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Diet Modifications – Including More Wine and Cheese – May Help Reduce Cognitive Decline, Study Suggests

ScienceDaily

The foods we eat may have a direct impact on our cognitive acuity in our later years. This is the key finding of an Iowa State University research study spotlighted in an article published in the November 2020 issue of the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease.

The study was spearheaded by the principal investigator, Auriel Willette, an assistant professor in Food Science and Human Nutrition, and Brandon Klinedinst, a Neuroscience Ph.D. candidate working in the Food Science and Human Nutrition department at Iowa State. The study is a first-of-its-kind large scale analysis that connects specific foods to later-in-life cognitive acuity.

Willette, Klinedinst, and their team analyzed data collected from 1,787 aging adults (from 46 to 77 years of age, at the completion of the study) in the United Kingdom through the UK Biobank, a large-scale biomedical database and research resource containing in-depth genetic and health information from half-a-million UK participants. The database is globally accessible to approved researchers undertaking vital research into the world’s most common and life-threatening diseases.

Participants completed a Fluid Intelligence Test (FIT) as part of a touchscreen questionnaire at baseline (compiled between 2006 and 2010) and then in two follow-up assessments (conducted from 2012 through 2013 and again between 2015 and 2016). The FIT analysis provides an in-time snapshot of an individual’s ability to “think on the fly.”

Participants also answered questions about their food and alcohol consumption at baseline and through two follow-up assessments. The Food Frequency Questionnaire asked participants about their intake of fresh fruit, dried fruit, raw vegetables and salad, cooked vegetables, oily fish, lean fish, processed meat, poultry, beef, lamb, pork, cheese, bread, cereal, tea, and coffee, beer and cider, red wine, white wine and champagne, and liquor.

Here are four of the most significant findings from the study:

  1. Cheese, by far, was shown to be the most protective food against age-related cognitive problems, even late into life;
  2. The daily consumption of alcohol, particularly red wine, was related to improvements in cognitive function;
  3. Weekly consumption of lamb, but not other red meats, was shown to improve long-term cognitive prowess; and
  4. Excessive consumption of salt is bad, but only individuals already at risk for Alzheimer’s Disease may need to watch their intake to avoid cognitive problems over time.

“I was pleasantly surprised that our results suggest that responsibly eating cheese and drinking red wine daily are not just good for helping us cope with our current COVID-19 pandemic, but perhaps also dealing with an increasingly complex world that never seems to slow down,” Willette said. “While we took into account whether this was just due to what well-off people eat and drink, randomized clinical trials are needed to determine if making easy changes in our diet could help our brains in significant ways.”

Klinedinst added, “Depending on the genetic factors you carry, some individuals seem to be more protected from the effects of Alzheimer’s, while other seem to be at greater risk. That said, I believe the right food choices can prevent the disease and cognitive decline altogether. Perhaps the silver bullet we’re looking for is upgrading how we eat. Knowing what that entails contributes to a better understanding of Alzheimer’s and put this disease in a reverse trajectory.”

Willette and Klinedinst acknowledge the valuable contributions of the other members of the research team: Scott Le, Colleen Pappas, Nathan Hoth, Amy Pollpeter and Qian Wang in the Iowa State Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition; Brittany Larsen, Neuroscience graduate program at Iowa State; Yueying Wang and Li Wang, Department of Statistics at Iowa State; Shan Yu, Department of Statistics, University of Virginia; Karin Allenspach, department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences at Iowa State; Jonathan Mochel, department of Biomedical Sciences at Iowa State; and David Bennett, Rush Alzheimer’s Disease Center, Rush Medical Center, Rush University.


Story Source:

Materials provided by Iowa State University. Originally written by Dan Kirkpatrick. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Brandon S. Klinedinst, Scott T. Le, Brittany Larsen, Colleen Pappas, Nathan J. Hoth, Amy Pollpeter, Qian Wang, Yueying Wang, Shan Yu, Li Wang, Karin Allenspach, Jonathan P. Mochel, David A. Bennett, Auriel A. Willette. Genetic Factors of Alzheimer’s Disease Modulate How Diet is Associated with Long-Term Cognitive Trajectories: A UK Biobank StudyJournal of Alzheimer’s Disease, 2020; 78 (3): 1245 DOI: 10.3233/JAD-201058



Cocoa and Chocolate Are Not Just Treats – They Improve Your Cognitive Performance

Source: Science Daily

A balanced diet is chocolate in both hands — a phrase commonly used to justify ones chocolate snacking behavior. A phrase now shown to actually harbor some truth, as the cocoa bean is a rich source of flavanols: a class of natural compounds that has neuroprotective effects.

