Brain Health,

#058: Neurotoxins: Villains of the Brain

December 29, 2014

Jesse speaks with Dr. David Bellinger, Professor of Neurology at Harvard Medical School and Senior Research Associate in Neurology and Psychiatry at the Children’s Hospital Boston. Dr. Bellinger explains how neurotoxins in our environment affect our development and tells us how we can best protect our brains and the brains of our children.

We’ll also hear about neural net computers that are slowly-but-surely catching up to primates in their ability to process visual information, and how our brains’ processing speeds could affect our eating habits.

Show Notes
  • 00:01:27

    This Week in Neuroscience: Computers' Visual Neural Networks Catch Up to Primate Brains

  • 00:04:54

    iTunes Review thank-yous

  • 00:05:41

    Listener email regarding Episode 56: Ketosis Vs Cancer, and plans for a group 7-day water fast

  • 00:08:30

    Introduction to Dr. David Bellinger and the toxins that threaten our brains

  • 00:12:37

    What are the greatest neurotxic dangers in our current environment and what can we do to avoid them?

  • 00:14:58

    Potecting the brains of teenage and adult brains as opposed to those of children and pregnant women

  • 00:16:00

    Only One Chance by Philippe Grandjean

  • 00:16:53

    Where is the optimum environment for healthy brain development?

  • 00:18:28

    Leaded gasoline: a decades-long experiment in mazimizing population exposure to brain poison

  • 00:20:04

    Are we "dumber" now than 150 years ago?

  • 00:21:03

    Methylmercury levels in seafood and comments on Episode 51: The Aquatic Origins Of Your Brain

  • 00:26:39

    Is Fluoride dangerous?

  • 00:28:24

    Ethanol and brain development

  • 00:30:06

    How we've collectively lost an estimated 41 million IQ points

  • 00:35:13

    Ruthless Listener-Retention Gimmick: How Your Brain's Speed of Processing Affects Dietary Self-Control


  1. Daniel says:

    Just to add a little to the mercury and fish discussion: I think there is an even more detailed, nuanced perspective of it to be heard in this podcast episode by Chris Kresser.

    In the above episode (58) Dr. Bellinger did go into different types of fish to eat or avoid to some extent but didn’t talk about it in depth or address the selenium-to-mercury balance, and the mechanisms of toxicity which are discussed in the Chris Kresser podcast as well as this article:

    Thanks Jesse for the very interesting podcast episodes! I have several more in my feed to catch up on.

    1. Jesse Lawler says:

      Thanks Daniel — I’ll be checking out those links. The episode with Dr. Michael Crawford also has a bunch of mercury-specific information (again, touting the same ideas that the mercury-in-seafood-scare is overblown). As a fan of seafood – and of brains – all this info has made me happy… and changed my diet.

  2. ben says:

    Regarding the comment made about Flouride and the lingering effects it may have, there was a fantastic episode of Radiolab entitled ‘Inheritance’, where they talked about epigenetics and how famine in one generation leads to healthier grandchildren!

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