Previous behavioral data have shown that lifelong bilingualism (the ability to speak two languages fluently) can help to preserve youthful cognitive control abilities in aging. Brian T. Gold, from the University of Kentucky (Kentucky, USA), and colleagues used functional magnetic resonance imaging to compare the brain activity of healthy bilingual seniors (ages 60-68 years) with that of healthy monolingual seniors as they completed a task that tested their cognitive flexibility. The researchers found that both groups performed the task accurately. However, bilingual seniors were faster at completing the task than their monolingual peers despite expending less energy in the frontal cortex an area known to be involved in task switching. The study authors conclude that: “These results suggest that lifelong bilingualism offsets age-related declines in the neural efficiency for cognitive control processes.”
Brian T. Gold, Chobok Kim, Nathan F. Johnson, Richard J. Kryscio, Charles D. Smith. “Lifelong Bilingualism Maintains Neural Efficiency for Cognitive Control in Aging.” The Journal of Neuroscience, 9 January 2013, 33(2):387-396.
Seniors who have spoken two languages since childhood are faster than single-language speakers at switching from one task to another.
The ability to filter and eliminate old information – rather than process new data – may make it harder to learn as we age.
When coupled with an energy-restricted diet, calcium and vitamin D supplementation helps people to lose significantly more body fat.
Despite spending more on healthcare, Americans die sooner and experience more illness than people in other high-income countries.
Beneficial effects on expression of the cell adhesion molecule P-selectin are observed in men who consume white chocolate.
Older adults who drink sweetened beverages, and artificially sweetened diet drinks in particular, are at increased risk for depression.
Increased intakes of riboflavin (vitamin B2) and pyridoxine (vitamin B6) associate with significant reductions in the risk of colorectal cancer, among women.
Bisphenol A (BPA) associates with increased levels of albumin in the urine, potentially signaling renal impairment and kidney disease.
Americans are eating 10 grams less fat per day today, as they were in the 1970s.
An international study reports a link between passive smoking and syndromes of dementia.
Late-life depression associates with prevalent mild cognitive impairment and an increased risk of dementia.
Supplementation with omega-3 fatty acids may postpone the onset of metabolic disorders and associated declines in cognitive functions.
Most American homes have levels of at least one flame retardant that exceed a federal health guideline.
An active lifestyle helps preserve gray matter in the brains of older adults and could reduce the burden of dementia and Alzheimer's disease.
Living in areas of high air pollution can lead to decreased cognitive function in older adults.
Older people who are living independently but have signs of cerebral damage may lower their risk of having dementia if they remain physically active.
Structural damage to the brain from high blood pressure (hypertension) may occur among people as young as 40.
Four months of a high-intensity interval training program dramatically increased cognitive performance.
Vascular health, and thereby cardiac and cognitive functioning, may benefit from supplementation with the antioxidant compound found in red wine and red grapes.
Eating a diet laden with carbohydrates raises the risk of developing mild cognitive impairment by four times; sugars raise that risk 1.5 times.
#108 - Men Be Wary of Plastics
Low levels of a chemical found in plastic containers and tin cans increases the risk for prostate abnormalities, reports a 2005 study conducted at the University of South Dakota School of Medicine (USA). While the study was conducted on mice, researchers warn the same findings could hold true for men, because exposure levels by the lab animals in the study were far lower than that of a human baby. Blood levels of the compound Bisphenol A, BPA, at levels well below thresholds deemed safe by the US Environmental Protection Agency area were found to cause malformations of the prostates of developing animals, and these malformations were suspected to predispose these animals to prostate cancer as adults. The study also found that male mouse fetuses exposed to Bisphenol A developed abnormally enlarged prostate ducts, putting them at risk for a condition similar to benign prostate hypertrophy (BPH).