The pestering head of occasional forgetfulness rears itself just about the time we reach middle age. That happens because the brain has more than one location in which to store information. Even after we have become creatures of routine things go awry. Taking things for granted and performing certain actions day after day breeds mindlessness. We fail to notice this until we can’t find the car keys or the cell phone. But, fortunately, this is only a passing inconvenience.
The National Institute of Health, in its subsidiary, FamilyDoctor.org, makes it clear that there is little need to be overly concerned about periodic memory lapses. Trying to find the one word that will finish a sentence with flourish can be frustrating, but is not a matter of grave concern. Just as the body changes with time, so does the mind. Memory problems from mood, family and work can aggravate, and also the bad guys, medications, drinking, and injuries can contribute. Most of the time there is nothing to worry about. Let it be known, though, that serious problems are not part of normal aging. Forgetting the names of people you’ve known for years because you meet them by chance in a strange venue does not indicate a memory reversal, but merely a surprise that interrupts the status quo. Serious problems are those that affect daily living, such as forgetting things you have done many times over the years, or suddenly being unable to do things that require steps, such as assembling an object.
Remote and short-term memories are not usually affected by aging. The more important to you a piece of information is, the more likely you are to remember it longer. Depending on its significance, you’ll be able to retrieve that information sooner or later, even if it takes a few seconds longer than you like. Short-term memories are stored by transient patterns of neuron communication unless you purposely deem them significant enough to recall later on. This is controlled by regions of the brain called the frontal and parietal lobes. If this data is to be stored for a long time, the hippocampus consolidates the short-term into long-term, even though it isn’t the storage location itself.
Besides practicing sound dietary habits, it’s worthwhile to pay attention to the finer points of what we do, and to organize oneself. The method and intensity of processing makes a difference in memory. Using more than one sense to store information helps to shuttle it into neat and tidy storage. Instead of just looking at the number in the phone book, say it aloud so that hearing is combined with vision. Copying it onto a piece of paper entails the tactile sense.
Yes, the threat of Alzheimer’s disease is alarming, but transient memory snags are qualitatively different from those associated with Alzheimer’s. In this disease, recent memories are not stored and, therefore, cannot be recalled, although the distant past might be quite lucid. Over time, all facets of memory become affected.
What about diet? Since the brain is mostly fat, it makes sense to add in more fats and oils in the diet, but not just the fat at the edge of that sirloin. The essential fatty acids are needed for brain growth and development. In fact, the lipids of the central nervous system contain high proportions of arachidonic (n-6 AA) and docosahexaenoic (n-3 DHA) fatty acids. However, Freund-Levi 2006, found that administration of omega-3 fatty acids (he is referring to fish oil n-3 HUFAs) in patients with mild to moderate Alzheimers did not delay the rate of cognitive decline. Also, Devore 2009, reports that “These findings suggest that lower intakes of saturated and trans fat and higher intake of polyunsaturated fat relative to saturated fat may reduce cognitive decline in individuals with type 2 diabetes”.
A large percentage of us that are health conscious are leaning on the omega 3 fish oils, EPA and DHA for improved health, however research does not seem to support the omega 3 HUFAs for better brain performance. That does not make sense.
DHA is the reason we are smarter than the grazing animals, what gives? Solfrizzi, 2006, found that eating a high MUFA and PUFA diet were significantly associated with better cognitive performance. MUFAs are Mono-Unsaturated (think olive) and PUFAs, Poly-Unsaturated, are the first step for the omega 6s and 3s (sunflower and flax, not fish oil). Lauretani, 2007, also corroborated it by discovering that lower plasma PUFA, omega-6 and omega 3 fatty acids, linoleic and linolenic fatty acids, significantly predicted a steeper decline in nerve function parameters.
It seems that everybody on the planet is taking fish oils and getting nowhere trying to stay sharp. The answer may be obscure, but our research and clinical experience also corroborates the Italian researchers, Solfrizzi and Lauretani and others. At BodyBio we have focused on teaching our doctor friends on the necessity of getting an RBCFA blood test (Red Blood Cell Fatty Acid) for all their compromised patients.
