A positive outlook on life helps brain function in later life, new research reveals.

Researchers have found that pensioners aged between 80 and 100 who have a positive outlook on life can enjoy better cognitive function that people in their fifties.
Medical experts were stunned when they carried out research on ‘super-agers’, who despite having many symptoms associated with dementia, seemed not to be affected by the condition.

In spite of the fact many of the super-agers had unhealthy habits including smoking and drinking, researchers found what they had in common was a positive attitude in life and an unusually high proportion of the rare brain called called the von Economo neuron.

Professor Emily Rogalski, of the Northwestern University in Chicago, examined the brains of 10 super-agers who underwent examination while they were alive and after they had died. They were part of a group of 74 super-agers followed by the research.
Rogalski said in a paper she is presenting to the American Association for the Advancement of Science she is presenting today: “The findings suggest that super-agers have unique personality profiles.Excellent memory capacity is biologically possible in late life and can be maintained for years even when there is significant neuropathologic burden.'”

Her research found that 71 per cent of super-agers smoked and 83 per cent drank alcohol regularly. However Rogalski estimated that less than five per cent of the population are super-agers.

The von Economo neurons which were present in super-agers are only found in the brains of large mammals and are believed to offer highspeed connections between different regions within the brain. They are known to develop in the late stages of pregnancy and early childhood and could be down to luck.

Rogalski’s study could provide a breakthrough in dementia research. In contrast to much of the dementia research carried out to date, it does not focus on trying to reverse the spread of amyloid and tau, deformed proteins that form lumps in the brains of people with dementia.


Beetroot helps brain become more youthful, reveals new study

A new scientific study reveals that drinking beetroot juice prior to working out enables the aging brain to perform more efficiently and appear younger.

Previous studies have shown that beetroot juice increases blood flow to the skeletal muscles during exercise by 38%. Now, researchers at Wake Forest University have found that drinking beetroot juice ahead of a workout improves the brains of older adults. The beetroot juice supplement provides the brains of this demographic function with improved efficiency, mirroring the functionality of younger brains. Though it was known that exercise alone makes a positive impact on the brain, it comes as a bit of a surprise that beetroot juice supplements also bolster mental processing power. The results of the study were recently made available to the public in peer-reviewed Journals of Gerontology: Medical Sciences.

About the Study

The brief training study keyed in on hypertensive older individuals. The effort was led by W. Jack Rejeski, the Director of the Behavioral Medicine Laboratory in the Department of Health & Exercise Science. The study’s lead author was Meredith Petrie, one of Rejeski’s former undergraduate students. The study served as the first test to gauge the combined impact of exercise and beetroot juice supplements on the brain’s functional networks in the motor cortex along with the secondary connections between the insula and cortex that ameliorate mobility.

The study analysed 26 men and women over the age of 55. These individuals performed no exercise, were saddled by high blood pressure and received no more than two medications to treat the malady. Half the study participants were provided with Beet-It Sport Shot with 560 mg of nitrate, a beetroot juice supplement, three times per week for six weeks. They consumed the supplement an hour before embarking on a 50-minute walking session on a treadmill. The other half received a placebo Beet-It with minimal nitrate.

A Word on Beets

Beets are loaded with dietary nitrate. This nitrate is converted to nitrite and subsequently converted to nitric oxide after consumption. Nitric oxide stimulates blood flow through the body. Several studies have shown nitric oxide boosts exercise performance in individuals across numerous age groups. It is revered as a powerful molecule that travels to portions of the body that are hypoxic or in need of oxygen.

The brain is one of the primary suppliers of oxygen to the body. As one exercises, the brain’s somatomotor cortex sorts cues stemming from the body. Exercise serves to strengthen the somatomotor cortex. The combination of beetroot juice and exercise provides an abundance of oxygen to the brain, creating a fantastic environment for boosting the strength of the somatomotor cortex.

The Findings

Post-exercise analysis makes it clear that the group that consumed beetroot juice enjoyed heightened levels of nitrate and nitrite compared to those who consumed the placebo before exercising. It is important to note that participants in both groups had nearly the same levels of nitrate and nitrite in their blood before consuming the beetroot juice and placebo. Though additional studies must be performed, the study’s findings suggest that the foods and drinks consumed during the aging process make a monumental impact on the maintenance of the brain’s health and functionality.

Dementia becomes main cause of death in UK, latest figures reveal

Dementia is now the leading cause of death in England and Wales, new figures from the UK’s Office of National Statistics reveal.

The neurological disorder has now overtaken coronary heart disease at the top of the table. It was the cause of 61,686 deaths registered in 2015, equivalent to 11.6 per cent of the total figure. The new ONS data also shows women are more susceptible to the deadly disease than men. This may be because women are living longer than men – with the risk of developing dementia increasing with age.

Dementia killed more than twice the amount of women than men, with 41,283 losing their lives as a result of the disease, new figures show.

Its recognised that over-65s are most at risk from the disease as a result of their increased blood pressure and changes in the immune system. But records of the growing mortality rates of dementia may be because doctors are better at diagnosing the disease. The figures show that killed more than twice the amount of women than men, with 41,283 losing their lives as a result of the disease.

Elizabeth McLaren, head of life event statistics at ONS, said: ‘In 2015, dementia and Alzheimer’s disease became the leading cause of death in part because people are simply living longer but also because of improved detection and diagnosis.’

However, coronary heart disease, which has been at the top of the death table since the new figures began in 2011, was the leading cause of death in males.Figures show 36,731 men fell victim to the planet’s biggest killer – but no longer England and Wales’, which is caused by smoking, high blood pressure and high cholesterol. While 20,403 men died as a result of having dementia. Death rates from dementia have more than doubled over the last five years due to people living longer than ever before and developing the condition.

Despite the latest figures, coronary heart disease is still believed to be responsible for more than seven million global deaths yearly. It was also found to be behind 11.5 per cent of the total 529,655 deaths.

But the new figures show a large variation among age groups as people over 80 were most likely to die from dementia and Alzheimer’s.

While suicide was the leading cause of deaths for adults younger than 35. Meanwhile, breast cancer remains the leading cause of death for women aged between 35 and 49.

The statistics also found that when all forms of cancer are grouped together, it was the most common form of death – responsible for 27.9 per cent of all cases, with irculatory disease, such as heart disease and strokes were responsible for 26.2 per cent.

However, the nation’s previous leading killer, coronary heart disease, was still responsible for killing most males, nearly double that of dementia

Fish oils help brain health in old age

Equazen eye q mind 50+Certain nutrients and ‘omega’ n-3 (omega) long chain fatty acids found in fish oils may offer a benefit to cognitive function in older age, according to a review by Dr Carrie Ruxton, independent public health nutritionist on behalf of Equazen, the brains behind Equazen eye q mind 50+.

