Like most people, I love chocolate and would be thrilled if it could be the next healthy brain food! And in fact a new study hitting the headlines today claims chocolate – cocoa specifically – might help improve cognitive functioning. As delicious as these results sound, I hate to tell you there are some serious flaws in the methodology.
This study looked at neurovascular coupling (NVC), which is a term for the close relationship between brain activity and brain cerebral blood flow. As different areas of the brain need more energy to complete their tasks, they also need greater blood flow. A lower blood flow response to a cognitive task is considered “impaired NVC.” If blood flow is impaired, it can compromise cognitive functioning, and perhaps even cause damage. This study was designed to see if NVC can be changed through dietary intervention – in this case antioxidant-rich cocoa. Continue reading “Can chocolate reduce risk of Alzheimer’s?” »
Two new studies were released today at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference that talk about alcohol consumption and Alzheimer’s disease. Read about all the new findings in the press release below or at www.alz.org/aaic.
Late-Life Binge Drinking and Other Patterns of Alcohol Use May Increase Risk of Cognitive Decline
VANCOUVER, July 18, 2012 – Light to moderate alcohol consumption has generally been considered to have some health benefits, including possibly reducing risk of cognitive decline. However, two studies reported today at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference® 2012 (AAIC® 2012) in Vancouver suggest that moderate alcohol use in late-life, heavier use earlier in life, and “binge” drinking in late-life increase risk of cognitive decline. Continue reading “Could Alcohol Be Bad for Your Brain?” »
Whenever I speak to audiences about brain health, I ask, “Has anyone noticed any changes in their brain in the last decade or so?” Inevitably everyone – and I mean everyone – over age 50 raises their hands. They laugh and share examples of forgetting names, car keys, even occasionally losing a car (I’ve done all of the above). The 20- and 30-something audience members look on with a mix of disdain and pity. I always imagine them thinking “poor old people…”
Well it turns out that my anecdotal experience appears to match the findings of a new study. We start to experience some cognitive decline around age 45 on. In an article published last week in BMJ (British Medical Journal), researchers found that – contrary to many other studies – cognitive decline can start long before the age of 60. Continue reading “Does middle age mark the beginning of cognitive decline?” »