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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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