Posts Tagged ‘brain health’

Brain Food: Nothing Fishy About This

Monday, January 9th, 2012

Baked or broiled fish makes for an excellent brain food.

A recent study presented at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA) found that people who consumed fish on a weekly basis had better memory retention were at a significantly lower risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease in old age.

Scientists believe that the Omega-3 fatty acids found in fish help increase blood flow to the brain, reduce inflammation and reduce the build up of harmful plaque which typically precedes the onset of cognitive impairment. (These benefits don’t apply to fish that is fried, a cooking process that breaks down the healthy fats.)

Using MRI scans, researchers at the University of Pittsburgh studied the brain health of 260 seniors over a period of 10 years. The study provides the first direct link between fish consumption and brain health. Participants who consumed fish at least once a week were three to five times less likely to develop Alzheimer’s symptoms than those who had little or no fish in their diets. They also maintained higher levels of grey brain matter and were five times less likely to suffer memory loss compared with those who did not eat fish regularly.

Lead researcher Dr. Cyrus Raji said that larger brain volume is closely tied to brain health. “Consuming baked or broiled fish promotes stronger neurons in the brain’s grey matter by making them larger and healthier,” Dr. Raji explained. “This simple lifestyle choice increases the brain’s resistance to Alzheimer’s disease and lowers risk for the disorder.”

New Understanding of Neurogenesis

Friday, March 26th, 2010


Not all new brain cells end up getting used. Why do some survive and become useful when others don’t? That’s the question associate professor Angelique Bordey and her team from Yale University have shed some light on with a recent study, as reported in the March 25 issue of Neuron.

Bordey’s team looked at adult neurogenesis. They found that if certain receptors (NMDA receptors) associated with the new neurons are lost, the cells are much more likely to die. (NMDA receptors are key to the transmission of information in the brain and malfunctioning of these receptors has been associated with various mental disorders and diseases.)

The study has implications for stem cell transplantation and brain health education: Bordey noted that stem cells used in transplants may need to be mature enough to possess these receptors. And the general public should be aware that drugs (e.g., PCP, or angel dust,) that prevent NMDA function, kill brain cells and adversely affect brain development.