Diet patterns may keep brain from shrinking

New research shows how people could potentially stop their brains from shrinking and stay sharp by adjusting their diet.

By JPOST.COM STAFF
January 4, 2012 17:03
3 minute read.
Vegetables

Vegetables 311. (photo credit: Courtesy)

 
X

Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analyses from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief

UPGRADE YOUR JPOST EXPERIENCE FOR 5$ PER MONTH Show me later

ST. PAUL, Minn. – People with diets high in several vitamins or in omega 3 fatty acids are less likely to have the brain shrinkage associated with Alzheimer’s disease than people whose diets are not high in those nutrients, according to a new study published in a recent online issue of Neurology®, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

Those with diets high in omega 3 fatty acids and in vitamins C, D, E and the B vitamins also had higher scores on mental thinking tests than people with diets low in those nutrients. These omega 3 fatty acids and vitamin D are primarily found in fish. The B vitamins and antioxidants C and E are primarily found in fruits and vegetables.

Be the first to know - Join our Facebook page.


In another finding, the study showed that people with diets high in trans fats were more likely to have brain shrinkage and lower scores on the thinking and memory tests than people with diets low in trans fats. Trans fats are primarily found in packaged, fast, fried and frozen food, baked goods and margarine spreads.

The study involved 104 people with an average age of 87 and very few risk factors for memory and thinking problems. Blood tests were used to determine the levels of various nutrients present in the blood of each participant. All of the participants also took tests of their memory and thinking skills. A total of 42 of the participants had MRI scans to measure their brain volume.

Overall, the participants had good nutritional status, but seven percent were deficient in vitamin B12 and 25 percent were deficient in vitamin D.

Study author Gene Bowman, ND, MPH, of Oregon Health & Science University in Portland and a member of the American Academy of Neurology, said that the nutrient biomarkers in the blood accounted for a significant amount of the variation in both brain volume and thinking and memory scores. For the thinking and memory scores, the nutrient biomarkers accounted for 17 percent of the variation in the scores. Other factors such as age, number of years of education and high blood pressure accounted for 46 percent of the variation. For brain volume, the nutrient biomarkers accounted for 37 percent of the variation.

“These results need to be confirmed, but obviously it is very exciting to think that people could potentially stop their brains from shrinking and keep them sharp by adjusting their diet,” Bowman said.

JPOST VIDEOS THAT MIGHT INTEREST YOU:


The study was the first to use nutrient biomarkers in the blood to analyze the effect of diet on memory and thinking skills and brain volume. Previous studies have looked at only one or a few nutrients at a time or have used questionnaires to assess people’s diet. But questionnaires rely on people’s memory of their diet, and they also do not account for how much of the nutrients are absorbed by the body, which can be an issue in the elderly.

The study was supported by the National Institutes of Health, the National Institute on Aging and National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine and the US Department of Veteran Affairs, Portland VA Medical Center.

The American Academy of Neurology, an association of 24,000 neurologists and neuroscience professionals, is dedicated to promoting the highest quality patient-centered neurologic care. A neurologist is a doctor with specialized training in diagnosing, treating and managing disorders of the brain and nervous system such as Alzheimer’s disease, stroke, migraine, multiple sclerosis, brain injury, Parkinson’s disease and epilepsy.

This article was first published at: www.newswise.com

Join Jerusalem Post Premium Plus now for just $5 and upgrade your experience with an ads-free website and exclusive content. Click here>>

Related Content

Health Minister Yakov Litzman  received the annual flu shot by Prof. Itamar Grotto in a school in Te
November 4, 2018
Measles spreads across Israel with 1,334 new patients diagnosed

By JERUSALEM POST STAFF