Shrinking Brains and ‘Silent Strokes’ Studied

December 30th, 2011

New findings in Alzheimer’s disease support longstanding notions of what doctors have preached for years. The studies look at associations, not causes, but they further scientists’ pursuit of preventing the fatal brain disease.

It’s no secret that a healthy diet high in omega-3 fatty acids and rich in vitamins found in fruits and vegetables is good for your overall health and longevity.

In a study released this week in the journal Neurology, scientists associate these fish-rich diets and foods with high levels of vitamins B, C, D, and E nutrients with increased cognitive performance and decreased risk of Alzheimer’s disease, or “brain shrinkage.”

People who consume diets high in trans fats, primarily found in fast foods, fried and frozen foods, were more likely to have brain shrinkage and lower scores on the thinking and memory tests than people with diets low in trans fats, the study found.

This is the first study using nutrient biomarkers in the blood to look at the effect of diet on memory, thinking skills and brain volume, researchers said. Similar diet studies in the past primarily depended on participants’ memory recall and questionnaires.

“These results need to be confirmed, but obviously it is very exciting to think that people could potentially stop their brains from shrinking and keep them sharp by adjusting their diet,” said study author Gene Bowman, assistant professor of neurology at the Oregon Health and Science University, in a news release from the American Academy of Neurology.

Researchers say diet is just one of many factors that must be taken into consideration when talking about memory loss. People have different genetic tendencies for disease risk, therefore more multigenerational and multicultural studies need to be conducted.

“The assumption is that when you lead a healthy lifestyle, which includes proper nutrition, exercise, and social engagement, you’re maximizing your chance of reduced cardiovascular risk factors, which then maximize your opportunities for delaying Alzheimer’s or dementia,” said Maria Carrillo, senior director of medical and scientific relations at the Alzheimer’s Association.

“Whether that translates into delaying Alzheimer’s, we actually don’t know,” added Carrillo.

In a different study, supported by the National Institutes of Health, new research links “silent strokes,” or small spots of dead brain cells, to memory loss in the elderly.

The study found silent strokes in roughly one out of four older adults. The affected adults scored somewhat worse on memory tests than those without silent strokes.

Researchers found this was true whether or not people had a small hippocampus, which is the main memory center of the brain.

“Given that conditions like Alzheimer’s disease are defined mainly by memory problems, our results may lead to further insight into what causes symptoms and the development of new interventions for prevention,” study author Adam M. Brickman said in a statement. Brickman works for the Taub Institute for Research on Alzheimer’s Disease and the Aging Brain at Columbia University Medical Center in New York.

Alzheimer’s disease is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States, according to the Alzheimer’s Association. It is the only cause of death in the top 10 in America without a way to prevent, cure, or even slow its progression.

“Since silent strokes and the volume of the hippocampus appeared to be associated with memory loss separately in our study, our results also support stroke prevention as a means for staving off memory problems,” said Brickman.

The study will be published in the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology next week.

CNN’s Azadeh Ansari wrote this article as part of the MetLife Foundation Journalists in Aging Fellowship, a project of New America Media and the Gerontological Society of America.

  Post by: Azadeh Ansari – CNN


NOTE:  AIM BarleyLife and AIMega can enhance your  health balance by providing the vitamins and omegas necessary for well rounded, and cell-utilized nutrition. The Omega 3, 6 and 9’s in AIMega are provided by healthy flaxseed oils and not potentially dangerous fish oils.

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Don’t let brain cells die without a fight!

From: AIM Article Archives
November 2008

Alzheimer’s disease is now the most common form of dementia, a term that refers to the loss of memory and other intellectual abilities.

Alzheimer’s occurs as a result of dying brain cells. As we age, the brain, along with the rest of our body, changes, and we can often experience occasional forgetfulness or slowed thinking. For a person with Alzheimer’s, tiny mistakes intensify into serious memory loss, confusion, and brain damage.

Two possible causes of damage to brain function are plaques and tangles. Plaques, which contain a protein called beta-amyloid, are found between nerve cells; tangles, a form of the protein tau, reside inside dying cells. Together, plaques and tangles can disrupt the communication from cell to cell and damage the nerve network.