Commenting on the research, Dr Ruxton notes: “My review shows that nutrition has an important preventive part to play in cognitive decline among older people. In particular long chain n-3 fatty acids, certain antioxidants, B vitamins and fat-soluble vitamins contribute to preserving brain function in this growing population group.

“Given that the brain is rich in lipids, it is not surprising that long chain n-3 PUFAs such as docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) found in fish oils, might have an impact on cognitive retention. Studies have variously shown that fish oils lead to better performance in working and verbal memory indicating the potential to delay the onset of cognitive decline and that supplementation with DHA could improve learning and memory function.

“Turning to B vitamins, my review shows some inconsistencies in the scientific data although a large trial in 266 older people aged 70 years or over with mild cognitive impairment found that a supplement containing 800 μg folic acid, 500 μg vitamin B12 and 20 mg vitamin B6 over two years appeared to slow cognitive and clinical decline, especially those with elevated homocysteine levels (a type of amino acid that may be harmful at high levels).

“With regards to zinc, a trial in 387 healthy adults aged 55 to 87 years receiving either 15 or 30 mg per day zinc, for up to six months showed some improvements in spatial working memory after three months.

“Fat-soluble vitamins D, E and K could also have a role in preventing cognitive decline. Epidemiological studies have shown links between higher levels of these vitamins and reduced cognitive impairment. A placebo-controlled clinical trial involving vitamin E and a drug used to manage Alzheimer’s disease found that the group taking vitamin E experienced slower functional decline and needed less caregiver time compared with the placebo group.

“The latest findings from the National Diet and Nutrition Survey reveal poor dietary habits among our elderly population with only 41% meeting the 5-a-day recommendation for fruit and vegetables and mean oily fish consumption, at 90g weekly, falling below the government’s recommended intake of 140g weekly.

“Given these poor dietary intakes, the increasing incidence of compromised cognitive function in older people as well as the importance of long chain n-3 PUFAs, certain antioxidants and B vitamins in cognitive health in this population group, a supplement, such as Equazen eye q mind 50+, containing these key ingredients would be a good start to help maintain cognitive function in older age”.

Family GP, Dr Paul Stillman notes further Equazen eye q mind 50+ is a formulation specifically researched and developed for adults that includes a combination of the highest quality nutrient blends of Omega-3 and Omega-6 essential fatty acids, B vitamins, zinc and magnesium. The Equazen eye q mind 50+ also includes a blend of B vitamins, zinc and magnesium. It also provides nutrients to support normal cognitive function and normal functioning of the nervous system while zinc within the supplement contributes to maintain normal cognitive function. Magnesium and vitamin B6 within the Equazen eye q mind 50+ also help contribute to normal functioning of the nervous system too. As a result, Equazen eye q mind 50+ provides a good insurance policy for those of us ageing and helps bridge some of the nutrient gaps that many of us are missing within our daily diets. Equazen eye q mind 50+ is also great news for those people who find it hard to eat oily fish because of the bones or chew and digest nutrient rich foods.

Silver surfers suffer less from memory loss, reveals top medical expert

Using the internet and sending emails can be used to prevent memory loss and reduce the likelihood of dementia in the elderly, according to new medical research.

Dr Tom Stevens

Results of an eight-year study of around 6,500 50-90 year-olds reveal that those who regularly go online experience less mental decline compared to those who do not use the internet. The study, published in the Journal of Gerontology, reported a significant improvement in delayed recall over time intervals for those subjects who were frequent online users, highlighting the role played by the internet in preventing the degeneration of mental abilities in the elderly.

Ben Williams, Head of operations at Adblock Plus and Dr Tom Stevens, Consultant Psychiatrist at London Bridge Hospital argue the benefits of the internet in preventing mental decline and reducing the risks of social exclusion, whilst advising on the dangers to vulnerable groups in society from online scams and intrusions.

Dr Tom Stevens, Consultant Psychiatrist at London Bridge Hospital, comments on the impact of the internet in keeping older people mentally active: “People over the age of 65 must remember the phrase ‘use it or lose it’, and the internet is a good way to ensure that older people are still able to use their mental faculties.”

“The internet and information technology offers some of the best opportunities to challenge people of this age-group, as it provides a means of communication and convenience, and is something that they can take part in despite any disabilities they may have.”

Adblock Plus also encourages the move to widen internet access, but highlights the need to educate older and more vulnerable people about online dangers.

Advertising can be designed specifically to be intrusive, by blocking users’ viewing of pages and causing confusion for those less familiar with it. Older users are not only at a greater risk of being drawn into online scams, but are likely to suffer more from the intrusiveness of ads such as pop-ups and banners that obscure their view and make it harder for them to use the internet effectively.

Ben Williams comments: “Everyone in society – those both young and old – should be able to use the internet to stay in touch with others, for instance by sharing photos on social media with more distant family, and catching up with old friends. Any communication, whether it be face-to-face or digital, enables people to feel connected, and basic digital skills give people this opportunity.”

“However, we mustn’t forget that with more older people using the internet, they must be informed about the choices they have online. With no experience of online advertising, constant blinking banners and pop-up adverts could spoil the internet for them, making them think it is a tasteless and unmanageable jungle, and put them off the whole experience.”

“Plus, there are online risks that specifically target older users, such as phishing scams, or promotions of miraculous and discount medication, and low-cost insurance, and it is our responsibility to ensure that older people aren’t ignorant about these. Basic lessons in how to stay safe and not put yourself in danger of online scams and viruses is essential.

“Of course it is possible to use the internet and not fall prey to online advertising, for instance with the help of ad-blockers such as Adblock Plus. But, if we are to educate the elderly on these skills, we must ensure we don’t render them vulnerable in the process.”

A new dementia drug offers hope to some sufferers

A new dementia drug made from pigs’ brains could help sufferers of a vascular variant of the disease.
 The new drug, brand name Cerebrolysin improves concentration, memory processing and mood in patients and appears to have no adverse side effects.
Vascular dementia, caused by damage to blood vessels supplying the brain affects around 1 in four of dementia sufferers.  Symptoms include vagueness, lack of concentration, difficulties communicating, as well as seizures and confusion.
The drug which is still undergoing trials is licensed in some countries for dementia, stroke and traumatic brain injury – although not yet in the UK or US.
A recent review by researchers at the Department of Neurology at Sichuan University in Sichuan, China, said they had found evidence to suggest that Cerebrolysin can help improve cognitive and global function in patients with mild to moderate severity vascular dementia. They reviewed evidence from six trials on 597 patients who were given Cerebrolysin in different amounts over different timespans. It was found that the drug significantly improved brain function, including recall, arithmetic and other cognitive abilities. It also improved general mood.
Cerebrolysin is a drug made from pig brain proteins that has produced some positive results from small vascular dementia trials. Another difficulty is that it has to be given by regular intravenous infusions necessary, says the review. So far no serious side affects have been reported.
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Women’s emotional intelligence grows with age, says expert

Women improve with age by becoming even better at relationships of all kinds, clearer communicators and have even greater emotional intelligence according to Cognitive Neuroscientist and Business Improvement Strategist, Dr Lynda Shaw.


