Build a Better Brain!  
Editor's Note - Sharon Rennhack:  
If you find this newsletter helps you and  it gives  you important information and treatment and practice ideas, please be sure to share with others on Facebook and in other social media communities. 
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- provides a unique speech therapy delivery model that focuses on Whole Person Recovery and Mindfulness in aphasia therapy.   

In  previous  editions of  the aphasiatoolbox newsletter,  we discussed  elements of  Whole Person Recovery, including spirituality,  meditation. physical exercise - as a way to help your  recovery.   Please note the previous   videos in our newsletter:  

In this month's edition, we discuss ways to build a  better brain - focusing specifically on physical exercise.  We examine the current research covering: 
- How does  exercise help people with stroke/aphasia?
- How does exercise  build neurons - ie   neurogenesis and neuroplasticity?
- How do you use the "tools"  of Whole Person Recovery  to ensure your continue and ongoing  recovery?   
- In his  video, Bill Connors discusses the current research and these tools as part of's hallmark approach to aphasia recovery.    
Bill Connors and the staff of  aphasiatoolbox have a combined 80+ years helping people with aphasia recover, thru our Whole Person Recovery program.    For more information, ideas and tools about aggressively traveling the recovery pathway, contact Bill Connors .       
When you have questions about aphasia,  the answer is aphasiatoolbox┬«.  We ARE aphasia recovery. 

For information on how we can expedite your recovery using the most effective and affordable tools,  contact us at ; OR click here to  schedule a free consultation  and select a 30 minute phone call with our an aphasia recovery expert. 
  Building a Better Brain in Recovery thru Exercise
In their  2011 book - "Power Up Your Brain: The Neuroscience of Enlightenment",  neuroscientist David Perlmutter and medical anthropologist and shaman Alberto Villoldo discuss and explore  the "phenomena of neurogenesis and mitochondrial health. "  Specifically,  they discuss  how physical exercise (and other elements of whole person recovery) help the brain recover by using  neurogenesis and  neuroplasticity. 
Neurogenesis refers to  the growth of new brain cells, and  neuroplasticity  refers to the brain's ability to reorganize itself by forming new neural connections throughout life. Neuroplasticity allows the "neurons (nerve cells) in the brain to compensate for injury and disease and to adjust their activities in response to new situations or to changes in their environment."   (Source:
The process of neurogenesis is controlled by our DNA, which uses  specific gene codes
for the production of a protein, BDNF;  BDNF or Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor is considered an important protein that influences brain function as well as the peripheral nervous system. BDNF influences a variety of functions including: preventing death of existing brain cells, inducing the growth of new neurons ( neurogenesis) and synapses, and supporting cognitive function.  While there are other ways to  build BDNF,  the  best and probably easiest way is thru physical exercise.  


The mechanisms by which exercise leads to brain growth and maintains brain health are not well understood. Researchers determine whether the VEGF hormone plays a vital role in an increase in brain volume after exercise.  Previous studies have found that exercise improves brain health, however, little is known about the mechanisms by which exercise leads to brain growth. In part, we know that exercise increases the volume of the hippocampus, which is important in learning and memory. This region of the brain is highly vascularized, meaning it has a rich blood supply. Both IGF-1 (a hormone that plays an important role in growth during childhood) and VEGF (a hormone that helps to stimulate the formation of blood vessels) can cross the blood-brain barrier and both increase in the bloodstream during exercise.   2017

It's not often that a personal training client's initial screening reads "blocked cranial arteries in the left hemisphere, 1 billion destroyed brain cells, inability to speak, and paralysis and loss of feeling in both right limbs."

Yet, with more than 800,000 people experiencing a new or recurrent stroke each year, and more strokes happening every day as the over-50 population grows (NSA 2017), trainers are increasingly likely to be assisting survivors coming out of occupational or physical rehab. In fact, because rehabilitation insurance coverage tends to be limited, personal trainers well-versed in working with stroke survivors can play a crucial role in supporting their return to independent, active and functional daily living.  2017 
Here,  Flint Rehab offers  a complete collection of exercises for stroke patients, where we will cover every muscle group from head to toe.  201
4.  13 Psychological Benefits of Exercise: On The Brain
Do you get enough exercise? We live in a culture that has become increasingly sedentary. Back when our ancestors were cavemen, they had to hunt for food, walk long distances, and build things, using their primal strength. The problem has become that many people make excuses to not exercise and actually criticize and/or put down people that go to the gym a lot. What's ironic is that not only is exercise an effective way to help you improve your physical performance, it's also one of the best ways to boost your brain power.  2014 
Note: The following studies are referenced in Bill Connor's video - "Build your Brain thru Exercise", Aphasiatolbox Newsletter, October 2017.
Exercise to remember what you study:
How does exercise differentially affect the brain:
Your brain gets more active during exercise:
Exercise to prevent dementia:
The best attitude for exercise:
Brain Health and Exercise:
Bill Connors discusses: 
Build your Brain thru Exercise 
In this month's edition of  the Aphasiatoolbox Newsletter and Video,  Bill Connors discusses  how  recent studies discuss  how physical exercise can  help help  your  brain.    
 Time:  05:41 

Stroke/Aphasia/Whole Person Recovery

The re-emergence of post-stroke symptoms and deficits after they have initially resolved is more common than previously thought and associated with a number of identifiable triggers and risk factors, according to a new study published online on August 7 in JAMA Neurology.  2017

Background: Anxiety goes largely undetected and undiagnosed in the aphasia population. Mindfulness programmes have been shown to be effective in reducing anxiety in populations with chronic disorders. These interventions have also shown effects on cognitive functioning including attention, executive function and working memory.  2017   
Summary: A new study reports the rhythm of your breathing can influence neural activity that enhances memory recall and emotional judgement.  Source: Northwestern University.  2016 
4.  Keto Diet May Hold Key to Treatments for Brain Inflammation
Could the ketogenic diet be a new resource in the fight against stroke? Researchers at the University of California San Francisco (UCSF) say they have identified a biological mechanism of the diet that reduces inflammation in the brain.  Their work could lead to new therapies to treat brain trauma, stroke, and other neurological issues.  2017

5.  The Brain's Way of Healing: Remarkable Discoveries and Recoveries from the Frontiers of Neuroplasticity,  Doidge, N. 2016. New York: Penguin.
Neuroscientists at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA have discovered precisely where and how to electrically stimulate the human brain to enhance people's recollection of distinct memories. People with epilepsy who received low-current electrical pulses showed a significant improvement in their ability to recognize specific faces and ignore similar ones.  2017 

Each year, the National Stroke Association honors outstanding groups and individuals who are making an impact in the stroke community. One of the eight winners in  the  2017 Raising Awareness In Stroke Excellence (RAISE) Awards in the Outstanding Support  Group  category is the Backstrokes - a community music group for stroke survivors The Backstrokes are located in Portland, OR.

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