It looks like there is some good dietary news on the cognitive functioning horizon.
Neuroscience News says, “Study participants who received omega-3 fatty acids showed greater improvements on an object location memory task than participants who received a placebo containing sunflower oil. However, there was no evidence of improved performance on a verbal learning test. “Results from this study suggest that a long-term approach to prevention is particularly effective in preserving cognitive function in older individuals. A targeted approach involving dietary supplements can play a central role in this regard,” concluded the researchers. Emphasis mine.
“Changes in cognitive function and memory decline form a normal part of aging. However, in neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease or sometimes in the case of mild cognitive impairment, these changes occur more quickly. There are currently no effective treatments for these diseases….”
While there are no effective treatments for Alzheimer’s Disease, it is a fact that exercise definitely can hold back other forms of dementia. I direct your attention to my Page – Important Facts About Your Brain (and Exercise Benefits) for a number of posts I have written on the connection between exercise and the maintaining a healthy brain.
The following paragraph is from one of those posts – Can Exercise Help Me to Learn?
“Exercise helps you to learn on three levels: first, it optimizes your mind-set to improve alertness, attention and motivation; second, it prepares and encourages nerve cells to bind to one another, which is the cellular basis for logging in new information; and third, it spurs the development of new nerve cells from stem cells in the hippocampus,” so says Spark, the revolutionary new science of exercise and the brain. Author John J. Ratey, M.D., is a clinical associate professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. Besides, Spark, he also wrote A User’s Guide to the Brain among other books.
Regarding the nutritional aspect, Neuroscience News continued, “Ideally, any measures used should be aimed at long-term prevention. This means that measures must be suitable for use in healthy older adults, and should be easy to integrate into day-to-day life,” says Dr. Nadine Külzow, a researcher at Charité’s Department of Neurology. Nutritional supplements represent one such option. ‘A number of different dietary components, including omega-3 fatty acids, are currently thought to have a direct effect on nerve cell function. This is why we decided to study the effects on memory function of a daily dose of 2,200 milligrams taken for a duration of six months,’ says Dr. Külzow.”
Check out the infographic in yesterday’s post – Boost Your Brain Health.
So, besides the good dietary news we have the tried and true exercise facts. We know by now that the phrase ‘use it or lose it’ applies globally to our body.