A recent analysis of data, performed by the National Eye Institute of the National Institute of Health, US, finds that eating the Mediterranean diet is associated with higher cognitive function.
For the study, a team of researchers examined the effects of 9 components of the said diet on cognition. The diet includes a lot of whole fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, legumes, fish, and olive oil. It is also characterized by reduced consumption of red meat and alcohol.
Lead author of the studies Emily Chew, M.D., director of the NEI Division of Epidemiology and Clinical Applications, says: “We do not always pay attention to our diets. We need to explore how nutrition affects the brain and the eye.”
A recent study, which is considered to be the largest of its kind, suggests that a certain link exists between people who wear glasses (or contacts) and cognitive function. According to its findings, intelligent people are almost 30% more likely to wear glasses.
For the study, a team of scientists analyzed the genetic information of over 300,000 individuals from existing genomic databases where the participants provided samples for DNA analysis, answered questionnaires, and underwent tests designed to give a measure of their general cognitive ability.
Genetic statistician Gail Davis, a lead author of the study, of the University of Edinburgh in the UK, says: “This study, the largest genetic study of cognitive function, has identified many genetic differences that contribute to the heritability of thinking skills. The discovery of shared genetic effects on health outcomes and brain structure provides a foundation for exploring the mechanisms by which these differences influence thinking skills throughout a lifetime.”
A new study suggests that an extract of ginkgo biloba in combination with aspirin may promote cognitive functioning after a stroke. Ginkgo biloba extract is an herbal supplement received from the ginkgo tree, also known as maidenhair tree, native to China.
For the study, a team of scientists from China enrolled 348 adults with average age 64 from five hospitals in China Jiangsu Province. All the patients experienced an ischemic stroke within the past 7 days.
The scientists note that at 12 and 30 days after treatment, those patients who were treated with both ginkgo biloba extract and aspirin showed better functional capacity that those who received aspirin only demonstrating fewer neurobiological impairments such as speech problems and muscle weakness.
The Chinese researchers write in their paper: “The study demonstrated that patients with stroke who received GBE (Ginkgo biloba extract] and aspirin manifested better memory function, executive functions, neurological function, and daily life. Additionally, the safety data analysis demonstrated that GBE did not increase the incidence of adverse events.”
The antioxidant properties of carotenoids, vegetable compounds found in some vegetables, are well known, and now an emerging research suggests that these compounds may influence cognition positively.
Carotenoids can be found in such vegetables as carrots, pumpkins, peppers, tomatoes, potatoes, oranges, kale, spinach, and peas.
For their study, the researchers included 43 adults aged between 65 and 86 years. They asked to learn and remember pairs of unrelated words while undergoing through functional MRI. The assessed the level of lutein and zeaxanthin (kinds of carotenoids) in the retina.
Scientists found that higher levels of lutein and zeaxanthin were associated with a lower signal in several areas of the brain. This indicated lower brain activity in individuals with higher levels of carotenoids, which meant they had not had to work as hard to complete the task.
According to a new international study, a dose of probiotics on a daily basis may boost memory and thinking abilities in patients with Alzheimer’s disease. Probiotics are yeasts, or live bacteria, with several known benefits for human body that include menopause-like bone loss and improvement of mental health.
A team of scientists from Iran found that people with the condition who drank milk enriched with live bacteria showed significant improvement in cognitive function.
Mahmoud Salami, a professor from Kashan University and lead author of the study, says: “The study is the first to show that probiotics provide benefits in cognitive improvement.”
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