Brain Training and Daily Intermitent Fasting Improves Cognition

OSSINING, N.Y., March 19, 2013 /PRNewswire/ — Known for giving very sharp, lucid interviews, the late Walter Breuning at 114 was the oldest man in the world. He followed a Daily Intermittent Fasting plan, eating a large breakfast, smaller lunch and then fasting until the next morning. His eating plan resonates with Brain Booster members of LivingTheCRWay.com, who find that some time away from food improves brain function.

thumb_memory_preventing_loss_coverBrain Boosters focus on improving memory, processing speed, accuracy, and thought synchronization � while reducing risk of Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and Huntington’s diseases and dementia.

“When scientists or doctors make discoveries that can affect people’s lives positively, LivingTheCRWay invites them to host live teleconferences that are friendly conversations with the members. Participants have time to ask questions that matter to them,” says Paul McGlothin, President of LivingTheCRWay.com. He continues, “A short fast to improve brain health was inspired by the work of Dr. Mark Mattson, Chief Neurobiologist of the National Institute on Aging.”

Listen as Dr. Mattson discusses the research that helped LivingTheCRWay create its Brain Booster plan: Calorie Restriction for a Better Brain (http://rs1475.freeconferencecall.com/fcc/cgi-bin/play.mp3/4242038075-965256-17.mp3).

The Brain Booster program includes:

  • Healthful, delicious meals � food and recipe suggestions to improve brain function
  • Low Blood Glucose � glucose control plans to promote formation of new neurons while reducing risk of Alzheimer’s and other neurological diseases
  • Daily Intermittent Fasting � safe ketone production, facilitating learning while protecting neurons from dangerous oxidative stress
  • Stress Reduction � decline in neuron-damaging stress while the cerebral cortex size increases and circulation improves
  • Circadian Optimization � Better concentration when needed, with easier bed-time relaxation and more restorative sleep
  • Improved neural synchrony � better coordination of thought processes

The LivingTheCRWay Brain Booster teleconference on April 3, features Dr. Emily Rogalski, PhD, of Northwestern University, who recently identified a select group of “SuperAgers” in their 80s who perform better on tested cognitive functions than people 30 years younger. People of all ages who want to boost their brain power can find out more by calling 877-841-4841 or emailing Info@LivingTheCRWay.com

LivingTheCRWay memberships (http://store.livingthecrway.com/calorie-restriction-cr-way-memberships-plans-to-achieve-your-goals/) support DNA HACR

(http://store.livingthecrway.com/how-fast-are-you-aging-and-what-you-can-do-about-it/) a citizen science study, launched in partnership with the CR Society International. Additional LivingTheCRWay memberships include Healthful Weight Loss, Optimal Health, Longevity Level, and Diabetes Intervention.

LivingTheCRWay

LivingTheCRWay.com (http://www.livingthecrway.com/landing.aspx?ReturnUrl=%2fhome.aspx) makes it easy to put science into practice for more years of great health. Departing from dehumanized electronic communications � LivingTheCRWay is a friendly, holistic online community. Members enjoy delicious, healthful lifestyles that include live, supportive teleconferences � often with a leader in the world of science and health

(http://calorierestrictiondietplan.com/science-and-health-news-views/livingthecrway-com-presents-experts-in-health-and-longevity/)

Consuming Flavanol-rich Cocoa May Enhance Brain Function

Eating cocoa flavanols daily may improve mild cognitive impairment, according to new research in the American Heart Association’s journal Hypertension.

Each year, more than six percent of people aged 70 years or older develop mild cognitive impairment, a condition involving memory loss that can progress to dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

Flavanols can be found in tea, grapes, red wine, apples and cocoa products and have been associated with a decreased risk of dementia. They may act on the brain structure and function directly by protecting neurons from injury, improving metabolism and their interaction with the molecular structure responsible for memory researchers said. Indirectly, flavanols may help by improving brain blood flow.

In this study, 90 elderly participants with mild cognitive impairment were randomized to drink daily either 990 milligrams (high), 520 mg (intermediate) or 45 mg (low) of a dairy-based cocoa flavanol drink for eight weeks. The diet was restricted to eliminate other sources of flavanols from foods and beverages other than the dairy-based cocoa drink. Cognitive function was examined by neuro-psychological tests of executive function, working memory, short-term memory, long-term episodic memory, processing speed and global cognition.