In their recent review published in Frontiers in Nutrition, Italian researchers examined the available literature for the effects of acute and chronic administration of cocoa flavanols on different cognitive domains. In other words: what happens to your brain up to a few hours after you eat cocoa flavanols, and what happens when you sustain such a cocoa flavanol enriched diet for a prolonged period of time?

Although randomized controlled trials investigating the acute effect of cocoa flavanols are sparse, most of them point towards a beneficial effect on cognitive performance. Participants showed, among others, enhancements in working memory performance and improved visual information processing after having had cocoa flavanols. And for women, eating cocoa after a night of total sleep deprivation actually counteracted the cognitive impairment (i.e. less accuracy in performing tasks) that such a night brings about. Promising results for people that suffer from chronic sleep deprivation or work shifts.

It has to be noted though, that the effects depended on the length and mental load of the used cognitive tests to measure the effect of acute cocoa consumption. In young and healthy adults, for example, a high demanding cognitive test was required to uncover the subtle immediate behavioral effects that cocoa flavanols have on this group.

The effects of relatively long-term ingestion of cocoa flavanols (ranging from 5 days up to 3 months) has generally been investigated in elderly individuals. It turns out that for them cognitive performance was improved by a daily intake of cocoa flavanols. Factors such as attention, processing speed, working memory, and verbal fluency were greatly affected. These effects were, however, most pronounced in older adults with a starting memory decline or other mild cognitive impairments.

And this was exactly the most unexpected and promising result according to authors Valentina Socci and Michele Ferrara from the University of L’Aquila in Italy. “This result suggests the potential of cocoa flavanols to protect cognition in vulnerable populations over time by improving cognitive performance. If you look at the underlying mechanism, the cocoa flavanols have beneficial effects for cardiovascular health and can increase cerebral blood volume in the dentate gyrus of the hippocampus. This structure is particularly affected by aging and therefore the potential source of age-related memory decline in humans.”

So should cocoa become a dietary supplement to improve our cognition? “Regular intake of cocoa and chocolate could indeed provide beneficial effects on cognitive functioning over time. There are, however, potential side effects of eating cocoa and chocolate. Those are generally linked to the caloric value of chocolate, some inherent chemical compounds of the cocoa plant such as caffeine and theobromine, and a variety of additives we add to chocolate such as sugar or milk.”

Nonetheless, the scientists are the first to put their results into practice: “Dark chocolate is a rich source of flavanols. So we always eat some dark chocolate. Every day.”


Read more great articles at Science Daily.




Study Shows the Perfect Number of Hours to Work Per Week for Your Brain to Function Best

By Evelyn Hill | Lifehack

Earlier this summer, a study focusing on the link between 40-hour work weeks and cognitive decline was published, and it’s got a lot of people thinking.

The study, which was first reported by Science Alert and then picked up by various outlets, showed that people over the age of 40 actually suffer from 40-hour workweeks. Cognitive decline was significant in those that worked what we now consider to be the common workweek of eight hours a day, five days a week. In fact, working anything more than a 25-hour workweek was deemed to be detrimental to the workforce.

But before you ask for a new work schedule, let’s go over the study and find out what it all means.

The Study

The BBC reports that the study was conducted by researchers at the Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research in Australia. The study had over 6,500 participants, with over 60% of them being women. All participants were aged 40 and over, held jobs, and had different work schedules. This included people who worked part-time and people who worked full time.

How the results were measured came in the form of three separate tests, all of which tested a cognitive ability. The three main tests focused on memory, reading, and perceptive ability.

What remains unclear, however, is exactly how this study was carried out. While it is assumed that the participants were given the tests at specific intervals and during different weeks, the actual method remains a mystery.

The Results

The results, however, were crystal clear — researchers found that participants in the study that worked part-time, or around 25 hours a week, showed no signs of cognitive decline when compared to those who worked full time. It is also interesting to note that participants who worked less than 25 hours a week also showed low cognitive scores, which pinpoints 25 hours as the perfect workweek for everyone.

This might come as a surprise to you, especially since the common workweek is nearly twice as long as the new ideal workweek. But it can be explained using a few key factors that I’ll share with you below.

Stress, Lack of Sleep, and How it Affects Cognitive Function

It’ll come as no surprise that stress affects cognitive functioning, especially at work. This is because stress has been known to contribute to neuron loss in the brain. This is an important factor to keep in mind because more studies are needed to understand how stress inflames cognitive decline for people working full time.

A lack of sleep is also considered to be a factor in cognitive decline. As we age, a suitable amount of sleep is needed to keep us at our best. But studies have begun to show that pulling all-nighters or working overtime decreases the white matter in the brain, which leads to cognitive decline.

A Word on White Matter

White matter is a phrase that comes up in a lot of cognitive decline studies, and it came up in this study as well. It refers to the pathways neurons use in our brain for communication, language, memory, perception, and more. It’s a vital factor in cognitive function.