One of the most consistent weaknesses we find in their test results is a low fatty acid content. What do you do with that reading? What you can’t do is take fish oil (HUFAs) or olive oil (MUFAs). You need the base 6s and 3s, PUFAs, and the only safe way is to stay with a 4:1 ratio, 80% 6s and 20% 3s, as in the BodyBio Balanced Oil.
At BodyBio all oils go to a lab for analysis to enable the correct mixture before blending. The absolute here is that there is no other safe way to raise fluidity – and fluidity -- is everything. There is another essential – we need gobs of the stuff to avoid Alzheimers and all of the neurological disorders.
Take a look at this piece fromwww.FamilyDoctor.org to get the American Academy of Family Physician’s take on memory. Here is the link: http://familydoctor.org/online/famdocen/home/seniors/common-older/124.printerview.html
Freund-Levi Y, Eriksdotter-Jönhagen M, Cederholm T, Basun H, Faxén-Irving G, Garlind A, et al. Omega-3 fatty acid treatment in 174 patients with mild to moderate Alzheimer disease: OmegAD study: a randomized double-blind trial. Arch Neurol. 2006 Oct;63(10):1402-8.
van Gelder BM, Tijhuis M, Kalmijn S, Kromhout D. Fish consumption, n-3 fatty acids, and subsequent 5-y cognitive decline in elderly men: the Zutphen Elderly Study. Am J Clin Nutr. 2007 Apr;85(4):1142-7.
Solfrizzi V, Colacicco AM, D’Introno A, Capurso C, Torres F, Rizzo C, Capurso A, Panza F. Dietary intake of unsaturated fatty acids and age-related cognitive decline: a 8.5-year follow-up of the Italian Longitudinal Study on Aging. Neurobiol Aging. 2006 Nov;27(11):1694-704.
Lauretani F, Bandinelli S, Bartali B, Cherubini A, Iorio AD, Blè A, Giacomini V, Corsi AM, Guralnik JM, Ferrucci L. Omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids predict accelerated decline of peripheral nerve function in older persons. Eur J Neurol. 2007 Jul;14(7):801-8.
Devore EE, Stampfer MJ, Breteler MM, Rosner B, Hee Kang J, et al. Dietary fat intake and cognitive decline in women with type 2 diabetes. Diabetes Care. 2009 Apr;32(4):635-40.
Am J Clin Nutr. 2007 Apr;85(4):1142-7. Fish consumption, n-3 fatty acids, and subsequent 5-y cognitive decline in elderly men: the Zutphen Elderly Study. van Gelder BM, Tijhuis M, Kalmijn S, Kromhout D. Centre for Prevention and Health Services Research, National Institute for Public Health and the Environment, Bilthoven, Netherlands. Boukje.van.Gelder@rivm.nl
BACKGROUND Indications have been seen of a protective effect of fish consumption and the intake of n-3 fatty acids on cognitive decline. However, studies are scarce and results inconsistent.
OBJECTIVE The objective of the study was to examine the associations between fish consumption, the intake of the n-3 fatty acids eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) from fish and other foods, and subsequent 5-y cognitive decline.
DESIGN Data on fish consumption of 210 participants in the Zutphen Elderly Study, who were aged 70-89 y in 1990, and data on cognitive functioning collected in 1990 and 1995 were used in the study. The intake of EPA and DHA (EPA+DHA) was calculated for each participant. Multivariate linear regression analysis with multiple adjustments was used to assess associations.
RESULTS Fish consumers had significantly (P = 0.01) less 5-y subsequent cognitive decline than did nonconsumers. A linear trend was observed for the relation between the intake of EPA+DHA and cognitive decline (P = 0.01). An average difference of approximately 380 mg/d in EPA+DHA intake was associated with a 1.1-point difference in cognitive decline (P = 0.01).
CONCLUSIONS A moderate intake of EPA+DHA may postpone cognitive decline in elderly men. Results from other studies are needed before definite conclusions about this association can be drawn.
Arch Neurol. 2006 Oct;63(10):1402-8. Omega-3 fatty acid treatment in 174 patients with mild to moderate Alzheimer disease: OmegAD study: a randomized double-blind trial. Freund-Levi Y, Eriksdotter-Jönhagen M, Cederholm T, Basun H, Faxén-Irving G, Garlind A, Vedin I, Vessby B, Wahlund LO, Palmblad J. Department of Neurobiology, Caring Sciences and Society, Section of Clinical Geriatrics, Karolinska University Hospital Huddinge, Stockholm.
