Sharp Brains: Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

Neuroplasticity, Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

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Study suggests canola oil is not as beneficial as advertised; sustained use may cause memory problems and brain damage

Canola oil could cause weight gain and mem­o­ry loss (Los Ange­les Times):

Accord­ing to a recent study con­duct­ed on mice, just two table­spoons of canola oil per day can cause weight gain and severe pro­gres­sion of Alzheimer’s dis­ease. The new results are call­ing into ques­tion pre­vi­ous rec­om­men­da­tions of canola oil as a health­ful alter­na­tive to sat­u­rat­ed fats.

Canola oil is appeal­ing because it is less expen­sive than oth­er veg­etable oils, and it is adver­tised as being healthy,” said lead researcher Domeni­co Prat­icò, M.D. “Very few stud­ies, how­ev­er, have exam­ined that claim, espe­cial­ly in terms of the brain.” Read the rest of this entry »

Beta amyloid build-up in the brain may increase risk of cognitive impairment more than having “Alzheimer’s gene”

Plaque Build-Up in Your Brain May Be More Harm­ful Than Hav­ing Alzheimer’s Gene (Sci­ence Dai­ly):

A new study shows that hav­ing a high amount of beta amy­loid or “plaques” in the brain asso­ci­at­ed with Alzheimer’s dis­ease may cause steep­er mem­o­ry decline in men­tal­ly healthy old­er peo­ple than does hav­ing the APOE ?4 allele, also asso­ci­at­ed with the dis­ease. “Our results show that plaques may be a more impor­tant fac­tor in deter­min­ing which peo­ple are Read the rest of this entry »

Education builds Cognitive Reserve for Alzheimers Disease Protection

Giv­en the grow­ing media cov­er­age men­tion­ing the terms Cog­ni­tive Reserve and Brain Reserve, you may be ask­ing your­self, “What exact­ly is my Cog­ni­tive (or Brain) Reserve?”

The cog­ni­tive reserve hypoth­e­sis, test­ed in mul­ti­ple stud­ies, states that indi­vid­u­als with more cog­ni­tive reserve can expe­ri­ence more Alzheimer’s dis­ease pathol­o­gy in the brain (more plaques and tan­gles) with­out devel­op­ing Alzheimer’s dis­ease symp­toms.

How does that work? Sci­en­tists are not sure but two pos­si­bil­i­ties are con­sid­ered.
1. One is that more cog­ni­tive reserve means more brain reserve, that is more neu­rons and con­nec­tions (synaps­es) between neu­rons. Indi­vid­u­als with more synaps­es would then have more synaps­es to lose before the crit­i­cal thresh­old for Alzheimer’s Dis­ease is reached.
2. Anoth­er pos­si­bil­i­ty is that more cog­ni­tive reserve means more com­pen­sato­ry process­es. The brain of indi­vid­u­als with more cog­ni­tive reserve would use more alter­na­tive net­works to com­pen­sate for the dam­ages caused by the pathol­o­gy in pre­vi­ous­ly used net­works.

In a new­ly pub­lished study, Roe and col­leagues brain fitness event from Wash­ing­ton Uni­ver­si­ty in St. Louis, used the num­ber of years of edu­ca­tion as a mea­sure of cog­ni­tive reserve. Why years of edu­ca­tion? Because pre­vi­ous stud­ies have shown that peo­ple who have more edu­ca­tion also exhib­it a greater resis­tance to Alzheimer’s symp­toms, even while patho­log­i­cal changes are occur­ring in the brain (see Ben­nett el al., 2003 or Roe, Xiong, et al., 2008).

Roe and her col­leagues stud­ied 198 indi­vid­u­als whose mean age was 67. Out of these 198 indi­vid­u­als, 161 were non­de­ment­ed and 37 were diag­nosed with Alzheimer’s Dis­ease.

All the par­tic­i­pants in the study took a Read the rest of this entry »

Brain Health and Alzheimer’s Prevention

We just received these two very thought-pro­vok­ing essays on Alzheimer’s Dis­ease and brain health, as part of a writ­ing work­shop, led by Susan Hill in Lake­land, Flori­da, with a group of grade 9–11 home­school­ers.

With­out fur­ther ado, here you are both Essays:

Essay A. Pre­vent­ing Alzheimer’s at Work

– By Josh H

5,000,000: that is the num­ber of peo­ple in the Unit­ed States alone who are affect­ed by Alzheimer’s dis­ease. Research has shown that those who held jobs such as san­i­ta­tion work­ers or trash col­lec­tors in their 30s, 40s, and 50s are more at risk for Alzheimer’s dis­ease than peo­ple who held jobs such as doc­tors or sci­en­tists at the same age. If every­one knew this, the world would ben­e­fit, and it could impact the lives of every­one.

Read the rest of this entry »

About SharpBrains

As seen in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, BBC News, CNN, Reuters,  SharpBrains is an independent market research firm tracking how brain science can improve our health and our lives.

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