When humans age, white matter decreases as the brain shrinks. But in people who are working overtime and aren’t getting enough sleep, the white matter decreases at a significant rate. This is a preventable problem, so make sure you get as much sleep as you need in order to be your best self at work.

The Takeaway

This study showed that people over the age of 40 are at the risk of cognitive decline when working a 40-hour workweek. However, this study only focused on that age group and did not produce results for people aged 18-40, so the results are very specific.

READ THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE…




Intelligence – What is It Really and Why Don’t We Fully Understand It?

Paul A. Philips | Guest, WakingTimes

Like me, you’ve surely heard it at some time in your life how somebody has been regarded as intelligent with comments like: “He/she must have a high IQ…” However, to describe intelligence as IQ (intelligence quotient) is like telling a troglodyte i.e. someone who’s never seen a house before that a house is a kitchen! Granted, a kitchen is of course included in the makeup of a house, but as IQ is of intelligence it is only part of the whole picture.

Since IQ is an inadequate way of describing intelligence it’s no wonder that the IQ test has been criticized. It is biased towards the middle/upper class westernized left-brained individuals while greatly lacking consideration to creativity, assessment of well-rounded character and practical everyday handling of things. In light of this, it may not come as a surprise that IQ doesn’t always reflect how successful someone will be in life.

The reason for IQ and its test (American school SAT no different) getting so many acceptances has much to do with the global ruling elite controlling the planet and their education agenda for the masses. As I have explained in message #5 “The Education System Deception” the ruling elite only want you to fit into their corporate based compulsory standardized education system which serves to indoctrinate and control. This is the reason for this purposely limited intelligence paradigm, IQ, and it has served them well.

For some, IQ is a kind of status symbol. Those scoring quite significantly over 100 are considered incredibly bright, which is why some people spend so much time and money on intelligence questions to boost their IQ score. There are websites that will train you to boost your IQ to a high score for a fee with a certificate at the end of it. It’s done by memory, methodology and technique: “Look at me everybody I’ve got an IQ of 148…”.Yes, folks, intelligence can be bought. –Yet another example of ego, pea-brained behaviour.

Anyone who focuses their attention and intention on something will inevitably develop, no matter what it is, but it would be quite stupid to think that in the above circumstance a person has become more ‘intelligent.’ Secondly, any IQ over 145 is untrustworthy due to the nature of the test scoring and the higher it gets the more speculative it becomes. Don’t fall for the IQ intelligence myth, hype and speculation. For example, when famous chess players and scientists are said to have IQ’s of 180 or over…

The warehouse analogy

Another myth about intelligence, which amuses me, is the false belief that intelligence is related to how many facts a person knows. Just because someone is a hot contender for winning a quiz with a head bulging full of facts doesn’t necessarily mean that he/she is incredibly intelligent. How come? It cannot be said that someone like this has a great capacity for learning because this person may have just spent endless hours cramming and storing these meaningless facts into their small warehouse brain…

Intelligence – The Big picture and the 4 bodies

So what is intelligence? To answer this it is necessary to look at the 4 bodies that make up our existence as living beings, which are the: 1) Physical, 2) Mental, 3) Emotional and  4) Soul bodies. Intelligence comes from the effects of 1 or a combination of these 4 bodies that interplay during the response to everyday life handling. The following describes the 4 bodies and their respective bits of intelligence. 1 and 2 are well known, but the 3 and 4 are not familiar with many people and may be regarded by some as the most interesting.

1. Physical body and flow of cognitive intelligence

For a normal physical body to function well and be beneficial to cognitive intelligence, good diet, exercise and avoidance of toxins is essential.

2. Mental body and IQ

As already disused IQ is a valid construct but needs to be approached from a much broader perspective. Frankly, the idea of giving intelligence an arbitrary figure is rather silly: The IQ test is biased. In effect, it is designed by academia for academia. For example, a Professor may have a high IQ like other affluent middle-class University academics, but what would these guys be like in areas outside of their intellectual bents? How would they respond to intelligence tests designed not by academia, but say, handymen, farmers or Amazonian tribesmen..?   Might some be ranked as idiots?

IQ needs to have greater resilience, ableness to measure adaptability, be both cultural and class fair. Howard Gardener’s theory of multiple bits of intelligence certainly has much practical value and is regarded by some as a step in the right direction. If these changes were made, IQ, in spite of its validity, would still fall short of truly assessing intelligence because with this alone the big picture is incomplete; there are 2 other greatly influencing factors needed to be taken into consideration:

3. Emotional body and emotional intelligence

The emotional body is the emotions we carry from the effects of all our conscious and unconscious memories and experiences. Emotional intelligence focuses on how we respond to things in everyday life through our emotions and other people’s emotions. How would you do in certain circumstances? Would your emotions help you to develop flair, deal effectively with things, nurture relationships find solutions etc… or would they shrink you into fear, a lack of confidence or self-judgement…? –You can see how our emotional body is such an important factor in the big picture related to intelligence.

