Berries and Flavonoids
May 1, 2012 — Increased consumption of blueberries and strawberries appears to slow cognitive decline up to 2.5 years, according to the April 25 Annals of Neurology reporting the results of a 20 year study of nurses funded by National Cancer Institute and the California Strawberry Commission.
The report states specific flavonoids, called anthocyanidins, found in berries can cross the blood-brain barrier and localize in the hippocampus, known to be an area of the brain involved in learning and memory.
These flavonoids are have powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, and both oxidative stress and inflammation are thought to be important contributors to cognitive impairment. So increased flavonoid consumption could be a potential strategy for reducing cognitive decline in older adults.
While the report does not explicitly mentioned Alzheimer’s disease, mounting evidence shows that inflammation plays a critical role in causing Alzheimer’s disease, in addition to heart disease and cancer.
So eat those berries and treat your hippocampus to those flavonoids full of powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Clearly this can’t hurt and might help. And they taste good.
November 30, 2011 (Chicago, Illinois) — People who eat baked or broiled fish every week may reduce their risk of developing mild cognitive impairment and Alzheimer’s disease, according to research presented the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA) 97th Scientific Assembly and Annual Meeting. The finding does not apply to fried fish.
Researchers found that people who ate baked or broiled fish had larger brain volumes in the hippocampus and frontal lobes, areas of the brain that are important in memory and cognition and that are frequently affected in Alzheimer’s disease.
Specifically, consumption of fish at least once per week was positively associated with gray matter volumes in the hippocampus, precuneus, posterior cingulate, and orbital frontal cortex. Greater hippocampal, orbital frontal cortex, and posterior cingulate volumes in relation to fish consumption reduced the risk for 5-year cognitive decline 5-fold.
There was no statistically significant relation between the consumption of fried fish and brain structure or cognitive decline.
Any kind of fish appears to be protective, as long as it is baked or broiled.
IT ALL ABOUT THE RESERVE
Not a week goes by without some promulgation of yet another well meaning idea, but not scientifically supported, on how to prevent Alzheimer’s disease. Dozens of clinical trials are in progress with a very small number actually targeted towards cause and prevention of Alzheimer’s Disease. Almost are in search of the conformation, control, or amelioration of the disease.
So what is the best answer today to prevent Alzheimer’s Disease? It’s not simple, but here is my best guess. RESERVE
There is a body of knowledge that suggests having lots of neurons and connections to them (synapses) is good. So even if a blanket of plaques covers parts of the brain, having lots of neuron real estate makes many brain areas unaffected. This functional brain reserve may outlast the inevitable onslaught of Alzheimer’s Disease.
Genetic markers with pathways to Alzheimer’s Disease are being discovered often. No point in seeing if you have them, which you can do now. It really shouldn’t change your life style.
It has been shown that exercise can create more neurons. Case closed. Exercise – get more neurons and reserve of brain real estate.
But, wait, there is more (now I sound like the proverbial infomercial). Many studies and research have shown exercise and a good intake of food (low saturated fat, low glycemic) glycemic keep the body better for longer. But you knew that. So just do it. Not only is Alzheimer’s push off to a way later date, but your body has less pains and disabilities. RESERVE is not only good for the brain, but also the joints, muscles, and other organs.
This is not a site about heart disease, cancer, or diabetes, but there is better than even chance your life style can influence not only delaying (or preventing dying from it) Alzheimer’s Disease but also most of these other maladies.
It’s all about MOTIVATON. Check out this site for hiking as a way to exercise later in life, even if you never did much physical activity. www.dayhiker.com