With much talk in the media about the drawbacks of ageing, Dr Shaw says women naturally reinvent themselves as they mature. 
Dr Shaw explains: “Both genders can relish that experience brings confidence and we learn to enjoy the here and now more as we age.  We have realistic expectations and have probably invested heavily in great relationships with friends and family. Most of us care about our appearance, but have also learnt to place importance on other things.  That said, women are quite extraordinary as they get older.”  
“As our oestrogen supply runs down around the time of the menopause and we have been around the block a few times and picked up a few bruises along the way, women are more able to observe, read a situation, evaluate and communicate.  They are more likely to have strong relationships and as children grow up, the female needs to find other investments to satisfy her needs.  This is when her attention moves further outside the home and at this stage women are stronger than ever, and can contribute enormously to the economy, community and society as a whole.”  
Women tend to talk more in order to feel bonded to her female friends.  A female is hard-wired to seek out her network in readiness for times of trouble but is also able to ‘read’ situations with greater clarity.  Shaw continues: “It is quite typical for men to think women are almost spooky in the way they intuitively understand things.  The female will ‘see’ problems that males are oblivious to.  Take the scenario of a party   A woman will notice if a couple have fallen out, or if there is an attraction between two people who have spent the evening avoiding one another.  Men rarely notice such things.  There is nothing spooky going on, females are just wired differently to males and they get even better at it with age.”
So why are women different to men?
At 6 – 12 weeks gestation a foetus is exposed to a flood of hormone secretion.   This is either a surge of testosterone, oestrogen or progesterone depending on the genetic code of whether we’re male or female. Therefore, this hormonal output results in our sexual differences both physically and in the brain which leads to different patterns of behaviour.
Scientific research has repeatedly found that the hypothalamus is different in a male and female brain.  This region controls body temperature, hunger, thirst, sleep as well as affecting the endocrine system that also controls sexual activity.
Studies have also found that men have larger brains, but we now know that size doesn’t matter as there is no difference in intelligence!
The male brain has more grey matter and the female brain has more white matter so we think differently.  Grey matter is rich in active nerve cell bodies and white matter consists more of bundles of nerve fibres which are the connections between neurons.
The female brain has a larger limbic system, which means that females tend to be more in touch with their emotions. In addition, the language centres are larger in women and females tend to respond better to auditory stimulation. 
Dr Shaw continues: “Both typical male and female brains have their own strengths, but we are products of our biological genetic code, chemical make-up including hormones, environment and social upbringing. Discussing typical gender characteristics must not inflict unnecessary limitations on any of us.  That said, the world is beckoning for the mature women who have improved with age to embrace and enjoy the wonderful resources and experiences they have.”
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Brain facts by Dr Lynda Shaw

1. Some neuroscientists describe the texture of the living brain as like that of toothpaste, whilst others prefer to think of it as more similar to tofu. 
actual brain [100x100].jpg
2. Our brains are 10 percent smaller than those of our ancestors, possibly because our brain’s work more efficiently now.
3. Brain size is not directly correlated with intellect so there’s nothing to suggest that ancient civilisations were smarter than humans today. In fact, Einstein’s brain was unusually light. 
4. Remember exactly where you were and what you were doing on 9/11? That’s because shocking or emotionally arousing events become vividly imprinted in the brain, providing a snapshot of that exact moment. This is called a flashbulb memory. 
5. Although the brain takes up only about 2-3% of your total body weight, it uses around 20% of your body’s energy, enough to light up a 25 watt bulb. 
6. It is possible to remember events that never happened with the power of suggestion! Scientists have found 25% of people were able to recall events from their childhood which had not actually happened because of information planted by a friend or relative. 
7. It is impossible to tickle yourself because your brain is able to distinguish between unexpected external touch and your own touch! 
8. Men and women’s brains react differently to pain, which explains why there may be differences in the way that men and women perceive and discuss when something hurts.
9. Some people are able to exercise enough control over their brains to direct their dreams, this is called lucid dreaming. The dreamer is aware that they are dreaming and able to influence what happens in the dream. 
10. There are no pain receptors in the brain. This is especially useful for surgeons as it means that brain surgery can be performed whilst the patient is still awake. This helps them to monitor any unwanted side effects of the operation, for example visionary and motor control abnormalities. 
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10 Brain Exercise Tips – by neuroscientist Dr Lynda Shaw

Neuroscentist, Dr Lynda Shaw  reveals her top 10 brain exercise tips to keep those brain cells growing
1. Do more than one thing at once. As we get older the brain becomes less efficient at multi-tasking. Combining activities such as jogging and listening to an audiobook will force your brain to do two things at once, improving your ability to multi-task. 
2. Listen to different music. Memorising the lyrics to songs that you don’t know will boost levels of acetylcholine in your brain. Aetylcholine is a neurotransmitter which plays a key role in projecting axons into many areas of the brain. 
3. When looking up new words, investigate their etymology too. That is, look up their linguistic origins. Retrieval of tricky words will become easier if you understand their meaning and the context in which they are used.  
4. Don’t just look, see. Being able to analyse visual information is really important in the 3-D world in which we live. When you leave a room, try to remember the exact location of certain items in it. This will train your brain to focus on your surroundings and actually see what is in front of you.  
5. Get rid of your sat-nav! Relying on others to show you the way causes the brain to become lazy and won’t help you to remember new journeys. Going back to basics and using a map will exercise the part of the brain which is responsible for understanding spatial relationships.
6. Oxygenate your brain! Light exercise stimulates blood circulation which in turn increases glucose and oxygen in your brain. Sitting on the sofa means that the muscles won’t require additional oxygen from the brain. 
7. Do every-day tasks with your non-dominant hand. This will stimulate interaction between the two hemispheres of the brain and cause new neural pathways to develop. Although some tasks such as writing will be tricky at first some people can train themselves to become ambidextrous! 
8. Try neurobics. These are types of exercises which involve exposing your senses to new situations, combining two or more senses in a novel way. These include getting dressed with your eyes shut, using only visual cues whilst interacting with friends and relatives or listening to music whilst smelling flowers. 
9. Mentally rotate. Mental rotation refers to moving things around in your head and is a visuospatial skill. Humans use this naturally when reading maps, using tools, playing chess etc. To practice, picture an arrow or other specific shape pointing right, then turn it around so it points left.
10. Perhaps the most important tip of all is to enjoy the exercises you are doing. Activities that you choose for yourself and gain pleasure from completing will logically produce a more positive effect on the brain than those which are forced upon you!  
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Move to create common diagnosis for Alzheimer’s

Brain with Alzheimers.jpgParis: Two studies to help establish an internationally consistent approach to detecting Alzheimer’s disease have been reported at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference 2011 in Paris.

