Straight from the litter box: how toxoplasmosis alters the brain


Toxoplasmosis is caused by a parasite who sets up shop in the bodies of birds n’ mammals. The name of this parasite is Toxoplasma gondii (T. gondii).

M. Gandhi once said, “A nation’s culture resides in the hearts and in the soul of its people.”

But when T. gondii soullessly resides in the hearts… and in the souls… and in the brains of people, the results can be disheartening.

M. Gandhi the pacifist vs T. gondii the parasite

Via Deutsche Welle:

“Toxoplasmosis has been linked to schizophrenia, depression, autism — and even an increased risk of being involved in traffic accidents.”

Brain in a man's body

New research from German scientists reveals that T. gondii can mess with the brain’s messengers (synapses).

“Malfunctions of glutamatergic synapses are associated with depression, schizophrenia and autism. Components of the immune response also show links to these diseases,” says Ildiko Rita Dunay, an immunologist who worked on the study.

“This suggests that immune reactions may cause changes in the synapse that may lead to neuropsychiatric disorders.”

Toxoplasmosis life cycle

Toxoplasmosis is usually spread by exposure to infected cat feces (litter box, garden), eating poorly cooked food that contains cysts (typically found in pork, lamb, venison), or from mamma to child during pregnancy if the ma becomes infected.

No need to panic; there are preventions and cures for all of the above.

The most important takeaway from all of this is:

If you don’t like cats but you do love to garden, just think of how lucky you are to have become a virtual cat owner. Your garden is one big dreamy litter box, and, man, do those felines appreciate it… as does T. gondii.

Be well,
— T. Gandhi-Allen

Cute cats can wreak havoc on gardens

#toxoplasmosis #Gandhi #cats

#neurology #neurologist #Colorado #Wyoming #Cheyenne #FortCollins

Study: neckties are possibly mind-numbing

brain, news, stroke

Nerve-racking headline from NY Post:

“Wearing neckties reduces blood flow to the brain”

The Post goes on to reference a recent study from das University Hospital Schleswig-Holstein, where German scientists scanned the brains of 30 healthy young men, some of whom were necktied; others necktie-free. Their conclusion?

Neckties squeeze neck veins, thus potentially causing the slowing of brain processing.

The Post continues:

“The study found that guys wearing ties had 7.5 percent less blood flow.

In extreme cases, insufficient blood flow to the brain can kill organ tissue or cause a stroke.”

That’s a little extreme. Big story. Small study. Few men. Organ-killing.

Some might say more research is needed. I’d say it doesn’t take more funding for gaggle of researchers to deduce that neckties lead to mind-numbing discomfort.

If, indeed, there is a tie/brain crisis backed by science, fear not! Here are three easy solutions, all inspired by rad 80’s fashion…

1. Loosen the tie, lose the shirt, like drummer Roger Taylor from Queen:

2. Wear a loose bolero with a t-shirt, like Joe Strummer from The Clash:

The Clash's Joe Strummer wearing a bowler instead of a tie

Photo credit: Bob Gruen /

3. Nix the tie altogether; only wear scrubs, like Dr. Fink from Prince & The Revolution:

I’m going for the scrubs.

Study participants needed: impact of music therapy

brain, music therapy

Colorado State University Music Therapy program is conducting a study on the impact of music therapy on brain responses in children with autism.

They are “seeking children ages 6-12 for a study on the impact of a music therapy attention protocol on the brainwaves and behaviors of individuals on the autism spectrum.” Click here for details.

I’m a strong proponent of music therapy. Read more about my Compassionate Care Mission here.

83,000 brain scans: lessons learned

brain, memory, music therapy, Neurorehabilitation, videos

22 years
83,000 brain scans
from 93 countries

Lesson learned?

  • You are not stuck with the brain you have.
  • Brains can be rehabilitated.
  • You can make it better.

“When you have the privilege of changing someone’s brain, you not only change his or her life, you have the opportunity to change generations to come.” — Dr. Daniel Amen.

Amen. Aye, men.

Want to retrain your brain? Checkout Learning Rx in Fort Collins, led by Mike Winchell. He’s the Program Director. Learning Rx provides 1:1 brain training for people, ages 0-100.

