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Exercise Your Brain

Posted May 08 2013 10:09pm

Mild cognitive impairment (cognitive decline that is more than normal for someone of a specific age) affects 10%-25% of people over age 70. The annual rate of decline to dementia (which is cognitive decline in several areas along with some functional ability) is about 10%. With an aging population, it is estimated that the prevalence of dementia worldwide will escalate sharply.  Raza Naqvi, from University of Toronto (Canada), and colleagues reviewed 32 randomized controlled trials to assess assorted therapies purported to address age-related cognitive decline.  The researchers found that mental exercise showed benefits in the three clinical trials included in the review. This involved computerized training programs or intensive one-on-one personal cognitive training in memory, reasoning or speed of processing. In one trial, participants had significantly improved memory during 5-year follow-up periods. Another study showed an improvement in auditory memory and attention in a group of seniors who participated in a computerized cognitive training program.   Citing that: ” The studies in this review that assessed cognitive exercises used exercises that were both labor- and resource-intensive,” the lead author suggests that: “we encourage researchers to consider easily accessible tools such as crossword puzzles and Sudoku.”

Raza Naqvi, Dan Liberman, Jarred Rosenberg, Jillian Alston, Sharon Straus.  “Preventing cognitive decline in healthy older adults.”  CMAJ, April 15, 2013.

  
A cup of beetroot juice a day may help reduce blood pressure by as much as 10 mm Hg.
Routine dental cleanings and treating periodontal disease may reduce a person’s risks of ischemic stroke.
A diet rich in antioxidants may reduce a woman’s risk of heart failure by 42%.
Stroke and subclinical markers of vascular disease may be predicative of those older patients with type 2 diabetes who may develop cognitive decline.
Cognitive training exercises – and completing crossword puzzles and Sudoku – may help to prevent cognitive decline in aging.
Diets laden with fried and sweet foods, processed and red meats refined grains, and high-fat dairy products reduce a person's likelihood of achieving older ages
Post-workout aches and pains can be effectively relieved by a short bout of light exercise.
American Cancer Society urges that a coordinated effort to change individual health behaviors could prevent much of the suffering and death from cancer.
The indigestible carbohydrate content in barley kernels may increase satiety hormones and reduce subsequent energy intake.
Netherlands researchers suggest that men who have higher levels of the mineral selenium may be at a lower risk of developing advanced prostate cancer.
Stroke and subclinical markers of vascular disease may be predicative of those older patients with type 2 diabetes who may develop cognitive decline.
Viral and bacterial infections may lead to compromised cognitive skills.
Atrial fibrillation, the most common cardiac arrhythmia, associates with cognitive impairment and dementia, with or without a history of clinical stroke.
Men and women ages 65+ could boost their cognitive function by learning to use Facebook.
Resveratrol, an antioxidant substance found abundantly in red grapes and red wine, may have the potential to protect against hearing loss and cognitive decline.
Higher levels of thrombogenic microvesicles may raise the risk of developing white matter hyperintensities (WMH) in the brain, among postmenopausal women, blood
Older adults may improve their decision making and working memory simply by maintaining a positive mood.
Cardiac disease is an independent risk factor for mild cognitive impairments presaging vascular dementia, among older women.
Dysfunctional pathway may explain the relationship between brain deterioration, sleep disruption and memory loss as we age.
Among older adults, hearing loss associated with accelerated cognitive decline and cognitive impairment.
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Tip #160 - Brew Better Health
Certain studies suggest that coffee mitigates disease by reducing inflammation in blood vessels and supporting the normal function of the blood vessel lining. Coffee also is a rich source of antioxidants and magnesium, nutrients that are key in maintaining cardiovascular and circulatory health.

Researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health (Massachusetts, USA) studied 20 years of data collected on 41,736 men who participated in the Health Professionals Follow-up Study, and 86,214 women involved in the Nurses’ Health Study. The team found that in general, regular coffee consumption was linked to a slightly lower risk of death from any cause, and from cardiovascular disease in particular. Among women, those who drank at least 2 to 3 cups per day were one-quarter to one-third less likely to die of heart problems or stroke than women who did not drink coffee. For men, a protective effect was seen when drinking 4 to 5 cups daily.

A team from the University of Kuopio (Finland) completed a 21-year long study involving 1,409 men and women, ages 65 to 79 years old at the study’s concluding point. The researchers found that those study subjects who drank 3 to 5 cups of coffee a day at midlife lowered their risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease by 65%, as compared to those who drank no or a little coffee.

Opt for drip brewed coffee – the kind that uses a paper filter. Coffee beans contain cafestol, a very potent dietary cholesterol-elevating compound. Whereas paper filters remove much of the cafestol during the drip brew process, French press coffee, Turkish and Scandinavian preparations, and espresso retain very high levels of cafestol.

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