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Infection May Raise Risks of Cognitive Problems

Posted Apr 10 2013 10:09pm
Posted on April 9, 2013, 6 a.m. in Infectious Disease Brain and Mental Performance

The virus that causes cold sores, along with other viral or bacterial infections, may associate with cognitive problems.  Mira Katan, from Columbia University Medical Center (New York, USA), and colleagues tested thinking and memory in 1,625 people, average age 69 years, enrolled in The Northern Manhattan Study.  Participants gave blood samples that were tested for five common low grade infections: three viruses (herpes simplex type 1 (oral) and type 2 (genital), and cytomegalovirus), chlamydia pneumoniae (a common respiratory infection) and Helicobacter pylori (a bacteria found in the stomach).  The results showed that the people who had higher levels of infection had a 25% increase in the risk of a low score on the Mini-Mental State Examination, with the study authors commenting that: “Past infections may contribute to cognitive impairment.”

Katan M, Moon YP, Paik MC, Sacco RL, Wright CB, Elkind MS.  “Infectious burden and cognitive function: The Northern Manhattan Study.”   Neurology. 2013 Mar 26;80(13):1209-15.

  
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Tip #145 - Mind the Micronutrient
An essential trace element which is necessary for growth and protein synthesis, selenium acts as an antioxidant to protect cells from free radical damage that may contribute to aging and many age-related diseases. Johns Hopkins University of Public Health (Maryland, USA) researchers studied more than 13,800 subjects for 12 years, and found that a modest selenium level, between 130 and 150 ng/mL, associated with a reduced risk of death from all causes, including cancer and cardiovascular disease.

Be sure to incorporate selenium-rich foods into your daily diet. Brazil nuts are the richest dietary source of selenium. The mineral is also found in organ meats, tuna, seafood, brewer's yeast, fresh garlic, mushrooms, wheat germ, and some whole grains.
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