BACKGROUND Epidemiologic and animal studies have suggested that dietary fish or fish oil rich in omega-3 fatty acids, for example, docosahexaenoic acid and eicosapentaenoic acid, may prevent Alzheimer disease (AD).
OBJECTIVE To determine effects of dietary omega-3 fatty acid supplementation on cognitive functions in patients with mild to moderate AD.
DESIGN Randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial.
Two hundred four patients with AD (age range
MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES The primary outcome was cognition measured with the MMSE and the cognitive portion of the Alzheimer Disease Assessment Scale. The secondary outcome was global function as assessed with the Clinical Dementia Rating Scale; safety and tolerability of omega-3 fatty acid supplementation; and blood pressure determinations.
RESULTS One hundred seventy-four patients fulfilled the trial. At baseline, mean values for the Clinical Dementia Rating Scale, MMSE, and cognitive portion of the Alzheimer Disease Assessment Scale in the 2 randomized groups were similar. At 6 months, the decline in cognitive functions as assessed by the latter 2 scales did not differ between the groups. However, in a subgroup (n = 32) with very mild cognitive dysfunction (MMSE >27 points), a significant (P<.05 reduction in mmse decline rate was observed the omega-3 fatty acid-treated group compared with placebo group. a similar arrest between and months this subgroup when receiving acid supplementation. treatment safe well tolerated.>
CONCLUSIONS Administration of omega-3 fatty acid in patients with mild to moderate AD did not delay the rate of cognitive decline according to the MMSE or the cognitive portion of the Alzheimer Disease Assessment Scale. However, positive effects were observed in a small group of patients with very mild AD (MMSE >27 points).
Neurobiol Aging. 2006 Nov;27(11):1694-704. Dietary intake of unsaturated fatty acids and age-related cognitive decline: a 8.5-year follow-up of the Italian Longitudinal Study on Aging. Solfrizzi V, Colacicco AM, D’Introno A, Capurso C, Torres F, Rizzo C, Capurso A, Panza F. Department of Geriatrics, Center for Aging Brain, Memory Unit, University of Bari, Policlinico, Piazza G. Cesare 11, 70124 Bari, Italy. email@example.com
Abstract There is evidence from a population-based study of an inverse relationship between monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA) energy intake and age-related cognitive decline (ARCD), while high polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) intake was positively associated with cognitive impairment in elderly subjects. We investigated the possible role of MUFA and PUFA on age-related cognitive changes. A population-based, prospective study was carried out on 278, 186, and 95 nondemented elderly subjects (65-84 years) evaluated for global cognitive functions (Mini-Mental State Examination, MMSE) at the first (1992-1993), second (1995-1996), and third survey (2000-2001), respectively, from the randomized cohort of Casamassima, Bari, Italy (n=704), one of the eight centers of the Italian Longitudinal Study on Aging (ILSA). MUFA and PUFA intakes were assessed at baseline with a semi-quantitative food frequency questionnaire. High MUFA and PUFA energy intakes and total energy intake were significantly associated with a better cognitive performance in a 8.5-year follow-up. In this prospective population-based study on older nondemented subjects with a typical Mediterranean diet, high MUFA and PUFA intakes appeared to be protective against ARCD.
Am J Clin Nutr. 2007 Nov;86(5):1479-85. n 3 fatty acid proportions in plasma and cognitive performance in older adults. Dullemeijer C, Durga J, Brouwer IA, van de Rest O, Kok FJ, Brummer RJ, van Boxtel MP, Verhoef P. Wageningen Centre for Food Sciences, Wageningen, Netherlands. firstname.lastname@example.org
BACKGROUND Very-long-chain n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (n-3 PUFAs) are suggested to be related to cognitive performance in older adults. However, limited data exist on the association between n-3 PUFAs and performance in specific cognitive domains.
OBJECTIVE We evaluated the association between plasma n-3 PUFA proportions and cognitive performance in 5 cognitive domains and determined whether plasma n-3 PUFA proportions predict cognitive change over 3 y.
