not too easy to pull off projects when they come my way.

I suspect this tendency of mine may be more of a character flaw than it is a strength. That's because I do not know how many times I have decided I am "up for the challenge" only to discover later that the amount of work involved is much more than I expected it would be.

This is also about the point when your boss starts pressuring you to cut corners and just get something out. But oh, not me. I am either going to do it right, and in the manner I initially envisioned, or not at all, which has got me pegged on more than one occasion as "not a team player".

So yes, I can be singularly pig-headed at times. But that does help to see a project like Her Ageless Brain through to completion.

However it is not enough just to be able to complete the job.

The end result also needs to be fricken awesome if it is going to be offered for sale.

That means not only does one have to get the details right, but the end user also needs to be confident they are being presented with an accurate picture of the truth, which these days can be a challenge in itself given the proliferation of disinformation in the public domain.

Let me show you what I mean with a quick example.

Not long ago I came across a story about the ability of exercise to - within a matter months - improve blood flow to the brain, and by extension brain function. For anyone hoping to lower their risk of cognitive dysfunction this is can be viewed as promising news.

On the face of it the story provides yet more evidence that all those cycles on the treadmill are not a complete waste of our time!

The headline and introductory graphic for the story, repeated in multiple places on the internet, looked a lot like this:

Physical exercise improves brain function and is believed to help fight Alzheimer's
mri image of glucose metabolism
Representative CT scan of glucose metabolism in the brain of a participant in the usual low-level physical activity group (left) and a participant in the moderate-intensity aerobic training group (right). Red indicates a higher degree of glucose metabolism in the brain.

But are these claims true?

Is the story representative of the conclusions arrived at by the science carried out in an effort to investigate the ability of exercise to mitigate against the initiation and progression of neurodegenerative disease?

In fact, the headline, the image, and the image caption are all misleading.

When you read the text and look at the image what you appear to be getting is undeniable proof that the rate of energy consumption (a measure of neural activity) in the brains of people who exercise is higher than for people who do not exercise.

You can see one brain is clearly "warmer" than the other.

But in fact the image does not appear to be associated with the study from which the conclusions are drawn. It does happen to be an MRI image from the same laboratory to which the authors of the study are attached. But the image caption appearing with the image on the laboratory web page is quite different:

Representative brain FDG PET scan from two individuals at high (left) vs low (right) risk for Alzheimer's disease. Red indicates a greater degree of brain glucose metabolism.

Specifically, there is no mention of anything to do with an exercise study. All we are told here is that one brain is metabolically active while the other is less so (suggesting impaired neural activity and/or reduced brain volume).

In the quoted study the participants all have elevated risk of Alzheimer's disease, but no MRI scans are presented. This is probably because the difference in glucose metabolism between the two studied groups (one of which underwent supervised sessions of aerobic exercise three times each week, while the other did not) is actually very small.

In fact, if you were to look at the MRI images for individuals in the two groups you would likely not be able to tell who belonged to which group. This is because the difference in the average energy output for each group is less than 3 percent, and the variability of the energy profile within the groups is of the same order.

To look at the MRI scans presented in the story shown above you might think the difference is 10 times the observed amount, or more.

So, a misleading image, a false image caption...

What about the headline itself which claims the study shows improved brain function for the exercising group?

Yes, the study does show improved (executive) brain function for the group that exercised. It was tested and measured before and after 26 weeks of exercise. But the observed improvement is not a result with statistical significance.

The calculated odds that the conclusion might be reversed if the study was repeated with the exact same setup is about the same as the toss of a coin. Around 50 percent.

[ For the statisticians out there the p value associated with the brain energy comparisons was 0.482, whereas significance was acknowledged by the authors to be reached when p is less than 0.05 - or one chance in twenty that the result is a statistical fluke. ]

Why am I going to such pains to point all this out to you?

It is because I am very wary of taking other people's conclusions at face value. I always assume that the information I am getting might have been incorrectly interpreted in the first place, and then degraded even more by those who repeat the information while at the same time they perform their own interpretation of the reported claims.

If you are serious about taking the right actions to preserve the health of your brain then you cannot afford to be accepting as true every apparently proven claim you come across.

There needs to be some kind of filter through which the information goes before you take it on board as credible.

This is what the Her Ageless Brain program provides you with, a filter which relies on my brain and an insistence that the information presented to you has to be faithful to the original science publications from which it is assumed to have come.

As I mentioned at the top of this page, I am a former scientist, so what you will be getting with Her Ageless Brain is my scientific judgement on what qualifies as credible information that you might consider taking on board.

The rest of it I will have discarded long before you ever get a chance to see it, which is the way I think this should work :)

Stephen Carter, Ph.D.