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Grim Alzheimer’s News Hides Hints of Hope

If you read the recent news concerning Alzheimer’s prevention, you know it led with less than hopeful headlines. Reports revealed that studies investigating measures of prevention of Alzheimer’s disease, such as antihypertensive drugs, omega-3 fatty acids, physical activity, and cognitive engagement, are so far proving to be ineffective.

Those who either have Alzheimer’s in their family or have simply been focused on prevention, may have thought they were helping themselves with supplements, exercise, and cognitive “work outs”. These latest findings show their efforts may have been for naught. However, buried in the data was some hopeful news:  while loading up on salmon and doing crossword puzzles may not help preserve brain function, the data does indicate that dietary patterns are – in some way – connected to warding of the disease and cognitive decline.

A Baffling Brain Disease

In a previous post, we discussed the struggle to understand this disease which continues to affect millions. While the latest news does not get us any closer to pinpointing measures of prevention, it does mean that researchers are continuing to gather information to help us understand it. What’s more, those involved in the independent panel convened by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) who reviewed the data did find a relationship between heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and physical exercise. In reaction to these findings, Maria W. Carrillo, PhD, senior director of medical and scientific relations of the Alzheimer’s Association, said aptly, “What is good for your heart is good for your brain.”

Hints of Hope Hinge on Fruits & Veggies

More specific was the panel’s inclination to focus on the relationship between nutrition and cognitive preservation. “The two components that keep popping up are a reduction in saturated fat and an increase in fruits and vegetables,” said one member of the panel. Despite the lack of evidence for some touted prevention measures, those who concentrate their efforts on eating well may possess the secret weapon.

The connection between the brain and fruits and veggies is inescapable – time will tell just how vital their role is in keeping our brains healthy along with our bodies.

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