DESIGN We used data from the FACIT trial, in which participants received folic acid or placebo capsules for 3 y. Fatty acid proportions in plasma cholesteryl esters at baseline were measured in 807 men and women aged 50-70 y. Cognitive performance for memory, sensorimotor speed, complex speed, information-processing speed, and word fluency was assessed at baseline and after 3 y. The cross-sectional analyses were based on all 807 participants; the longitudinal analyses were based only on 404 participants in the placebo group. RESULTS: Higher plasma n-3 PUFA proportions predicted less decline in sensorimotor speed (multiple linear regression coefficient, z score = 0.31; 95% CI: 0.06, 0.57) and complex speed (0.40; 95% CI: 0.10, 0.70) over 3 y. Plasma n-3 PUFA proportions did not predict 3-y changes in memory, information-processing speed, or word fluency. The cross-sectional analyses showed no association between plasma n-3 PUFA proportions and performance in any of the 5 cognitive domains.
CONCLUSIONS In this population, plasma n-3 PUFA proportions were associated with less decline in the speed-related cognitive domains over 3 y. These results need to be confirmed in randomized controlled trials
Eur J Neurol. 2007 Jul;14(7):801-8. Omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids predict accelerated decline of peripheral nerve function in older persons. Lauretani F, Bandinelli S, Bartali B, Cherubini A, Iorio AD, Blè A, Giacomini V, Corsi AM, Guralnik JM, Ferrucci L. Tuscany Regional Health Agency, Florence, Italy.
Abstract Pre-clinical studies suggest that both omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids have beneficial effects on peripheral nerve function. Rats feed a diet rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) showed modification of phospholipid fatty acid composition in nerve membranes and improvement of sciatic nerve conduction velocity (NCV). We tested the hypothesis that baseline plasma omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids levels predict accelerated decline of peripheral nerve function. Changes between baseline and the 3-year follow-up in peripheral nerve function was assessed by standard surface ENG of the right peroneal nerve in 384 male and 443 female participants of the InCHIANTI study (age range: 24-97 years). Plasma concentrations of selected fatty acids assessed at baseline by gas chromatography. Independent of confounders, plasma omega-6 fatty acids and linoleic acid were significantly correlated with peroneal NCV at enrollment. Lower plasma PUFA, omega-6 fatty acids, linoleic acid, ratio omega-6/omega-3, arachidonic acid and docosahexanoic acid levels were significantly predicted a steeper decline in nerve function parameters over the 3-year follow-up. Low plasma omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids levels were associated with accelerated decline of peripheral nerve function with aging.
Diabetes Care. 2009 Apr;32(4):635-40. Dietary fat intake and cognitive decline in women with type 2 diabetes. Devore EE, Stampfer MJ, Breteler MM, Rosner B, Hee Kang J, Okereke O, Hu FB, Grodstein F. Channing Laboratory, Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts, USA.
OBJECTIVE Individuals with type 2 diabetes have high risk of late-life cognitive impairment, yet little is known about strategies to modify risk. Targeting insulin resistance and vascular complications-both associated with cognitive decline-may be a productive approach. We investigated whether dietary fat, which modulates glucose and lipid metabolism, might influence cognitive decline in older adults with diabetes.
RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS Beginning in 1995-1999, we evaluated cognitive function in 1,486 Nurses’ Health Study participants, aged >or=70 years, with type 2 diabetes; second evaluations were conducted 2 years later. Dietary fat intake was assessed regularly beginning in 1980; we considered average intake from 1980 (at midlife) through initial cognitive interview and also after diabetes diagnosis. We used multivariate-adjusted linear regression models to obtain mean differences in cognitive decline across tertiles of fat intake.
RESULTS Higher intakes of saturated and trans fat since midlife, and lower polyunsaturated to saturated fat ratio, were each highly associated with worse cognitive decline in these women. On a global score averaging all six cognitive tests, mean decline among women in the highest trans fat tertile was 0.15 standard units worse than that among women in the lowest tertile (95% CI -0.24 to -0.06, P = 0.002); this mean difference was comparable with the difference we find in women 7 years apart in age. Results were similar when we analyzed diet after diabetes diagnosis.
CONCLUSIONS These findings suggest that lower intakes of saturated and trans fat and higher intake of polyunsaturated fat relative to saturated fat may reduce cognitive decline in individuals with type 2 diabetes.
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