 The research, focusing on biomarkers – telltale biological indicators of Alzheimer’s – could help standardise the detection of the disease and increase the accuracy of clinical trials by ensuring those most likely to benefit from drugs or preventions take part.
The first study examined the association between a well-established Alzheimer’s risk gene – APOE4 – age, and a hallmark protein in Alzheimer’s – amyloid – to test the consistency of the relationship across ethnic groups. Led by researchers from Japan, the study took data from three different national populations – the US, Australia and Japan – all three of which include people with Alzheimer’s, mild cognitive impairment and normal individuals.
The team evaluated the influence of the APOE4 risk gene and age on the build up of amyloid in the brain, measured by PET scans. Amongst the three populations, the researchers observed consistency in the way amyloid build-up was affected by the risk gene and age, showing the biomarkers to be consistent across different ethnic groups – crucial for a test to be internationally applicable.
A second study concentrated on the hippocampus, responsible for the formation of new memories and usually the first area of the brain to be affected by Alzheimer’s. MRI scans have become increasingly important in tracking shrinkage in this area of the brain, which can be useful for diagnosis and measuring disease progress.
Researchers in Italy have been examining and compiling the different approaches to MRI scanning used in worldwide dementia research to measuring volume changes in the hippocampus. The team’s next step is to review the different approaches and draw on the input of an international panel of experts to determine a common protocol.
Dr Simon Ridley, Head of Research at the UK‘s leading dementia research charity, Alzheimer’s Research UK, said: “If we are to effectively test new treatments or preventions, we have to be able detect Alzheimer’s early to get people involved in trials who stand to benefit most. An approach to detection that works consistently across the world is crucial to the global effort to defeat dementia and work towards that goal is to be welcomed.
“Numbers or people living with dementia are spiralling towards a million in the UK alone; research is the only answer to defeating the condition. Investment across all areas of dementia research – diagnosis, prevention and treatment – is urgently needed”.
More Information about Alzheimer’s Research UK

• Alzheimer’s Research UK is the UK’s leading charity specialising in finding preventions, treatments and a cure for dementia

• To help us defeat dementia, donate today by visiting www.alzheimersresearchuk.org or calling 01223 843899

• We are currently supporting dementia research projects worth £17 million in leading Universities across the UK

• The Alzheimer’s Association International Conference (AAIC) is the world’s largest conference of its kind, bringing together researchers from around the world to report and discuss groundbreaking research and information on the cause, diagnosis, treatment and prevention of Alzheimer’s disease and related disorders

• Ref: Kenji Ishii, MD; et al. Age, APOE ε4, and Ethnic Effect on [C-11]PiB in Multi-national ADNI Studies – Direct Comparison of J-ADNI, US-ADNI and AIBL Data

• Ref: Giovanni Frisoni, MD; et al. Estimating the Impact of Differences among Protocols for Manual Hippocampal Segmentation on Alzheimer’s Disease-Related Atrophy: Preparatory Phase for a Harmonized Protocol.

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Weightloss boosts memory, says new study

New York: Weightloss boosts memory, according to a new study from Kent State University in Ohio.

Tests were carried out on 150 volunteers who weighed 21 stone plus and these were compared with healthy people.

In many of the tests the scores of a quarter of the obese participants were so low they were considered learning disabled.

Following the tests, two thirds of them has gastric by-pass surgery and lost an average of 3st. 8lb. And after 12 weeks took the same tests again.

In the group who had lost weight, the scores involving memory had been boosted, as well as improvements in organisational skills.

The results of 41 volunteers who declined obesity surgery declined further.

The researchers discovered, by using magnetic resonance imaging of the brain that obese people appeared to have damage to the organis substances around the nerve fibres responsible for chemical brainmemory.jpgmessage communications.


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Can early-stage Alzheimer’s be detected in brain scans?

Alzheimers.jpgThining of the cerebral cortex, which can happen a decade or more before any symptoms of the debilitating disease, shows up in magnetic resonance scanning.This means more can be done to halt the progress of the disease because it has been spotted at an earlier stage when less damage has occured to the brain.

Current statistics reveal that One in three over-65s will die with dementia.And although there are no clinical tests available for early stage detection, brain shrinkage might indicate early changes in the brain and predict who might get the disease.

US researchers behind the new study say magnetic resonance (MR) scanning is not yet ready to use in diagnosing Alzheimer’s, but the findings bring the prospect closer.

Although existing drugs can slow progression of Alzheimer’s, there is no cure. For the study, researchers used MR scans in people in their 70s with no signs of Alzheimer’s.

They found the risk of developing  the illness was three times greater in those with the thinnest areas of the cerebral cortex area, which plays a key role in memory, compared with those who had above-average thickness. Those with most thinning of the brain also succumbed to the disease faster than people with average thickness, says a report in the medical journal Neurology.

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Fuss about food – Omega 3

fishoil.jpgAfter the big ‘fat is bad’ push of the 1980s and 1990s, we are finally coming around to the idea that some fats are good for us.

But which ones?

The good ones are Polyunsaturated fats (PUFAs) and Monounsaturated fats (MUFAs).

Omega 3 and 6 fats are PUFAs and are classed as essential.
Our bodies cannot manufacture these so we need to make sure we are eating foods which contain them.

It seems like every day we hear about something else that we should be eating or drinking. So what makes Omega 3 special?

We need good fats for a whole host of things – every cell in your body relies on fat to survive. They are essential for nerve, heart and brain health and for nearly all of the body’s basic functions.

We seem to have no problem getting enough Omega 6 fat but there is one big catch – Omega 6 fats are dependent on Omega 3 to produce optimal health benefits and are only considered good fats when consumed in moderation.

Omega 3 fats have an amazing role in your body as an anti-imflammatory. Consuming them reduces your risks of developing heart disease, arthritis and cancer. It is widely acknowledged to have a pivotal role in the prevention of heart disease.

Omega 6 fats, while helpful in reducing bad cholesterol, can promote inflammation within our bodies when too much is consumed – a very undesirable quality. The developed world, as a whole, is extremely inflamed.

In the US, diets tend to contain up to 25 times more Omega 6 than Omega 3 fats.

Mediterranean diets have long been studied to identify exactly what promotes heart health and longevity. These studies have indicated that it is the healthy balance between Omega 3 and 6 fatswhich leads to a longer and healthier life.

People who follow such a diet are much less likely to develop heart disease. The mediterranean diet traditionally contains much reduced levels of meat consumption, which is a major source of omega 6 fats. It focuses on foods rich in omega 3 fats, including wholegrains, fresh fruit and vegetables, garlic, fish and olive oil. Moderate intake of wine also adds something to the balance.

If you only take one supplement a day, health professionals are almost all in agreement that it should be a fish oil supplement.