When Mike’s not running the show at Learning Rx, you’ll find him fine-tuning his skills as guitarist in KD & The Painkillers*, a local band (I’m also a member).

*We’re performing this weekend at Island Grill in Fort Collins on Friday & Saturday eve. Please stop by to see our brains at work!

Pick a brain, literally: local youth to partake in human brain dissection

brain, events

I’m excited for my visit tomorrow at the CareerLaunch program of Boys & Girls Club of Cheyenne. Here’s the news release:


Copyright-free, post-event images/video available for download here.
These images may be reproduced without permission.

CHEYENNE, Wyoming, May 22, 2018 – Local neurologist Dr. Tim Allen, MD from Neurology Specialists of the Rockies (NSR) will appear at Boys & Girls Club of Cheyenne (BGCC) on Wednesday, May 23, 5:00pm – 6:00pm to discuss neurology, dissect a human brain and encourage careers in medicine.

“When kids see a real brain and can speak with a doctor in a down-to-earth manner, then the idea of a profession in medicine becomes a reality,” says Dr. Allen, who practices at NSR in Cheyenne.

Approximately 10-15 sixth and seventh-graders are expected to attend.

“If even one child’s interest is sparked to become a doctor after seeing my presentation at Boys & Girls Club, it’s a great thing for humanity, says Dr. Allen. “As an MD, they’ll impact thousands of lives.”

Dr. Allen will show samples of a male and female adult brain. He’ll discuss brain myths, neuroplasticity, the mental health/brain connection, and how to care for your brain.

His visit marks BGCC’s last CareerLaunch demonstration of the school year.

About the Boys & Girls Club of Cheyenne
Since opening in 1997, the Boys & Girls Club of Cheyenne has focused on inspiring and enabling all young people, especially those who need us most, to realize their full potential as productive, responsible, and caring citizens. Program areas offered to youth include character and leadership development, education and career development, health and life skills, the arts, computer training and sports/fitness/recreation opportunities. The Club provides afterschool and summer programming for youth ages 6-18. The annual fee for afterschool programming is only $10 per year. The Club’s main location and mailing address is 515 West Jefferson Road, Cheyenne, WY 82007 and The
Club at LCCC for senior high teens is located at Laramie County Community College, Center of Conferences and Institutes Building, Room 142. For more information, visit or call 307-778-6674.

About Dr. Allen
Dr. Allen provides compassionate care for adult and pediatric patients from Wyoming, Nebraska, Colorado and beyond. His integrated approach to healing includes music, art and animal-assisted therapies. As a member of The Roctors (a musical group comprised of doctors), Dr. Allen frequently plays charity benefits. This August, The Roctors will perform at a fundraiser for Boys & Girls Club of Larimer County. He is a co-
speaker for lobotomy survivor Howard Dully, who is a survivor of psychiatric abuse. Dr. Allen has been a neurologist since 1997 and has served nearly 10,000 patients. His practice, Neurology Specialists, is located at 2003 Bluegrass Circle, in Cheyenne. Dr. Allen’s newsletter is


May the 4th: May the force…

brain, brain injury prevention, holiday

Happy May the 4th Day. If you happen to be on Planet Geonosis and your brain is taken over by a brain worm, it’s highly advised you see a neurologist asap.

May the force of modern medicine be with you.


12 popular facts about the brain that aren’t true


You only use 10 percent of your brain. False.

Your memory declines with age. False.

Alcohol kills brain cells. False.

Digest more truths about brain falsities from Reader’s Digest by clicking here.

It’s a case of: “I always forget a face.”

brain, memory

Word of the day: prosopagnosia, also called face-blindness, is a cognitive disorder in which the person is unable to recognize familiar faces. There is no cure for the condition.

Prosopagnosics adapt by remembering non-facial cues to identify people (similar to a police-blotter) by memorizing descriptions such as height, weight, hair, voice, and other unique identifiers.

Notable prosopagnosics: neurologist/ author Oliver Sacks and artist Chuck Close. Learn more here.

#neurology #prosopagnosia