As baby boomers age, and Alzheimer’s and dementia become more common, there’s a growing body of research focusing on strategies to maintain memories and cognitive function. Doing regular crossword puzzles helps. Having command of at least two languages makes a difference. And now there’s a new strategy, one that will be dear to the heart of aging Gleeks everywhere: Belting out show tunes helps you keep your memories. Researchers spent four months working with residents in an elder-care facility and found it was singing, not listening, that made the greatest difference. Included in the repertoire were songs from The Sound of Music, The Wizard of Oz and Oklahoma!. The singing even helped folks in advanced stages of dementia. So sing, out loud, out strong. (Via NY Daily News.)
By Dr. Orna Izakson
beans and oregano.
The ancient Greek physician Hippocrates (460-377 BCE) famously said “Let food be your medicine and medicine be your food.”
Gardeners know the best way to get your veggies is fresh and organic, ideally straight from the farm or garden. But beyond simple nourishment, scientists are finding some foods specifically help prevent or reverse certain diseases. Published research from the past few months alone has shown fruits and veggies protect your heart, brain and eyes, and help fight asthma, cancer, swine flu, Alzheimer’s disease, depression, type 2 diabetes and osteoporosis.
Much of the research looks at isolated constituents in the foods, although of course there’s more to fresh fruits and veggies than the isolated “active ingredients” scientists have identified so far. All the components in the plant work synergistically, and do more than just one thing.
Here’s a short list to get you started. (more…)
Photo by Oktaviani Marvikasari.
You’ve always heard that fish is brain food. Now, a growing body of research is supporting that contention.
One study published in the February edition of the Archives of General Psychiatry found that fish-oil supplements high in omega-3 fatty acids warded off psychosis in high-risk teens. Study participants received either fish oil or a placebo for 12 weeks. One year later, more of the fish-oil teens were still psychosis free. Researchers say the results are as good as those seen with antipsychotic medications, with benefits lasting longer than any other intervention. And, unlike typical pharmaceutical prescriptions that cause problems including weight gain and libido loss, fish oils seem to have no major negative side effects.
Other studies are finding that omega-3 oils can help the mind stay young and sharp. Earlier reports found that DHA, one specific form of omega-3, helped slow dementia but didn’t help folks with Alzheimer’s disease. A February report in the Journal of Neurochemistry suggests that EPA, another omega-3, may do the trick. The report’s authors believe EPA helps slow the natural decline of acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter, helping keep the brain young and boost memory and learning. Both DHA and EPA are typically found in fish-oil supplements in varying ratios.
A version of this post originally appeared on Wellwire.com.