Clinical evidence suggests that EPA and DHA (eicosapentaenoic acid and docosahexaenoic acid, the two omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil) help reduce risk factors for heart disease, including high cholesterol and high blood pressure. Fish oil has been shown to lower levels of triglycerides (fats in the blood), and to lower risk of death, heart attack, stroke, and abnormal heart rhythms in people who have already had a heart attack.

If you are sceptical about the importance of these fats, consider the symptoms of someone suffering from a defiency in Omega 3; tiredness, poor memory, dry skin, heart problems, mood swings, depression and poor circulation.

Omega 3 fats are highly concentrated in the brain and appear to be important for cognitive (brain memory and performance) and behavioral function. So if you feel like you need a memory or energy boost, you could find your answer in changing your diet just a little bit.

If you are on blood thinners or diabetes medication, you should consult your GP before starting to take fish oil supplements.

Later this week we will be examining a sinner of the fat world – Trans fats.

Are you open to new challenges – try this quiz?


London: People to take up new challenges and hobbies stay younger longer. So can you hear opportunity knocking? And if you can, what does your reaction say about you?

What’s your usual response when new opportunities come your way? Do you seize the day and savour the experience, or look for the nearest hole in the sand to stick your head into? Chance, risk, and novelty are aspects of life that people react to differently – but how about you?

Most of us live very routine lives but variety is the spice of life and can have an overwhelming positive impact on our well being, according to research from The National Lottery.

Experts at the Social Issues Research Centre (SIRC), who conducted the research, have been studying how we respond to opportunities in life and have found we’re quick to make excuses these days – not enough time, not enough cash, we don’t want to look silly. The list goes on but there are plenty of opportunities that aren’t dramatic or risky but can still make a difference to our every day lives, without costing much at all.

But will you take those chances? Do you think you’re an optimist willing to make the best of all situations? Or are you a resolute fence sitter or avoid risk at all costs? This is the opportunity to find out for sure.

We’ve teamed with www.national-lottery.co.uk and SIRC to create this quick and easy test. Find out how likely you are to seize life’s opportunities, or if you are stuck in a rut. You must answer one question before proceeding to the next one.

Whatever your profile, if you want to introduce a bit of variety into your life, here are some top tips to make sure you make the most of the chances that come your way

§ Get back in touch with an old friend – take five minutes to pick up the phone or send an email and you could renew a friendship

§ Smile or say hello to a stranger – a friendly gesture to a neighbour you don’t know or someone you see on the train could perk up your day or even lead to a new friendship

§ Get off the bus or tube one stop short of your destination – you’ll discover new surroundings and get some exercise at the same time

§ Buy a Lotto ticket – give it a go and you could become a millionaire

§ Visit an art gallery or take a walk in a nearby park at lunch – the change of scenery will help you be more productive at work in the afternoon

§ Do something different at the weekend – the papers are full of pull-outs suggesting different days and evenings out so instead of just reading them and throwing them away, pick one and give it a go.

Middle-aged smokers at increased risk of dementia


New York: Smoking in middle age increases the risk of developing dementia by nearly 75%, a new study from the US claims.

IResearchers at Minnesota University found smokers aged between 46 and 70 were at least 70 per cent more likely to suffer from Alzheimer’s in later years than those who had never smoked.

The study, published in the medical magazine, the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry, also revealed the links between ‘lifestyle-factor’ diseases, such as diabetes and high blood pressure, and dementia.

People with high blood pressure, for example, were 60 per cent more likely to develop dementia while people with diabetes had more than double the risk of the same disease.

Lead research Dr Alvaro Alonso, said: ‘Our results emphasise the importance of early lifestyle modification and risk factor treatment to prevent dementia.’

Vitamin D and curcumin could get rid of Alzheimer plaque


Los Angeles: Vitamin D and curcumin could help rid the brain of Alzheimer’s plaques, according to scientists at the University of California Riverside and Los Angeles.

They have found that a combination of vitamin D3 and a synthetic form of curcumin could help remove amyloid beta from the brains of Alzheimer’s disease patients. The research was published in the July, 2009 issue of the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease.

Amyloid beta accumulates in the brain when the innate immune system fails to clear it. The substance forms the plaques that, along with neurofibrillary tangles, characterize Alzheimer’s disease. For their research, Dr Milan Fiala of UCLA’s David Geffen School of Medicine and his associates tested the effects vitamin D and curcuminoids, which are synthetic forms of the compound curcumin, on white blood cells known as monocytes derived from nine men and women with Alzheimer’s disease, one man with mild cognitive impairment, and three control subjects. Monocytes are immune system cells that transform into macrophages which travel through the body to consume waste products, including amyloid beta.

The team found that vitamin D3 significantly stimulated phagocytosis and clearance of amyloid beta while protecting against programmed cell death. Specific curcuminoids increased amyloid beta clearance by enhancing its surface binding to macrophages.

Synthetic forms of curcumin were tested in the current experiments due to challenges with natural curcumin’s ability to absorb and remain stable. Nevertheless, previous research conducted by the team found that not all Alzheimer’s disease patients respond to curcuminoids.

“We hope that vitamin D3 and curcumin, both naturally occurring nutrients, may offer new preventive and treatment possibilities for Alzheimer’s disease,” stated Dr Fiala. “Since vitamin D and curcumin work differently with the immune system, we may find that a combination of the two or each used alone may be more effective — depending on the individual patient.”

Try the finest quality vitamin D at www.vitalityshopuk.com

Married life helps prevent Alzheimer’s, says new report


Stockholm: The mental engagement of marriage may protect against the brain disease, Alzheimier’s.

People who have a partner or are married in middle age are at half the risk of developing dementia as those who live alone, says a study.

Getting divorced and becoming widowed in mid-life raises the risk three-fold.

The study by researchers at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm is one of the first to focus on marital status and the risk of dementia.

Previous research already suggests that social isolation or lack of personal contact carries an increased risk of dementia and mental decline.

An American study last year found significant links between feelings of loneliness and the chances of suffering Alzheimer’s.

In the latest study, researchers, led by Professor Miia Kivipelto, interviewed 2,000 people aged 50 on average and then again 21 years later, drawing conclusions from three quarters of those initially involved.

They found that middle-aged people who live alone have double the risk of dementia compared with those who are married or have a partner.
Those living alone in middle-age and who are widowed or divorced have the highest chances of developing dementia.

They are three times more likely to develop diseases such as Alzheimer’s, as are people who are single during middle-age.

People living with a partner or married in mid-life were less likely than the single, separated or widowed to have dementia in later life.

The experts suggested women overall had less chance of dementia than men, but called for more research into differences between the sexes in a report in the British Medical Journal.

The report said: ‘There is a substantial and independent association between marital status in mid-life and cognitive function later in life.’

The researchers speculate that the stress of becoming widowed may play a part in declining mental functions.

Precisely what the connection is between being alone and Alzheimer’s remains an unanswered question.

But experts suspect that constant social interaction between marriage partners may keep brain cells in better working order.