Researchers found:

  • Scores significantly improved in the ability to relate visual stimuli to motor responses, working memory, task-switching and verbal memory for those drinking the high and intermediate flavanol drinks.
  • Participants drinking daily higher levels of flavanol drinks had significantly higher overall cognitive scores than those participants drinking lower-levels.
  • Insulin resistance, blood pressure and oxidative stress also decreased in those drinking high and intermediate levels of flavanols daily. Changes in insulin resistance explained about 40 percent of the composite scores for improvements in cognitive functioning.

“This study provides encouraging evidence that consuming cocoa flavanols, as a part of a calorie-controlled and nutritionally-balanced diet, could improve cognitive function,” said Giovambattista Desideri, M.D., study lead author and director of Geriatric Division, Department of Life, Health and Environmental Sciences, University of L’Aquila in Italy. “The positive effect on cognitive function may be mainly mediated by an improvement in insulin sensitivity. It is yet unclear whether these benefits in cognition are a direct consequence of cocoa flavanols or a secondary effect of general improvements in cardiovascular function.”

The study population was generally in good health without known cardiovascular disease. Thus, it would not be completely representative of all mild cognitive impairment patients. In addition, only some clinical features of mild cognitive impairment were explored in the study.

“Given the global rise in cognitive disorders, which have a true impact on an individual’s quality of life, the role of cocoa flavanols in preventing or slowing the progression of mild cognitive impairment to dementia warrants further research,” Desideri said. “Larger studies are needed to validate the findings, figure out how long the positive effects will last and determine the levels of cocoa flavanols required for benefit.”

Co-authors are Catherine Kwik-Uribe, Ph.D.; Davide Grassi, M.D., Ph.D.; Stefano Necozione, M.D.; Lorenzo Ghiadoni, M.D.; Daniela Mastroiacovo, M.D.; Angelo Raffaele, M.D.; Livia Ferri, M.D.; Raffaella Bocale, M.D.; Maria Carmela Lechiara, M.D.; Carmine Marini, M.D. and Claudio Ferri, M.D. Author disclosures are on the manuscript.

Mars Inc. funded the study and provided the standardized cocoa drinks.

http://newsroom.heart.org/pr/aha/_prv-consuming-flavanol-rich-cocoa-237327.aspx

Dementia Halted With Behaviors And Mental Exercises

There are many different causes of dementia and, although its progression can be fast or slow, it is always degenerative. Symptoms of dementia include confusion, loss of memory, and problems with speech and understanding. It can be upsetting for both the affected person and their relatives and carers. New research published in BioMed Central’s open access journal BMC Medicine shows that a regime of behavioral and mental exercises was able to halt the progression of dementia.

The Study

Researchers led by Prof. Graessel, from Friedrich-Alexander-University Erlangen, included in their study patients with dementia from five nursing homes in Bavaria. After random selection, half the patients were included on the year-long MAKS ‘intervention’ consisting of two hours of group therapy, six days a week. In addition all patients maintained their normal treatment and regular activities provided by the nursing home.

The MAKS system consists of motor stimulation(M), including games such as bowling, croquet, and balancing exercises; cognitive stimulation (K), in the form of individual and group puzzles; and practicing ‘daily living’ activities (A), including preparing snacks, gardening and crafts. The therapy session began with a ten minute introduction, which the researchers termed a ‘spiritual element’ (S), where the participants discussed topics like ‘happiness’, or sang a song or hymn.

After 12 months of therapy the MAKS group maintained their level on the Alzheimer’s Disease Assessment Scale (ADAS) and, even more importantly maintained their ability to carry out activities of daily living, while the control group all showed a decrease in cognitive and functional ability.

Prof. Graessel explained, “While we observed a better result for patients with mild to moderate dementia, the result of MAKS therapy on ADAS (cognitive function) was at least as good as treatment with cholinesterase inhibitors. Additionally we found that the effect on the patients’ ability to perform daily living tasks (as measured by the Erlanger Test of Daily Living (E-ADL)) was twice as high as achieved by medication. This means that MAKS therapy is able to extend the quality of, and participation in, life for people with dementia within a nursing home environment. We are currently in the process of extending these preliminary results to see if this prevention of dementia decline can be maintained over a longer time period.”

Full bibliographic information Non-pharmacological, multicomponent group therapy in patients with degenerative dementia: a 12-month randomised, controlled trial, Elmar Graessel, Renate Stemmer, Birgit Eichenseer, Sabine Pickel, Carolin Donath, Johannes Kornhuber and Katharina Luttenberger, BMC Medicine (in press).

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