by Sally Rummel for TC Times:
If you’re making lists to help you remember all that you have to do in a day, the most important list by far is your grocery list.
That’s because the food you buy at the grocery store will actually help you “supercharge” your brain, if you make the right choices. Even as people age chronologically, we can maintain a healthy brain into “old age” by adding these smart foods to our daily diets.
Not surprisingly, women and men require different foods, because there are clear differences between male and female brains.
Posted by WBHI on May 14, 2013 in Great Minds Think Alike
by Sumathi Reddy for The Wall Street Journal:
A new study reveals that adults who played a video game helped their mental agility more than adults who did crossword puzzles.
Cognitive-training games like Double Decision, are designed to improve brain functions and are at the center of a growing body of research looking at their effectiveness as scientists strive to find ways to ward off the cognitive declines that usually come with age.
A government-funded study published this month found that playing Double Decision can slow and even reverse declines in brain function associated with aging, while playing crossword puzzles cannot. The study builds on an earlier large trial which found that older people who played various cognitive games had better health-related outcomes, driving records and performed better at everyday tasks such as preparing a meal.
Posted by WBHI on May 8, 2013 in Great Minds Think Alike
by Margery D. Rosen for AARP:
Rarely do you find neuroscientists, psychologists and physicians agreeing unequivocally on anything. But here’s an exception: They all say that exercise is hands down the single best thing you can do for your brain. “If we had a pill that could do what exercise does, its sales would put Viagra’s to shame,” says Laura L. Carstensen, director of the Stanford Center on Longevity and author of A Long Bright Future.
The latest research shows that people can continue to learn throughout life. Yes, brain volume shrinks slightly, and some cells die. But the brain continues to make new neurons and fine-tune their connections even very late in life.
Aerobic exercise “reduces the level of brain loss and keeps cognitive abilities sharp,” says John Medina, an affiliate professor of bioengineering at the University of Washington School of Medicine and author of Brain Rules. “It also slashes your lifetime risk of Alzheimer’s in half and your risk of general dementia by 60 percent.”
Posted by WBHI on May 2, 2013 in Great Minds Think Alike
by Chicago Tribune:
Researchers, doctors, drug and biotech companies, and medical institutions worldwide are urgently seeking to better understand the intricacies of brain function — and particularly to develop therapies to prevent or treat diseases such as Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia.
But despite this substantial effort, no drug or therapy can beat the powerful effect that regular physical exercise has in preventing Alzheimer’s and improving brain function — even in those with Alzheimer’s.
One Mayo Clinic study showed that those who regularly engaged in moderate exercise five or six times a week in later life reduced their risk of mild cognitive impairment by 32 percent compared with more sedentary people. Those who began exercising at midlife saw a 39 percent reduction in the risk of mild cognitive impairment.
Posted by WBHI on Apr 29, 2013 in Great Minds Think Alike
by Steven Reinberg for HealthDay:
Eating fish, chicken, olive oil and other foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids while staying away from meats and dairy — the so-called Mediterranean diet — may help older adults keep their memory and thinking skills sharp, a large new U.S. study suggests.
Using data from participants enrolled in a nationwide study on stroke, the researchers gleaned diet information from more than 17,000 white and black men and women whose average age was 64.The participants also took tests that measured their memory and thinking (cognitive) skills. During the four years of the study, 7 percent of the individuals developed problems with these skills, the researchers reported.
“Greater adherence to Mediterranean diet was associated with lower risk of incident cognitive impairment in this large population-based study,” said lead researcher Dr. Georgios Tsivgoulis, from the University of Alabama at Birmingham as well as the University of Athens, in Greece.
Posted by WBHI on Apr 23, 2013 in Great Minds Think Alike
by Alexandra Duron for Women’s Health:
Fish may be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of brain food, but it’s not the only ingredient that can help keep your mind in shape. Some berries may also help improve cognitive function, according to a new study presented last weekend at the American Society for Nutrition’s Scientific Sessions & Annual Meeting in Boston.
