I have spent a lot of time writing about the benefits of exercise for the brain as well as the body. Herewith info from the Tufts Health and Nutrition Letter on what I can only call food for thought.
Currently available medical treatments for age-related cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s disease have had limited success. Adopting a healthy diet and lifestyle has been among the most consistent recommendations to maintain brain health over the long term. Some studies have linked an overall healthy dietary pattern to less chance of experiencing age-related decline in memory and other cognitive skills.
The specifics of “brain protective” diets vary, but tend to have certain elements in common. Dietary patterns associated with lower risk of age-related cognitive decline and dementia are higher in non-starchy vegetables, fruits, whole grains, nuts, legumes and seafood while limited in red and/or processed meats, sugar-sweetened foods and drinks, refined grains and added salt.
But there have been few long-term trials testing overall dietary patterns for protecting the aging brain. Researchers at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health are currently conducting a clinical trial of a diet specifically optimized for brain health and mild weight loss—the Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay (MIND) diet.
If successful, the result of the MIND trial will provide older adults with more specific nutritional guidance to maintain their cognitive health. “What they’re doing is logical and I predict will have positive benefits for a disease for which we have few interventions,” notes Dennis Steindler, PhD, senior scientist and director of Tufts’ HNRCA Neuroscience and Aging Laboratory. “Past trials were not home runs, but this study could be it if it bears the kind of findings I think it will.” Continue reading
Because of the Alzheimer’s Disease and dementia in my family, I have been an avid student of ways to protect myself as I age. Check out my Page – Important facts about your brain (and exercise benefits) for more. Regarding our general physical health I know that diet contributes about 70 percent and exercise 30 percent. It turns out that diet also provides important elements of brain health, too.
Results from four large population-based studies support a connection between good dietary practices and better cognition in old age. Study results were reported at the 2017 Alzheimer’s Association International Conference (AAIC 2017) in London.
A group of U.S. scientists found that, among nearly 6,000 older adults in the Health and Retirement Study, those who consistently followed diets long known to contribute to cardiovascular health were also more likely to maintain strong cognitive function in old age. They found that sticking to the specially designed MIND diet and Mediterranean diet was associated with 30 to 35 percent lower risk of cognitive impairment in healthy older adults. In fact, the investigators discovered that those with healthier diets exhibited meaningful preservation of cognitive function.
- The Mediterranean and DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diets were originally developed or codified to help improve cardiovascular health.
- A hybrid of these diets, called the Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay, or MIND diet, is gaining attention for its potential positive effects on preserving cognitive function and reducing dementia risk in older individuals. A 2015 study found that individuals adhering to this diet exhibited less cognitive decline as they aged (Morris et al. Alzheimer’s Dement. 2015; 11:1015-22).
Other diet-related studies reported at AAIC 2017 included:
The newly created MIND diet (Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay), developed by researchers from Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, was shown to reduce the likelihood of developing Alzheimer’s by 53 per cent in people who followed it rigorously and by 35 per cent in those who adhered to it only modestly.
Regular readers know that I have serious interest in Alzheimer’s and dementia as there is a history of it in my family. This MIND diet appears to make possible a two-pronged approach to avoiding the mental mayhem of these dread afflictions.
The first prong of the defense remains exercise. To learn more check out my Page – Important Facts About Your Brain (and Exercise Benefits).
Cooking with Kathy Man
Leslie Beck, a registered dietitian wrote . . . . .
Most of us have heard about the heart-healthy Mediterranean and blood-pressure-lowering DASH diets that may also guard against dementia.
According to a study, a hybrid of these two eating plans – called the MIND diet – is associated with a significantly lower risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. That’s true even if you don’t follow the diet strictly.
Family members are prerecording messages as part of a unique pilot program at the Hebrew Home in New York. The videos are trying to help victims of Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia break through the morning fog of forgetfulness.
The newly created MIND diet (Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay), developed by researchers from Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, was shown to reduce the likelihood of developing Alzheimer’s by 53 per cent in people who followed it rigorously and by…
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