The psychopath gene can be expressed in one of two ways. Here's what stopped James Fallon's psychopathy from becoming destructive.
"I'm a very lucky psychopath," says neuroscientist James Fallon, who discovered he had borderline psychopathy while using his own brain scans in a double-blind study. Upon reflection it made a lot of sense, and now Fallon understands that it was his mother's good intuition in his developmental stage that set the course for how his psychopathy would be expressed as an adult. Good parenting and family connections can be the difference between an anti-social and a pro-social psychopath, and being kind to kids—in your family or in your neighborhood—who are struggling might just save the world from someone on the wrong side of psychopathy.
Most of the foods we consume are created for the supermarket shelf, not for our health, says psychiatrist Drew Ramsey. But you can boost your brain function and overall well-being with this one very low-tech, analogue tool: your grocery list.
If you have an appointment with psychiatrist Drew Ramsey, there’s no guarantee that you’re going to walk out of there with a bottle full of pills. Sometimes you’ll emerge with a recipe for a blueberry-avocado-kefir-nut smoothie. Or a shopping list for how to make kale pesto. Ramsey is leading the charge in a relatively new branch known as nutritional psychiatry. Physically, we can see the difference between someone with a good diet versus a poor diet, the external symptoms of nutritional deficiency are obvious, and so you don’t have to stretch the imagination too far to imagine the difference it might make internally, particularly to your cognitive abilities and your mental health.
Vitamin supplements are necessary for those of us with specific deficiencies, but according to Dr. Ramsey for comprehensive health in all spheres, a thoughtful and nutrient dense diet is much more effective than a multi-vitamin, for many reasons, not least of which is that supplements don’t deliver all forms of nutrients – as he points out, in the supplement bottle there is one form of vitamin E, whereas in the natural world there are eight varieties. These nutrient molecules are vital because they signal instructions to our system. "They literally travel from the end of our fork into our DNA and change how our genes get expressed and they turn on genes that keep us healthy."
Ramsey brings to attention the versatility of food, and breaks down the myth that providing good food for yourself or your family has to cost the world. In a move that salutes the character of Bubba from Forrest Gump, and his multi-scene soliloquy on the various ways one can cook shrimp, Ramsey does the same in this video for kale, and all the ways you can turn it into nutrient-dense brain food for just a few dollars – everything from kale soup to a kalejito.
From tips on how to improve your smoothie game, and waving farewell to outdated schools of thought that demonize fat, to ideas about food as a communal ritual, and accessing quality produce on a small budget, in this video Ramsey explains the molecular power within foods that can keep our brains and bodies running optimally. Research shows that eating a diet with plenty of plant-based whole foods, good fats, and some seafood (and reducing processed foods), can decrease your risk of an illness like depression by as much as 50 per cent.
Drew Ramsey's book is Eat Complete.