Other studies have revealed that the risk of dementia can be reduced by exercise, a healthy diet and a ‘rich social network’.

The best evidence is around eating a Mediterranean diet, exercising regularly, and getting your cholesterol and blood pressure checked regularly.

US elderly have better mental function than those in UK


US elder have better cognitive function compared to their counterparts of the same age in the UK, according to a joint UK-US study.

The researchers said that mental function of the US elder was better despite the greater incidence of cardiovascular disease risk factors, which was managed better in the US with drugs.

They said: “Cognitive function is a key determinant of independence and quality of life among older adults. Compared to adults in England, US adults have a greater prevalence of cardiovascular risk factors and disease that may lead to poorer cognitive function.

“We compared cognitive performance of older adults in the US and England, and sought to identify sociodemographic and medical factors associated with differences in cognitive function between the two countries.”

The esearcher was carried out at Department of Internal Medicine, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, USA, Department of Public Health and Primary Care, University of Cambridge, Cambridge,UK; Epidemiology and Public Health, Peninsula Medical School, Exeter, UK; Institute for Social Research, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, USA Department of Epidemiology, University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA, USA and the Department of Psychiatry, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK.

They studied 13,566 ethnic white individuals over the age of 60, beginning in 2002.

They found that adults in the UK were economically poorer and suffered more from depression than the US adults, where more money is spent on healthcare and also managing symptoms associated with impaired cognitive function, such as high-blood pressure, with drugs. US adults were also better educated.

The researchers concluded: “We found that despite a higher prevalence of cardiovascular risks and cardiovascular disease among older US adults, they performed significantly better than their English counterparts on tests of memory, suggesting an advantage in cognitive health in the United States.

“While we were unable to confidently identify thecause or causes of this US advantage, higher levels of education and wealth, lower levels of depressive symptoms, and more aggressive treatment of cardiovascular risks
such as hypertension, may be important contributing factors. Given the growing number of older adults worldwide, future cross-national studies aimed at identifying the medical and social factors that might prevent or delay cognitive decline in older adultswould make important and valuable contributions to public health.

Read the full study at Full Paper

Actress Jane Asher launches brain research appeal


London: The Parkinson’s Disease Society (PDS) is launching a nationwide appeal today for people with and without Parkinson’s disease to donate their brains to research and help discover a cure for the condition which affects one in 500 people.

Research using donated brain tissue has already led to important breakthroughs in the treatment and understanding of Parkinson’s including the development of anti-Parkinson’s drug, levodopa which has revolutionised the way symptoms are controlled.

However, only 1,000 people in the UK have currently joined the Parkinson’s Brain Donor Register to donate their brain for scientific research. The PDS, which is launching the Parkinson’s Brain Donor Appeal in its 40th Anniversary year, wants to double the number of brain donors to 2,000 by the end of 2009.

The prospect of brain donation maybe daunting so the PDS are inviting you to submit your questions and concerns about brain donation.

Are you interested in knowing how donating your brain will help research? What exactly will happen to your brain? How might your family feel about you donating your brain? Why does it seem easier to imagine donating your heart or kidney, rather than your brain?

Jane Asher and John Stapleton are among well known supporters who are committing to donating their brains to research into the condition.

For more information about the Parkinson’s Brain Donor Appeal visit: www.parkinsons.org.uk/brainbank

Docs closer to polypill for killer disease


A new trial in India has shown that the so-called “polypill” to guard against stroke and heart attack in older people has beneficial results.

The concept of a polypill for everyone over 55 to cut heart disease by up to 80% was mooted over five years ago, but slow progress has been made since.

But critics of pill-popping as a cure for disease say the problems of high blood pressure and cholesterol should be tackled with diet and exercise.

The polypill used in the latest study, published in the medical journal The Lancet, combines five active pharmacological ingredients widely available separately – aspirin, a statin to lower cholesterol and three blood pressure-lowering drugs – as well as folic acid to reduce homocysteine.

Trials were carried out on 2,053 healthy individuals free of cardiovascular disease, but with a risk factor such as high blood pressure or a long-term smoker, showed combining the drugs into one tablet delivered a similar effect to each drug separately.

Reductions were seen in both blood pressure and cholesterol without any major side effects.

The researchers believe that the combined action of all the components in their “Polycap” capsule made by Cadila Pharmaceuticals, could potentially halve strokes and heart attacks in average, middle-aged people.

The study, led by Dr Salim Yusuf, from McMaster University in Ontario, Canada, took in people at 50 centres across India.

A UK team led by Professor Simon Thom of Imperial College London is testing another polypill to see whether it does cut death rates.

They have been testing a four-in-one polypill called the Red Heart Pill, with the backing of the Wellcome Trust and the British Heart Foundation, which could cost as little as 15 euros per person per year.

Professor Thom said it would be at least five years before there was enough data to convince drug regulators to approve a polypill.

“Mounting evidence shows the polypill does exactly what it should, but no more, whereas exercise has wide reaching effects on health and wellbeing. So a polypill is an addition rather than a replacement for lifestyle interventions.”

Music helps stroke victims – new study


London: Patients who have lost part of their visual awareness following a stroke can show an improved ability to see when they are listening to music they like, according to a new study published today in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Every year, an estimated 150,000 people in the UK have a stroke. Up to 60% of stroke patients have impaired visual awareness of the outside world as a result, where they have trouble interacting with certain objects in the visual world.

This impaired visual awareness, known as ‘visual neglect’, is due to the damage that a stroke causes in brain areas that are critical for the integration of vision, attention and action. Visual neglect causes the patient to lose awareness of objects in the opposite side of space compared to the site of their brain injury.

If the stroke occurs in the right hemisphere of the brain, these patients tend to lose awareness of visual information in the left side of space. This occurs even though the area of the brain associated with sight is not damaged.

The researchers behind the study, from Imperial College London, the University of Birmingham and other institutions, suggest that listening to their favourite music may help stroke patients with impaired visual awareness to regain their ability to see.

The new study looked at three patients who had lost awareness of half of their field of vision as a result of a stroke. The patients completed tasks under three conditions: while listening to their preferred music, while listening to music they did not like and in silence. All three patients could identify coloured shapes and red lights in their depleted side of vision much more accurately while they were listening to their preferred music, compared with listening to music they did not like or silence.

For example, in one task, patients were asked to press a button when they could see a red light appear. One patient could point out the light in 65% of cases while he was listening to music he liked, but could only recognise the light in 15% of cases when there was no music or music he did not like being played.

The researchers believe that the improvement in visual awareness seen in these patients could be as a result of patients experiencing positive emotions when listening to music that they like. The team suggest that when a patient experiences positive emotions this may result in more efficient signalling in the brain. This may then improve the patient’s awareness by giving the brain more resources to process stimuli.

