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.

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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

 

Have you watched these videos yet?

 

 

 

Why did Steve Jobs Die? – Dr. John McDougall

 

 

 

 

 

Loving Your Lady Parts – Alisa Vitti

 

 

 

 

 

23 and 1/2 hours: What is the single best thing we can do for our health?

 

 

 

 

 

What’s wrong with what we eat? – Mark Bittman

 

 

 

 

 

Natural Cure for Depression, Bipolar, ADHD, Schizophrenia – Dr. Abram Hoffer