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.
More information about the research here.
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.”
More information here.
Findings of a recent study published in JAMA Pediatrics suggest that children who were born at 41 weeks seem to have higher levels of cognitive ability compared to those who were born at 39 or 40 weeks. But children born late also may have lower physical functioning.
The study shows that if a child is born full term, they can have better health and cognitive ability while growing up and as they become adults.
Scientists also note that those kids, who are born late, might have an increased risk of health complications. Still they need to have more information about the long-term cognitive and physical consequences of birth after the full term.
Researchers from Northwestern University in Evanston, USA, examined records of more than 1.4 million children for this research.
More details here.
Health experts provide various studies confirming that obesity affects the brain. The researcher Ranjana Mehta, an assistant professor of environmental and occupational health at the Texas A&M Health Science Center School of Public Health in College Station, Texas, says that extra pounds can change the brain structure and cause atrophy.
Here are 6 ways how obesity affects the brain, confirmed by the studies:
- Extra weight is associated with poorer episodic, or difficulty in recalling events from the past.
- Midlife obesity leads to the higher risk of dementia.
- Obesity linked to changes in brain activity that affect neuromuscular function, including making it harder to grasp.
- People with extra weight expend more mental resource for walking.
- People who are overweight may have dull ability to experience pleasure.
- Extra weight is associated with the increased risk of depression.
Health experts agree that losing weight usually has a positive effect on brain health. Besides, such lifestyle changes as heart-healthy diet and exercising have also proven to be a good method to optimize cognitive function.
More information here.