The team also used functional MRI scans to look at the way the brain functioned while the patients performed different tasks. They found that listening to pleasant music as the patients performed the visual tasks activated the brain in areas linked to positive emotional responses to stimuli. When the brain was activated in this way, the activation in emotion brain regions was coupled with the improvement of the patients’ awareness of the visual world.

Dr David Soto, the lead author of the study from the Division of Neurosciences and Mental Health at Imperial College London, said: “Visual neglect can be a very distressing condition for stroke patients. It has a big effect on their day-to-day lives. For example, in extreme cases, patients with visual neglect may eat only the food on the right side of their plate, or shave only half of their face, thus failing to react to certain objects in the environment”.

“We wanted to see if music would improve visual awareness in these patients by influencing the individual’s emotional state. Our results are very promising, although we would like to look at a much larger group of patients with visual neglect and with other neuropsychological impairments. Our findings suggest that we should think more carefully about the individual emotional factors in patients with visual neglect and in other neurological patients following a stroke. Music appears to improve awareness because of its positive emotional effect on the patient, so similar beneficial effects may also be gained by making the patient happy in other ways. This is something we are keen to investigate further,” added Dr Soto.

This research was funded by the British Academy, Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council, Economic and Social Research Council, Medical Research Council and Stroke Association.

1. About Imperial College London

Consistently rated amongst the world’s best universities, Imperial College London is a science-based institution with a reputation for excellence in teaching and research that attracts 13,000 students and 6,000 staff of the highest international quality.

Innovative research at the College explores the interface between science, medicine, engineering and business, delivering practical solutions that improve quality of life and the environment – underpinned by a dynamic enterprise culture.

Since its foundation in 1907, Imperial’s contributions to society have included the discovery of penicillin, the development of holography and the foundations of fibre optics. This commitment to the application of research for the benefit of all continues today, with current focuses including interdisciplinary collaborations to improve health in the UK and globally, tackle climate change and develop clean and sustainable sources of energy.

Website: www.imperial.ac.uk

Smart people live longer


Edinburgh: People with higher intelligence test scores in childhood and early adulthood tend to live longer. This result has been found among every population that has been studied, says expert Ian Deary, Professor of Psychology, Centre for Cognitive Ageing and Cognitive Epidemiology, Department of Psychology, University of Edinburgh.

Indeed, the impact of intelligence on mortality rivals well-known risk factors for illness and death, such as high blood pressure, being overweight, high blood glucose, and high cholesterol. Its effect is almost as important as that of smoking.

Differences in human intelligence have environmental and genetic causes. An intelligence test score in early life is partly a record of what the environment has wrought on the brain and the rest of the body up to that time.

Babies who have lower birth weights, for example, are more prone to chronic illnesses later in life. They also have, on average, slightly lower intelligence. But tests of whether birth weight might explain some of the link between intelligence and mortality have found no connection.

Parents’ occupations are also related to their child’s intelligence and later risk of illness: children from more privileged backgrounds tend to have higher intelligence and better health, and to live longer. However, there is no convincing evidence that parental background explains the link between higher intelligence and longer life.

Other researchers have viewed intelligence test scores as possibly more than just an indicator of an efficient brain. After all, the brain is just one organ of the body, so people whose brains work well in early life may also have other organs and systems that are more efficient than others’.

But this “system integrity” idea is somewhat vague and difficult to test. The best we have done to date has been to examine whether people’s reaction speeds are related to intelligence and to mortality. They are.

Reaction-time tests involve little thinking, and merely ask people to respond as fast as they can to simple stimuli. People who react faster have, on average, higher intelligence scores and live longer.

A third potential explanation is that intelligence is about good decision-making. Every day, as we live our lives, we make decisions about our health: what, when, and how much to eat; how much exercise to take; how to look after ourselves if we have an illness; and so forth.

Therefore, the reason that intelligence and death are linked might be that people with higher intelligence in childhood make better decisions about health, and have healthier behaviours. As adults, they tend to have better diets, exercise more, gain less weight, have fewer hangovers, and so on.

So far, so good. But we do not yet have the full story. There have not been any studies with data on childhood intelligence, lots of subsequent data on adult health behaviours, and then a long-term follow-up for deaths. And only such a study could tell us whether it is these healthy behaviours that explain the link between intelligence and death.

A fourth type of explanation is that people with higher intelligence in childhood tend to attain better educational qualifications, work in more professional jobs, have higher incomes, and live in more affluent areas.

These variables are related to living longer, too. So, perhaps that’s it: higher intelligence buys people into safer and more health-friendly environments.

Certainly, in some studies, social class in adulthood seems to explain a lot of the link between intelligence and death.

The problem is that this “explanation” is statistical. We are still not sure whether, say, education and occupation “explain” the effect of intelligence on health, or whether they are, in effect, merely surrogate measures of intelligence.

Researchers have also searched for clues about the intelligence-mortality link in specific types of death. This has been revealing. Lower intelligence in early life is associated with a greater likelihood of dying from, for example, cardiovascular disease, accidents, suicide, and homicide. The evidence for cancer is less certain. As we have come across these specific findings, we have realised that each link might need a different explanation.

Finally, we know that how intelligent we are and how long we shall live are caused by both environmental and genetic influences. There are experimental designs, using twins, that can find out the extent to which intelligence and mortality are linked because they share environmental and genetic influences.

Among the most informative exercises we can undertake in cognitive epidemiology is to obtain a large group of twins on whom there is data on early-life intelligence and who were tracked for a long time to find out who had died.

The ultimate aim of this research is to find out what intelligent people have and do that enables them to live longer. Once we know that, we will be able to share and apply that knowledge with the aim of achieving optimal health for all.

Just three cups of tea daily reduces stroke risk


London: Daily consumption of three cups of tea a day reduces the risk of stroke and death from stroke, according to the findings of a recent meta-analysis.[1]

The meta-analysis included 10 studies from 6 different countries: China, Japan, Finland, the Netherlands, Australia and the United States. Three of the studies included only women and three only men. Three studies combined the effects in men and women and one study presented its results for men and women separately. These 10 studies included seven populations that drank mainly or exclusively black tea and three that drank mainly green tea.

Commenting on the study from the Tea Advisory Panel, Dr Catherine Hood notes: “These latest health findings are really exciting for all of us tea drinkers. Despite different countries studied and the different tea drinking customs represented across the studies, the meta-analysis showed that tea consumption was associated with reduced risk for stroke and reduced risk of death from stroke. The risk of a fatal or non-fatal stroke in people drinking 3 or more cups of tea a day was reduced by 21 per cent compared to those who did not drink tea.

“Mechanisms by which the tea may protect against stroke could possibly be down to three mechanisms. Firstly, tea has been shown to reduce blood pressure in stroke-prone rats and blood pressure control is the key strategy to reduce risk of stroke in humans. Secondly, tea and the catechins it contains can improve blood vessel function. Thirdly, through the effects of theanine, tea has a protective effect on brain function and may reduce blood vessel damage in the brain.