Researchers from the Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University and the University of Maryland at Baltimore County fed rats a strawberry- and blueberry-based diet for two months, exposed them to radiation (which made the rats age very quickly and show signs of cognitive decline), and then looked at the neurochemical changes that occurred in their brains post-exposure.
Posted by WBHI on Apr 18, 2013 in Great Minds Think Alike
by Kerry Grens for Reuters:
A review of the best evidence for interventions to prevent declining brain power finds that only one – mental exercise – consistently makes a difference.
The analysis of clinical trial results for assorted drugs, supplements and activities still can’t say, however, whether the brain training programs that do seem to sharpen mental function also improve people’s daily lives or lower their risk of developing dementia.
“All we know is you will do better on certain (cognitive) tests. Whether that delays dementia…remains to be seen,” said Dr. Raza Naqvi, the study’s lead author and a researcher at the University of Toronto.
Mild cognitive impairment may affect as many as a quarter of people over age 70, according to Naqvi and his colleagues. And perhaps 10 percent of those seniors progress to more serious dementia each year, the researchers write in the Canadian Medical Association Journal.
Posted by WBHI on Apr 12, 2013 in Great Minds Think Alike
by Ashik Siddique for Medical Daily:
A new study explains how cocoa compounds fight the neuronal cell death that leads to Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, on a molecular level in the brain.
It’s well established that chocolate contains pleasure-inducing and mood-enhancing chemicals, and previous studies have touted cocoa’s rich antioxidant and brain-boosting properties. Recent studies have supported the ability of chocolate compounds called flavanols to protect neuron cells against degeneration and dementia.
The new research confirms the antioxidant properties of polyphenols, the larger class of compounds that includes flavanols, and establishes how they work to protect the brain on a cellular level.
Posted by WBHI on Apr 3, 2013 in Great Minds Think Alike
by Heidi Godman for Harvard Health:
Physical and mental activities are both important for protecting your thinking skills and warding off dementia. But does one trump the other? It’s an interesting question, one that occurs to me when I’m doing a crossword puzzle or cruising through my neighborhood with the funny-looking walk that my kids make fun of. Can I preserve my thinking skills if I do more of one activity than the other, such as more crossword puzzles or more walking?
I posed the question to Dr. Scott McGinnis, an instructor in neurology at Harvard Medical School. As I write in the April issue of the Harvard Health Letter, he said it was a difficult question to answer because few solid studies have addressed it.
That may be changing. A study published yesterday inJAMA Internal Medicine tried to tease out whether physical or mental activity was better for brain health. Researchers recruited 126 older adults who felt that their memory or thinking skills had recently gotten worse, and divided them into four groups.
Posted by WBHI on Mar 28, 2013 in Great Minds Think Alike
by Dana Larson for A Place for Mom:
New research from the University of Louisiana’s College of Pharmacy found that extra virgin olive oil may contribute to Alzheimer’s disease prevention. A protective agent, called “oleocanthal,” is believed to have effects that protect nerve cells from the kind of damage that occurs in Alzheimer’s and other dementias.
Another recent study by St. Louis University also linked olive oil to improved cognition and decreased memory loss. The evidence for olive oil, a staple of the traditional Mediterranean diet, as a secret weapon against Alzheimer’s disease continues to climb.
I spent my honeymoon backpacking in Greece and never felt healthier. The sunshine, picturesque landscapes, constant walking and tasty Mediterranean cuisine which is low in red meat and processed foods and high in fruit, vegetables and olive oil, all contributed to my bliss, I’m sure.
In February 2013, the The New England Journal of Medicine published the results of a long-term study that positively linked prevention of cardiovascular disease with a Mediterranean diet that includes extra-virgin olive oil. Along with the latest research from the University of Louisiana’s College of Pharmacy pointing to the potential of olive oil as neuroprotective mechanism against Alzheimer’s Disease—I wonder if the extra virgin olive oil had something to do with my sense of well-being?