Research TipsAugust 4, 2013
A study that followed over 2500 older adults for 11 years found that those who had anemia at the start of the study had about a 40 percent higher risk of developing dementia than those who were not anemic. It remains to be determined why anemia is associated with dementia in this age group.
Neurology. 2013 Jul 31. [Epub ahead of print]
October 4, 2013
A colorful diet may help maintain brain function into the later years of life. A study of almost 3000 middle-aged adults found that those with the greatest intake of foods with colorful carotenoids maintained better cognitive function during aging.
Br J Nutr. 27 Sep 2013. [Epup ahead of print]
December 9, 2013
The omega-3 fatty acid docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) is a major component of brain tissues. A study of patients with mild Alzheimer's disease found that taking a supplement high in DHA for six months raised levels of DHA in the cerebral spinal fluid. This indicated increased DHA levels in the brain. There also were indications that disease progression was slowed.
J Int Med. Dec 2013. [Epub ahead of print]
January 14, 2014
When people studied images of objects, then consumed 200 mg of caffeine, they were better, 24 hours later, at recalling what they had seen than when they consumed a placebo.
Nature Neuroscience. 2014 Jan 10. [Epub ahead of print]
March 15, 2014
Feeling anxious or depressed lately? Research indicates that exercise can be an effective antidote for these mental/emotional problems. Make your muscles happy and the brain will follow.
Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2006 Jan;38(1):173-8.
April 27, 2014
When 12 healthy volunteers consumed a drink containing 27.5 g of green tea extract and had their brain scanned by functional magnetic resonance imaging, researchers were able to observe enhanced activity in brain locations involved in working memory. The participants also performed better on a variety of memory tasks. This study used a pharmacological dose of green tea extract that could have serious side-effects in some people, especially if consumed in this amount on an ongoing basis. In other words, "Don't try this at home!"
Psychopharmacology (Berl). 2014 Mar 19. [Epub ahead of print]
October 20, 2014
Sugar and Brain: Adolescent rats provided access to sugar water for 30 days, consumed 35 to 40 percent of their calories from sugar. The high sugar intake adversely affected spatial memory performance in a maze. It is not clear if this was due to direct effects of the sugar or, more likely, limited intake of nutrients displaced by the high sugar intake.
Hippocampus. 2014 Sep 20. [Epub ahead of print]
February 1, 2015
Nutrition and Mental Health: With knowledge of the roles of nutrients in brain biochemistry increasing, psychiatrists are finding more opportunities to incorporate nutrition and nutrient supplementation into psychiatric practice. Nutrient deficiencies known to contribute to various problems with brain function include iron, zinc, choline, folate, B12, choline, magnesium, vitamin D, some amino acids, and some omega-3 fatty acids.
The Lancet Psychiatry. 2015/01/31. [Epub Ahead of Print]
March 16, 2015
Iron and Zinc Affect Mood and Cognition: A systematic review of eleven placebo-controlled studies on iron or zinc supplementation of pre-menopausal women concluded that improving iron status in iron deficient pre-menopausal women significantly improved measures of cognitive function. This was evident in women even when they had non-anemic iron deficiency. There was a limited number of studies on zinc, leaving the authors to suggest a need for more research on this element.
Nutrients. 2014 Nov 14;6(11):5117-41.
April 6, 2015
Nutrition and Mental Health: The complex chemical reactions that take place in the brain are dependent on a host of nutrients, including vitamins, minerals, amino acids, fatty acids, etc. Clearly, poor nutrition can result in mental illness. Diagnosis and treatment of mental disorders should always evaluate the potential contribution of malnutrition to the condition. The "fix" could be nutritional rather than pharmacological.
Lancet Psych. 2015;2(3):271–274.
April 20, 2015
Sugar and Stress Management: A recent human study found that the consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages reduced the body's stress response when compared to a beverage sweetened with aspartame. On the positive side, sugar consumption may help to manage stress, but this also may explain why a habit of drinking sugar-sweetened beverages like sodas can be hard to break.
J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2015 Apr 16. [Epub ahead of print]
June 4, 2015
Driving Dehydrated: In a controlled laboratory setting, researchers found that driving skills were impaired when study participants were moderately dehydrated. The level of impairment was comparable to driving with a blood alcohol level at the legal limit of 0.08%.
Physiol Behav. 2015 Aug 1;147:313-8.
July 28, 2015
Emotional Eating: A negative emotional state can create conditions that decrease the sensitivity to taste sweetness. For this reason, researchers think that being in a negative emotional state may drive people to eat more sweet foods.
Appetite. 2015 Jun 27;95:89-95.
October 11, 2015
Choline and Memory: Choline is a nutrient that the body uses for many functions. In particular, it produces a neurotransmitter used for memory storage. A single egg contains about half of the daily choline recommendation.
J Am Coll Nutr. 1992 Oct;11(5):473-81.
February 13, 2016
Vitamin B-12 and Memory: Vitamin B-12 deficiency can impair memory, decrease intellectual capacity, and cause emotional instability. Vegetarians are more prone to B-12 deficiency because only animal foods contain significant amounts of B-12.
Ann Nutr Metab. 2000;44(5-6):229-34.
May 16, 2016
Fish Oils and Brain Aging: A study of over 900 older people (average age of 81) found less decline in specific brain functions in those who consumed at least one meal per week of seafood providing omega-3 fatty acids. Since the long-chain omega-3 fatty acid DHA found in fish oils is a major component of the brain, this association makes biological sense.
Neurology. 2016 May 4. [Epub ahead of print]
June 29, 2016
Exercise and ADHD: A study of young male adults with attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) found that 20 minutes of moderately intense cycling exercise significantly improved some of the measurable aspects of ADHD such as confusion, fatigue, and depression.
Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2016 Jun;48(6):1153-60.
September 7, 2016
Caffeine and Aging Memory: A study based on a mouse model demonstrated that caffeine can inhibit reactions that are linked to the type of memory loss seen with aging. This study provides a mechanism that supports studies in humans indicating that caffeine consumption reduces the risk of developing Alzheimer's disease and other forms of age-related mental decline.
Sci Rep. 2016 Aug 11;6:31493.
March 1, 2017
Egg Consumption and Mental Function: In most people, sources of dietary cholesterol like eggs have little or no measurable effect on blood cholesterol levels. However, people who carry the APOE4 gene are more responsive to dietary cholesterol and they are at increased risk of developing dementia like Alzheimer's disease. In a Finnish study of 2,497 men, about one third of whom carried the APOE4 gene, the researchers found that egg consumption was associated with a slight decrease in risk of dementia or Alzheimer's disease whether men had the gene or not. In fact, the consumption of eggs was associated with better performance on tests measuring cognitive function. Eggs are a good source of choline and other nutrients beneficial for brain function.
Am J Clin Nutr. 2017 Feb;105(2):476-484