While there is no cure for Alzheimer’s, there have been several treatment options that have taken ground across the country.

Perhaps the most popular supplement for brain function is Ginkgo biloba, which is found in AIM GinkgoSense™. Ginkgo biloba has both antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, which would allow it to protect and regulate the important brain cells that become susceptible to Alzheimer’s.

GinkgoSense offers 120 mg of the Ginkgo extract in each capsule, yet it is far from the only brain-aiding supplement found in the product.

GinkgoSense also contains docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), an essential fatty acid and the building block of human brain tissue. Sixty percent of the brain is fat, and DHA is the most abundant fat in the brain. DHA’s most important role might be its hand in the communication between the brain and nervous system. Like many brain components, DHA decreases and breaks down with age, so replenishing our bodies’ natural supply becomes more important as we get older.

In addition to Ginkgo biloba and DHA fatty acids, GinkgoSense also combines bilberry, lutein, and zeaxanthin. Together, the ingredients can help increase brain function, improve circulation, and blood flow. Janet Breitkreutz

Increasing cardiovascular health and the circulation of blood throughout the body could certainly make a difference in the fight against Alzheimer’s. As Janet stated in her testimony, the benefits of an improved blood supply are good for the whole body, including the brain.

As such, coenzyme Q10 could be an important supplement for those concerned about Alzheimer’s disease. CoQ10, also called ubiquinone, is a vital antioxidant that the body uses for increased oxygenation of cells and the generation of energy. Peak EnduranceIts role in the process of normal cell reactions relates to the production of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the body’s primary source of energy and the key component of AIM Peak Endurance®. CoQ10 is present in cell membranes where the conversion process of food to energy occurs.

Research shows that CoQ10 might also be an important factor in reducing the buildup of plaque in the brain. Since some plaque deposits result from an abundance of brain cell damage from oxidative stress, CoQ10 might be able to lessen the effect thanks to its protection against oxidation.

CoQ10’s role in building cells, creating energy, and cardio health makes it a valuable resource for those interested in dealing with Alzheimer’s. AIM Cellsparc 360® contains 60 mg of CoQ10 in each capsule, and thanks to its formulation with tocotrienols and fish oil, Cellsparc 360 is a health product like no other on the market.Wendell Wamboldt

Omega fatty acids have been credited with a lot of health benefits, everything from lowering blood pressure, improving skin, and enhancing anti-inflammatory response. They also may be a key to brain health.

Omega-3 fatty acids might be effective for strengthening nerve cells, an area that is often where the breakdown in Alzheimer’s occurs. Researchers found that omega-3s improve the growth of bridges between cells, which can help create a strong bond in the brain. This bond would play a part in improving the brain’s capacity to store, process, and retrieve information.

AIMegaAIMega® contains omega-3, -6, and -9 fatty acids derived from flax, sesame, olive, and sunflower oils. Fatty acids, like the DHA in GinkgoSense, help improve brain function, maintain healthy cells, and protect against cardiovascular disease – all of which could make a difference in the fight against Alzheimer’s.

With so many different theories on what might be the cause of Alzheimer’s, there is just as much variety with theories on how to prevent or decrease its symptoms. One way is to reduce the prevalence of free radicals in the body, especially as it relates to the passing of blood to the brain and cells in the brain.

ProancynolThis may be why people have been turning to grape seed extract for Alzheimer’s help. Grape seed extract is one of the most effective supplements for fighting free radicals in the body. It is a powerful antioxidant that has been shown to remain in the body for three full days, working to clean our system and fight off free radical damage. Even better, grape seed extract is more powerful than both vitamins C and E.

Grape seed extract can be found in AIM Proancynol® 2000, which combines the extract with green tea, N-acetylcysteine, alpha-lipolic acid, selenium, rosemary, and lycopene. Using a synergistic formula, Proancynol 2000 makes sure you get the most out of each ingredient thanks to the unique way that the nutrients work together and complement one another.