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Food for Thought

Posted Jun 25 2013 10:07pm
Posted on June 25, 2013, 6 a.m. in Brain and Mental Performance Diet

Previously, a number of studies have shown that adherence to a Mediterranean diet – rich in olive oil, nuts, as well as fruits, vegetables, and legumes, and limited amounts of dairy products, red meat, soda drinks, processed meats, and sweets – inversely associates with cardiovascular risks. Nikolaos Scarmeas, from Columbia University Medical Center (New York, USA), and colleagues studied 522 men and women, ages 55 to 80 years, who were absent of cardiovascular disease but at high vascular risk due to underlying diseases or conditions – such as type-2 diabetes, high blood pressure, high blood fats, overweight, and other factors. Study subjects consumed a Mediterranean diet for an average of 6.5 years, either supplemented with added extra-virgin olive oil or mixed nuts; or a low-fat regimen. At the end of the study period. the subjects were tested for signs of cognitive decline via standardized assessments. The researchers found that 60 subjects developed mild cognitive impairment: 18 on the olive oil supplemented Mediterranean diet; 19 on the diet with added mixed nuts; 23 in the control group. A further 35 subjects developed dementia: 12 on the added olive oil diet; six on the diet with added mixed nuts; 17 in the control group. The average scores on standardized cognitive testing for significantly higher for those subjects following either of Mediterranean diet variations, as compared to those in the control group. The team suggests that this study is the first long-term trial to assess the type of Mediterranean diet on brain power, and that it adds to the increasing body of evidence suggesting that a high-quality dietary pattern seems to protect cognitive function in the aging brain.

Nikolaos Scarmeas.  “Mediterranean food for thought?" J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry, 3 June 2013.

  
A drug that controls type-2 diabetes may help to repair spinal cords affected by inherited neurodegenerative disease, in a mouse model.
Consuming a Mediterranean diet, with added extra-virgin olive oil or mixed nuts, improves the brain power of older men and women.
High-dose B vitamins help to prevent shrinkage of a specific region of the brain associated with Alzheimer's Disease.
Nanoparticles derived from natural lipids present in grapefruit may be deployed as novel drug delivery vehicles.
Mice injected with a hormone called growth differentiation factor 11 (GDF11) experience a reversal in signs of cardiac aging.
A diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids may help to lessen neurodegeneration caused by eating junk food.
Taking a daily dose of the pine bark extract pycnogenol may help to improve risk factors associated with metabolic syndrome.
Many women in their 40s are still have regular breast cancer screenings despite national guidelines recommending otherwise.
Giving children at elementary school an extra 60 minute gym class each week significantly reduces their risk of being obese by fifth-grade.
Scientists warn that many kinds of cinnamon-flavored foods contain a cheaper form of the spice that contains a substance that may cause liver damage.
A diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids may help to lessen neurodegeneration caused by eating junk food.
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.
Anti-Aging Forum MLDP Join A4M
Tip #181 - Stay Stimulated
Researchers from the Mayo Clinic (Minnesota, USA) studied 197 men and women, ages 70 to 89 years, with mild cognitive impairment, or diagnosed memory loss, and 1,124 people that age with no memory problems. Both groups were surveyed as to their daily activities within the past year and in middle age, when they were between 50 to 65 years old. The team report that during later years, reading books, playing games, participating in computer activities and doing craft activities such as pottery or quilting led to a 30 to 50% decrease in the risk of developing memory loss (as compared to people who did not engage in these activities.)

Albert Einstein College of Medicine (New York, USA) researchers studied 488 cognitively healthy men and women, following their habits in engaging in cognitively stimulating leisure activities and charting the onset of accelerated memory decline. The team found that for each additional activity day spent reading, writing, doing crossword puzzles, playing board or card games, engaging in group discussions, or playing a musical instrument, older individuals who eventually developed dementia delayed the onset of accelerated memory decline by more than two months.

Engage in mentally stimulating activities. Crafting, reading books, playing board games, doing a crossword puzzle or Sudoku, and surfing the Internet are not only fun ways to learn new things, but may help protect against future memory loss as well.
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