“In this research, the beneficial effect was not specific to green or black tea, or to the Asian or non-Asian populations in the studies. Moreover, black tea was as effective as green tea in reducing stroke. The authors suggest that their findings may be one of the easiest lifestyle changes to make to significantly reduce the risk of stroke.”

The Tea Advisory Panel: The Tea Advisory Panel is supported by an unrestricted educational grant from the UK TEA COUNCIL, the trade association for the UK tea industry. For further information please call + 44 (0)207 7058989.

Omega 3 – How to find the best by the experts at Croda


Recent media reports have shown that omega 3 supplements on the UK high street vary significantly in terms of the amount of essential fatty acids they contain. Trying to cut through the confusion for consumers is becoming increasingly paramount, because omega 3 fatty acids have clear benefits for many areas of our health and lifestyle, such as heart, circulation and brain health. But we need to seek the best possible quality – and the question remains, how can we tell what’s best?

Pure concentration

An exciting new development area at the top end of the omega 3 spectrum is in high potency, high purity omega 3 marine-based supplement concentrates, which are creating new opportunities and bringing additional health benefits to consumers. They are enriched in EPA, (Eicosapentaenoic Acid), DHA (Docosahexaenoic Acid), and in some, the newly emerging DPA (Docosapentaenoic Acid), seen by experts as the next generation in omega 3 for heart health. Concentrates are distilled and refined during several processes, which also reduces the level of saturates and contaminants which may remain in more unrefined 18/12 grades.

But there’s a catch…

There is currently no globally accepted standard for the omega 3 levels required to define a fish oil product as a ‘concentrate’. Most fish oils currently on the market are based on cod liver or ‘18/12’ oils. 18/12 oils are sourced from blended fish body oils and are known as ‘18/12’ because they give an EPA/DHA ratio of 18% and 12% respectively per 1g of oil. In low-cost health supplements, they form the basis of many so-called ‘concentrates’.

What am I looking for?

Check the ingredient list on the pack to find out the content and dosage of each fatty acid. Look for more of EPA and DPA if you are taking omega 3 for heart health and DHA for brain health.

In true concentrates, fewer and smaller capsules are needed per omega 3 dose, which means that compliance is enhanced and therefore the therapeutic benefits boosted.

Typical fish oil concentrate label information shows:
Nutritional Information Amount per Softgel % RDA
Fish Oil 1200mg *
Providing Omega 3 fatty acids 720mg *
EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) 396mg *
DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) 264mg *
Other fatty acids 60mg *

There is no official RDA, but two world-renowned and respected scientific committees have offered advice on this subject:

• The UK’s JCHI (Joint Health Claims Initiative) recommends that 0.45g of long chain omega 3 fatty acids daily to help maintain a healthy heart
• The AHA (American Heart Association) recommends:
o 1-2g per day to help maintain a healthy heart
o 4g EPA + DHA per day for people with coronary heart disease

Stamp of approval
Croda has developed the PureMax sign of quality. Products displaying the PureMax logo have gone through a unique purification and concentration technology process. The process removes heavy metals, environmental pollutants and oxidative impurities to ensure the highest quality oils. The end products have minimal impurities and contain the selectively concentrated fatty acids. Higher concentration offers greater consumer convenience, improved palatability, better dose compliance and greater cost-efficiency.

So look out for the PureMax stamp of approval to ensure you are taking the best omega 3.

Visit www.puremax.info to discover more.

For further information and to receive a comprehensive omega 3 information pack, please contact Claire or Stephen at Fuel PR on 020 7498 8211. Experts available for interview.

• References:
o Arterburn LM, Bailey E, Oken H; Distribution, interconversion, and dose response of n-3 fatty acids in human, Am J Clin Nutr, 2006, 83, 1467S-76S
o Barton CL, Next-Generation Nutraceuticals . Food and pharma convergence in disease prevention and personalized nutrition, Business Insights Ltd, 2006
o Calder PC, Grimble RF; Polyunsaturated fatty acids, inflammation and immunity, European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2002, 26 Suppl 3, S14-S19.

Does calorie restriction boost brain power?


Berlin: Cutting calories may boost memory as well as increasing lifespan, according to a new study from Germany.

Older adults who cut down on the amount of calories they consume get a two-for-one special: weight loss and better memory, say scientists from the University of Munster, in a study published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

They found that healthy women ranging in age from 50 to 80 who reduced their calorie intake by 30 percent for three months not only lost weight, but their scores on verbal memory tests also increased by 20 percent,

The study included 50 women, all of whom were either normal weight or slightly overweight. (The average body mass index was 28, which is about 175 pounds for a woman who is 5’6″.)

Twenty went on a calorie-cutting diet, another 20 upped their intake of unsaturated fatty acids (which some studies suggest may help ageing brains), and the remaining 10 kept to a normal diet.

Unlike the women who cut down on calories, the women who ate more unsaturated fatty acids showed no improvement in their memories, nor did those in the control group.

The researchers showed that women who cut calories became more sensitive to the blood sugar– regulating hormone insulin and had a drop in the inflammation-associated molecule C-reactive protein. Both factors have been linked to an improvement in brain function.

The findings add to growing evidence that calorie restriction can benefit health and longevity, but this shouldn’t prompt already skinny seniors to start dieting. Older people who lose too much weight increase their risk of falls and fractures.

And eating less isn’t the only way to get this effect. Exercise appears to exert similar effects on brain function by boosting insulin sensitivity and fighting inflammation.

Participants in the study who reduced their calorie intake met several times with dietitians for advice and were instructed not to eat less than 1,200 calories.

Experts believe that, increased inflammation and a drop in insulin sensitivity (which is known as insulin resistance) may help explain why obesity and type 2 diabetes have been linked to worse mental performance and a greater risk of Alzheimer’s disease.

Meanwhile, studies in animals dating back to the 1980s show caloric restriction can extend lifespan and slow aging. The current findings is another piece of evidence that what we see in laboratory rodents on caloric restriction translates to humans

Most studies in humans have looked at people who choose to sharply reduce their calorie intake long-term, he noted. This research has found clear signs of reduced cardiovascular disease risk, and perhaps slower ageing, in these individuals. But this kind of lifestyle change isn’t easy and is best done with professional help, Weindruch said. Health.com: 6 diet trends you should never try

Researchers who study caloric restriction have two main theories on how it might slow aging. One argument is that eating less slows down metabolism, so that the body produces fewer free radicals, which are byproducts of oxygen metabolism that can harm body tissues.

Another is that reducing calorie intake keeps cells under a constant low level of stress, which makes them better able to cope with higher levels of stress when it comes along similar to how the moderate stress induced by exercise can improve people’s health.

The German study will continue with larger studies of calorie restriction and mental function and will perform MRI brain scans on participants before and after they reduce their food intake in order to better understand what’s happening in the brain’s gray matter.

In the meantime, the findings offer yet another reason for people to try eating a little less.