Healthy eating slows down mental decline

Good news for your brain and body today! A new study shows that healthy eating slows down cognitive decline.

An article about the study was published in this week’s Irish Medical Times, we’ve copied it below for you to read, and we’ve peppered the article with some videos showing quick, easy and healthy recipe demonstrations.

Happy eating!

 

A comprehensive programme providing older people at risk of dementia with healthy eating guidance, exercise, brain training, and management of metabolic and vascular risk factors appears to slow down cognitive decline, according to the first ever randomised controlled trial of its kind, published in The Lancet.


In the Finnish Geriatric Intervention Study to Prevent Cognitive Impairment and Disability (FINGER) study, researchers led by Prof Miia Kivipelto from the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, Sweden, National Institute for Health and Welfare in Helsinki, and University of Eastern Finland, assessed the effects on brain function of a comprehensive intervention aimed at addressing some of the most important risk factors for age-related dementia, such as high body-mass index and heart health.

A total of 1,260 people from across Finland, aged 60–77 years, were included in the study, with half randomly allocated to the intervention group, and half allocated to a control group, who received regular health advice only.

All of the study participants were deemed to be at risk of dementia, based on standardised test scores.

 

The intensive intervention consisted of regular meetings over two years with physicians, nurses, and other health professionals, with participants given comprehensive advice on maintaining a healthy diet, exercise programmes including both muscle and cardiovascular training, brain training exercises, and management of metabolic and vascular risk factors through regular blood tests, and other means.

After two years, study participants’ mental function was scored using a standard test, the Neuropsychological Test Battery (NTB), where a higher score corresponds to better mental functioning.

 

 

Overall test scores in the intervention group were 25 per cent higher than in the control group.

For some parts of the test, the difference between groups was even more striking — for executive functioning (the brain’s ability to organise and regulate thought processes) scores were 83 per cent higher in the intervention group, and processing speed was 150 per cent higher.

 

Based on a pre-specified analysis, the intervention appeared to have no effect on patients’ memory. However, based on post-hoc analyses, there was a difference in memory scores between the intervention and control groups.

According to Prof Kivipelto, much previous research has shown that there are links between cognitive decline in older people and factors such as diet, heart health, and fitness. “However, our study is the first large randomised controlled trial to show that an intensive programme aimed at addressing these risk factors might be able to prevent cognitive decline in elderly people who are at risk of dementia.”

Lancet, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(15)60461-5.

Science shows a high fat and low carb’ diet will make you lose weight

In this letter to the Irish Examiner Dr. Garry Lee explains his findings on weight loss diets. We hope you find it interesting.

I’ve been studying this area intensively for at least two years.

I’m a retired doctor and have the time to do so in a degree of detail which no working doctor could do. The world population is getting fatter and there is huge increase in diabetes etc which is going to make the health services unaffordable for one country after another.

There’s a huge amount written about obesity and a lot of research devoted to it but the science is there and is being ignored.

What does the science tell us? It tells us things that are quite non-intuitive:

1. Exercise is pretty poor for weight loss despite all the Operation Transformation stuff. I’ve cycled a huge amount for 30+ years and it alone failed to keep me thin.

2. Even though fat has twice the calories per gram of protein or carbohydrates, those who eat the most fat are the thinnest (a robust finding of the famous Framingham study). That is because they eat less carbs and because fat and protein are satiating.

3. Sugar and refined starch (carbs) are probably the main bad boy in the obesity epidemic . The advice to cut fat and eat more carbs had the exact opposite effect of what theoretically was supposed to happen. The linking of fat to abnormal cholesterol profiles in the blood has not stood up well under scientific scrutiny and in fact it is the sugar/carbs which are driving it.

4 There is a collection of symptoms and signs called the Metabolic Syndrome which includes a big belly, fatty liver, pre-diabetes, high blood pressure, gastric reflux, sleep apnoea and lipid disturbances promoting heart disease. All of these are reversed by a low carb’ / high fat diet. This dietary approach is no more a fad than farting is.

Some will say that some populations have always eaten a high proportion of carbs, like China or Japan. They did but the total load of carbs wasn’t huge and these people were working it off. Many don’t.

If you have familial obesity or diabetes etc, it’s likely that you are one of the 70% of the population who have what is called Insulin Resistance and in this case you will always be hungry if you eat a high carb diet and will get fat.

If you cut the carbs you will be satisfied and the weight usually falls off.

I lost 40lb, without being hungry, doing this and maintained it. There are at least 23 comparative trials of low carb’ vs other diets, all of which show it is best. It’s not only best for weight loss but best for diabetics (under medical supervision), for cardiac risk factors and for mood disorders,

Dr Garry Lee

Meryln Lawn

Bishopstown

Cork

How mighty is the oat?! Scientists find more than grain of truth in benefits of porridge

Remember being told about the virtues of porridge when you were a sceptical child? Well those stories appear to be even more true than your parents and teachers may have predicted. New research is finding that the mighty oat could actually lower cholesterol and clean the arteries while delivering other powerful heart-protective qualities.

The article below is by LAURA DONNELLY for the Irish Independent.

Fans of porridge have long claimed that it gives them the best start to the day – but scientists say there is evidence that it could also have a special ingredient that actively cleans the arteries, protecting against cancer and heart disease.

