Category Archives: Featured

Health Check: can your brain be ‘full’?

The brain is truly a marvel. A seemingly endless library, whose shelves house our most precious memories as well as our lifetime’s knowledge. But is there a point where it reaches capacity? In other words, can the brain be “full”?

The answer is a resounding no, because, well, brains are more sophisticated than that. A study published in Nature Neuroscience earlier this year shows that instead of just crowding in, old information is sometimes pushed out of the brain for new memories to form. Continue reading Health Check: can your brain be ‘full’?

Reversing Cognitive Decline Through Diet and Lifestyle Part 3

In part one I took a look at diet, stress, sleep, exercise and autophagy. In part two I looked at brain stimulation, optimizing homocysteine levels, C-reactive protein, albumin-globulin ratios, serum vitamin B12 levels, fasting insulin and hemoglobin A1C.

Here I’ll be tackling optimizing hormone levels, gut health and ways to reduce beta-amyloid in the brain finishing up with a look at cognitive enhancement.

Each one of these points could easily fill a sizable volume and so the idea here is to give some explanation of the rationale behind each intervention above and beyond the limited information provided in the original paper by Dr Bredesen. Continue reading Reversing Cognitive Decline Through Diet and Lifestyle Part 3

On Death, Regret and the Future of Hope

It’s two in the morning here in Osaka and I should be sleeping. I have a busy day tomorrow and a lot to do, but sleep is waiting in a distant time zone for me tonight. I’ve been restless all day and even hours of physical exertion have failed to calm my mind.

Today is, was, an anniversary of sorts. A complex, messy affair of an anniversary that only adds to the regret. Exactly a year ago today marks the day when I returned to England after being away for more than 7 years. I should have arrived a week, or maybe two, earlier, but I made my excuses. Continue reading On Death, Regret and the Future of Hope

Reversing Cognitive Decline Through Diet and Lifestyle Basics

Previously I wrote about the study conducted by Dr Dale Bredesen of the Buck Institute for Research on Aging about a pioneering small-scale study that seems to have reversed the cognitive decline and memory loss associated with Alzheimer’s disease.

The small-scale study took 10 people suffering from mild cognitive decline and early Alzheimer’s and put them on a program of individualised dietary and lifestyle interventions. Continue reading Reversing Cognitive Decline Through Diet and Lifestyle Basics

Many Diet Studies are Based on Poorly Reported Data

What did you eat yesterday and can you remember the quantity? How about the day before or last week? If you’re scratching your head trying to remember, don’t worry it’s not a sign of memory loss. The fact is that most of us can’t recall from day to day what we eat.

So you may be surprised to learn that for decades researchers have been collecting data, which go on to form the basis of dietary recommendations, using error ridden self reports of food intake. Many studies ask participants to recall their food intake from the last 24 hours to the last 12 months, though periods of between 2 and 4 years are also often used. Continue reading Many Diet Studies are Based on Poorly Reported Data

Reversing Cognitive Decline Through Diet and Lifestyle Part 2

In the previous post I looked at the rationale behind this multi target intervention to reverse cognitive decline along with factors relating to optimising the diet, autophagy, sleep, stress and exercise. In this post I’ll take a look at brain stimulation, optimizing homocysteine levels, C-reactive protein, albumin-globulin ratios, serum vitamin B12 levels, fasting insulin and hemoglobin A1C. Continue reading Reversing Cognitive Decline Through Diet and Lifestyle Part 2

Reversing Cognitive Decline Through Diet and Lifestyle Part 1

Imagine reading a page in a book and then feeling like you have to start over as you have no memory of what you’ve just read or driving home from work and suddenly forgetting where you live. Instances like these can be the hallmarks of cognitive decline that leads to dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

In a previous post I introduced the small scale study that claims, for the first time, to have reversed the cognitive decline in early stage Alzheimer’s sufferers.  In this post I want to take a look at the how they went about doing this and look at the reasoning behind each intervention. Continue reading Reversing Cognitive Decline Through Diet and Lifestyle Part 1

Alzheimer’s Memory Loss Reversed for the First Time

More than a century has passed since Alois Alzheimer first described the case of Auguste Deter, a patient suffering from a profound loss of memory, delusions and rapid unpredictable mood changes. Alzheimer had seen the symptoms many times before but in patients much older than Deter, who first began suffering such symptoms in her forties. Alzheimer followed her case until her death in 1906 after which he dissected her brain and found dramatic shrinkage and deposits both in and around nerve cells. A few years later in 1910 the disease was finally named. Fast forward to 2014 and though we have made astounding progress in many fields of medicine that have given unprecedented insights into the causes and mechanisms of Alzheimer’s we are still no closer to a cure. That may be about to change according to a paper published in journal Aging recently.

A small trial conducted by the University of California Los Angeles and the Buck Institute for Research on Aging has reported a reversal of memory loss associated with Alzheimer’s. Continue reading Alzheimer’s Memory Loss Reversed for the First Time

Gut Bacteria Evolved to Suit a Meat Based Diet

The human microbiome has seen a huge boom in recent years, in terms of research, whilst in evolutionary terms the opposite may be true.

New research published in PNAS journal last week reveals that the human microbiome underwent a loss of gut microbial diversity after our ancestors split from chimpanzees and is specialized for meat-eating.

Continue reading Gut Bacteria Evolved to Suit a Meat Based Diet

Vitamin D Deficiency Linked to Increased Risk of Alzheimer’s and Dementia

A new study conducted at the University of Exeter, UK, has shown that vitamin D deficiency is strongly linked to the development of Alzheimer disease and dementia.

The study looked at the blood concentrations of 25-hydroxyvitamin
D (25(OH)D), the biomarker for vitamin D, in 1,658 elderly Americans aged 65 and over (the average age was 73), who took part in the Cardiovascular Health Study. The subjects were followed for an average of 5.6 years to assess the development of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.

Continue reading Vitamin D Deficiency Linked to Increased Risk of Alzheimer’s and Dementia