Another area or offshoot of this is social intelligence. For example, a doctor may be great at making diagnoses and say calculating drug doses (rational left brain IQ, mental body intelligence), but greatly lack social skills and etiquette when dealing with patients (lacking social intelligence)…

Read the rest of the article here.

 




Finnish Schools Are on the Move—and America’s Need to Catch Up

By Tim Walker | The Atlantic

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Before I started teaching at a Finnish public school, I taught first graders in Arlington, Massachusetts. And I had a sharp-eyed mentor teacher named Joanna.

“Psst. Can I speak with you for a second?” Joanna pulled me aside during a lunch break. She wasn’t wearing her characteristic smile. “Tim, please don’t be offended by what I’m about to say, but whenever I peek into your classroom, you always seem to be sitting down with your first graders on the rug.” The criticism stung—not because it was off-target, but because I knew it was true.

My habit of requiring my young students to sit passively for a half-hour or so on the rug was clearly not working for them. By the time I’d release them from the rug to do independent work, they were exasperated and I had to peel a few of them from the floor.

Armed with an old-fashioned stopwatch, I forced myself to keep all of my lessons under 15 minutes. The results were encouraging: My students transitioned quickly and worked more efficiently at their tables when I kept these lessons short. But I soon detected another obvious problem.

My students were sitting down nearly 100 percent of every class. Intuitively, I knew this was problematic and later, I found out why.

My students were sitting down nearly 100 percent of every class. Intuitively, I knew this was problematic.

When I stopped to think of it, whenever I’d visit other schools in the states, I would see the same phenomenon. American students were being asked to sit for the majority of lessons. Not only that, but they weren’t very active during the entire school day. And this could only mean that millions of children were missing out on the rich benefits of being more physically active.

Research has shown that physical activity can fend off obesity, reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, improve cognitive functions—like memory and attention—and positively impact mental health.

I somewhat assumed that the lack of physical activity in schools was an American problem—a natural byproduct of long school days and limited opportunities for recess. But when I started teaching in Finland, I saw the same thing happening at my public school, Ressun peruskoulu, a bilingual “comprehensive” (grades one to nine) school in downtown Helsinki with nearly 400 students.

At first, this didn’t add up. Kids in Finland have short school days and frequent 15-minute breaks—typically there’s one after each 45-minute lesson. And even though the breaks keep them more focused in the classroom, they don’t necessarily keep them more active at school.

On the playground—sunshine or snowfall—I’d find many young Finnish children spending recess passively. Some would be tapping away on their smart phones, hooked by the latest mobile game, while others would be huddled together, sitting down on benches or standing in small groups and chitchatting. Usually, I could find a handful of students playing tag or soccer. But the number of passive kids typically seemed to exceed the number of active ones. In the hallways of my school, older students were often slouched against the wall or even lying down, waiting for their next lesson to begin.

Finnish researchers recently confirmed my observations. On the “Finnish Report Card 2014 on Physical Activity for Children and Youth,” kids in Finland received a “D” for overall physical activity levels. In 2013, one study revealed that only half of the participating Finnish elementary students met the national guideline of engaging in at least one hour of “moderate-to-vigorous” physical activities each day. Among middle-school students, the figure was even worse: 17 percent.

Finland wasn’t the only country that did poorly on its physical activity report card. On the “2014 United States Report Card on Physical Activity for Children and Youth,” America received a “D-” for overall physical activity levels. Roughly a quarter of American children ages six through 15 are active an hour per day on at least five days of the week, according to the report card.

Though children in both countries suffer from low activity levels, a key difference exists between Finland and the United States: Hundreds of schools across this tiny Nordic nation are now endeavoring to keep kids active throughout the day through a relatively new government initiative  called “Finnish Schools on the Move.” This experiment could serve as an example of what America, where problems such as childhood obesity are on the rise, could do to get kids more active.

[Read more here]

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Robert O’Leary, JD BARA, has had an abiding interest in alternative health products and modalities since the early 1970’s, and he has seen how they have made people go from lacking health to vibrant health. He became an attorney, singer-songwriter, martial artist and father along the way and brings that experience to his practice as a BioAcoustic Soundhealth Practitioner, under the tutelage of the award-winning founder of BioAcoustic Biology, Sharry Edwards, whose Institute of BioAcoustic Biology has now been serving clients for 30 years with a non-invasive and safe integrative modality that supports the body’s ability to self-heal using the power of the human voice. Robert brings this modality to serve clients in Greater Springfield (MA), New England and “virtually” the world, through his new website, www.romayasoundhealthandbeauty.com (now mobile & tablet-ready, with a fresh new look). He can also be reached at romayasoundhealthandbeauty@gmail.com