A meeting of researchers says there is growing evidence that a bioactive compound contained only in oats may possess protective antioxidant properties.

Oats are the breakfast of choice for many athletes and dieters, who find the high fibre levels give them energy for longer. The combination of fibre, vitamins and minerals in whole grains has also been linked to a reduced risk of diseases.

One particular fibre found only in oats – called beta-glucan – has already been credited with lowering cholesterol.

But scientists at the annual conference of the American Chemical Society in Dallas, Texas, yesterday said there was growing evidence that the benefits of oats do not just come from the fibre.

Researchers said studies suggested that a bioactive compound called avenanthramide could stop fat forming in the arteries, causing heart attacks and strokes.

Dr Shengmin Sang, from the North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, said: “While the data to support the importance of oat beta-glucan remains, these studies reveal that the heart health benefit of eating oats may go beyond fibre. As the scientific investigators dig deeper, we have discovered that the bioactive compounds found in oats may provide additional cardio-protective benefits.”

CRUCIAL

Fat formation in the arteries can become a condition called atherosclerosis in which the arteries become clogged. This can lead to organ damage or blood clots that result in heart attacks or strokes.

Previous studies have suggested that the fibre contained in porridge can reduce cholesterol levels by as much as 23pc.

Studies on children have suggested the traditional breakfast dish can help to keep obesity at bay. Youngsters who eat oats regularly are 50pc less likely to be overweight, one study of 10,000 children found.

Oats can reduce high blood pressure, which is closely linked to stroke and heart disease. They are also a source of vitamin B1 (thiamin) which is crucial for the nervous system, and folic acid, which is essential for healthy foetal development.

In an attempt to increase folic acid levels, pregnancy advisers have joined doctors in urging the British government to fortify flour with the acid to cut the number of babies developing defects such as spina bifida.

The British Pregnancy Advisory Service has also said it is time recommendations to fortify flour with the vitamin were implemented in the UK.

Irish Independent

Healthy Brain Month

Multiple recent developments have inspired us at Dunphy Medical to focus on healthy brains this month, here are a few of them.

  • Trinity College in association with the EU recently launched Hello Brain, a website and free app that promotes mental agility, brain health and understanding of this fascinating organ, follow a link to their site here http://www.hellobrain.eu/en/
  • This October Bank Holiday weekend (25th-27th October), Muintir na Tíre is organising a National Active Community Weekend in conjunction with Console to promote mental health.
  • TedTalks, (a favourite reference on this site as frequent visitors know) have a great playlist this week called How Does My Brain Work which features 9 videos on separate aspects of brain function.

Here’s one of those TedTalks by Daniel Wolpert  called The Real Reason For Brains, I hope you find it as interesting as I did.  It also greatly supports and explains the rationale of a physical therapy which I use in my practice (Neural Organisation Technique – N.O.T.) which I have found of great benefit in head, spinal and other physical injuries, and also unexpectedly in dyslexia and learning disorders over the past 30 years. Further information on N.O.T. can be found on this blog by clicking on Neural Organisation Technique under Categories, a section that shows on the left side of our home page.

 

 

We’ve added more videos from this TedTalks series on our Facebook pages https://www.facebook.com/dunphymedical and http://www.facebook.com/pages/Dr-Sean-Dunphy/173021722744006?ref=hl and there is always endless content on http://www.ted.com/ too.

In 2006 I had the unique experience (for a short time) of using umbilical cord stem cells in a range of chronic diseases. Because of this experience I was invited as a guest speaker to the European Anti-ageing Conference in Athens, Greece in 2007 and to the World Anti-ageing Conference at the Palais de Congres in Paris the following year.

A fellow speaker from Oxford presented some fascinating new information on how spectacularly adaptive and regenerative the brain is, this quality is called plasticity. Brain plasticity was believed to be impossible as recently as approximately 10 years ago, so all medical textbooks more than 10 years old are 100% wrong in relation to brain plasticity and are best thrown on your next bonfire!!

We can thank the humble canary bird for our first scientific breakthrough in this regard, it generates 500,000 new neural (brain) cells learning a new song every spring – neural stem cells are a key player in learning and memory.

A study of London taxi-drivers who memorised and learned the ‘knowledge’ ie a map of London’s many streets like an internal GPS, showed a  14% growth of the hippocampus (the area of the brain responsible for memory) after just 9 months.

Another study found that when rats learned to navigate a new maze, after only 5 trials they developed more than 20,000 new brain cells. The control group of rats that just ran around a ring for the same time showed no increase in brain cells.

Here’s a video neatly summarising neuroplasticity courtesy of http://www.HelloBrain.eu

 

 

 

Here’s a video from http://www.HelloBrain.eu summarising the best ways to keep your brain healthy

 

You say potato….

 

Hello everyone, here’s yet more justification for eating most Irish people’s favourite food, the fabulous potato. Below is a video by Dr. John McDougall about the health benefits of starch-based diets, we hope you find it interesting.

 

 

And if you’re looking for inspiring ways to cook our noble spud, check out Elgy Gilespie’s cookbook ‘You Say Potato!’

Bon Appetit!

 

Potato