(This article by Gene Bowman at http://www.ohsu.edu/xd/health/services/brain/our-brains-are-what-we-eat.cfm)
That was the finding from a study led by OHSU’s Gene Bowman. And the results from the interesting and innovative study, published Dec. 28 in Neurology, have received a deluge of national and international media coverage.
The study generated huge interest not only for its basic findings but also for how the study was conducted. Previous studies have relied on the study participants to recall foods eaten over the last year. But the OHSU study measured the nutrients in study participants' blood as an objective reflection of dietary intake. The study also identified nutrient combinations that may have synergistic effects on brain health. The average age of study participants was 87. The study received extensive coverage by national and international media......
Bowman is naturopathic doctor, an assistant professor of neurology and part of OHSU’s Layton Aging & Alzheimer’s Disease Center, with is part of the OHSU Brain Institute. OHSU co-authors in the study included Joseph Quinn, M.D., an associate professor in the Department of Neurology and Jackilen Shannon, Ph.D., R.D., M.P.H., an associate professor in the Department of Public Health and Preventive Medicine. The study was funded by the National Institutes of Health, the National Institute on Aging, the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine and the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs, Portland VA Medical Center.
Article from The Guardian newspaper (UK)
by George Monbiot Monday 10 September 2012 15.30 EDT.
Alzheimer's could be the most catastrophic impact of junk food. There is evidence that poor diet is one cause of Alzheimer's. If ever there was a case for the precautionary principle, this is it. Because regulation is light, the industry can kill off the only effective system for telling us how much fat, sugar and salt food contains.
When you raise the subject of over-eating and obesity, you often see people at their worst. The comment threads discussing these issues reveal a legion of bullies who appear to delight in other people's problems. When alcoholism and drug addiction are discussed, the tone tends to be sympathetic. When obesity is discussed, the conversation is dominated by mockery and blame, though the evidence suggests that it may be driven by similar forms of addiction. I suspect that much of this mockery is a coded form of snobbery: the strong association between poor diets and poverty allows people to use this issue as a cipher for something else they want to say, which is less socially acceptable.
But this problem belongs to all of us. Even if you can detach yourself from the suffering caused by diseases arising from bad diets, you will carry the cost, as a growing proportion of the health budget will be used to address them. The cost – measured in both human suffering and money – could be far greater than we imagined. A large body of evidence now suggests that Alzheimer's is primarily a metabolic disease. Some scientists have gone so far as to rename it: they call it type 3 diabetes.
New Scientist carried this story on its cover on 1 September; since then I've been sitting in the library, trying to discover whether it stands up. I've now read dozens of papers on the subject, testing my cognitive powers to the limit as I've tried to get to grips with brain chemistry. Though the story is by no means complete, the evidence so far is compelling.
About 35 million people suffer from Alzheimer's disease worldwide; current projections, based on the rate at which the population ages, suggest that this will rise to 100 million by 2050. But if, as many scientists now believe, it is caused largely by the brain's impaired response to insulin, the numbers could rise much further. In the United States, the percentage of the population with type 2 diabetes, which is strongly linked to obesity, has almost trebled in 30 years. If Alzheimer's, or "type 3 diabetes", goes the same way, the potential for human suffering is incalculable. Insulin is the hormone that prompts the liver, muscles and fat to absorb sugar from the blood. Type 2 diabetes is caused by excessive blood glucose, resulting either from a deficiency of insulin produced by the pancreas, or resistance to its signals by the organs that would usually take up the glucose.
The association between Alzheimer's and type 2 diabetes is long-established: type 2 sufferers are two to three times more likely to be struck by this form of dementia than the general population. There are also associations between Alzheimer's and obesity and Alzheimer's and metabolic syndrome (a complex of diet-related pathologies).
Researchers first proposed that Alzheimer's was another form of diabetes in 2005. The authors of the original paper investigated the brains of 54 corpses, 28 of which belonged to people who had died of the disease. They found that the levels of both insulin and insulin-like growth factors in the brains of Alzheimer's patients were much lower than those in the brains of people who had died of other causes. Levels were lowest in the parts of the brain most affected by the disease. Their work led them to conclude that insulin and insulin-like growth factor are produced not only in the pancreas but also in the brain. Insulin in the brain has a host of functions: as well as glucose metabolism, it helps to regulate the transmission of signals from one nerve cell to another, and affects their growth, plasticity and survival.
Experiments conducted since then seem to support the link between diet and dementia, and researchers have begun to propose potential mechanisms. In common with all brain chemistry, these tend to be fantastically complex, involving, among other impacts, inflammation, stress caused by oxidation, the accumulation of one kind of brain protein and the transformation of another. I would need the next six pages of this paper even to begin to explain them, and would doubtless get it wrong (if you're interested, please follow the links on my website).
Plenty of research still needs to be done. But, if the current indications are correct, Alzheimer's disease could be another catastrophic impact of the junk food industry, and the worst discovered so far. Our governments, as they are in the face of all our major crises, seem to be incapable of responding.
In this country, as in many others, the government's answer to the multiple disasters caused by the consumption of too much sugar and fat is to call on both companies and consumers to regulate themselves. Before he was replaced by someone even worse, the former health secretary, Andrew Lansley, handed much of the responsibility for improving the nation's diet to food and drink companies – a strategy that would work only if they volunteered to abandon much of their business.
A scarcely regulated food industry can engineer its products – loading them with fat, salt, sugar and high-fructose corn syrup – to bypass the neurological signals that would otherwise prompt people to stop eating. It can bombard both adults and children with advertising. It can (as we discovered yesterday) use the freedom granted to academy schools to sell the chocolate, sweets and fizzy drinks now banned from sale in maintained schools. It can kill off the only effective system (the traffic-light label) for informing people how much fat, sugar and salt their food contains. Then it can turn to the government and blame consumers for eating the products it sells. This is class war, a war against the poor fought by the executive class in government and industry.
We cannot yet state unequivocally that poor diet is a leading cause of Alzheimer's disease, though we can say that the evidence is strong and growing. But if ever there was a case for the precautionary principle, here it is. It's not as if we lose anything by eating less rubbish. Averting a possible epidemic of this devastating disease means taking on the bullies – both those who mock people for their pathology and those who spread the pathology by peddling a lethal diet.
Article from Natural News by PF Louis
December 19, 2013
If you're consuming both cocoa powder and spirulina, you may consider how it could protect you from diminishing memory, cognitive decline and other forms of dementia, such as Alzheimer's, as you age. And that's not all. The positive cardiovascular effects of these two superfoods are also substantial.
The Oasis of Hope Hospital in Tijuana, Mexico, has offered a medical hypothesis based on the medical literature of both superfoods. No actual studies were performed, but many existing studies were
analyzed for the scientific foundation of their hypothesis. This research group also suggested that adding cocoa to spirulina is a good way to disguise the taste and smell of spirulina in addition to
compounding its health benefits.
FYI addition: If taste is an issue with spirulina, here's one person's solution that doesn't included cocoa powder (http://www.cureendometriosis). Cocoa powder can be consumed separately but within the same time frame as spirulina. Some prefer adding cocoa powder to their coffee.
The basis of Oasis of Hope's medical hypothesis.
Their first observation concerned the Kuna Indians of Panama who consume large amounts of cocoa. They have an almost nonexistent level of hypertension (high blood pressure) and suffer hardly any
strokes despite salting their foods profusely. Could it be that the salt and high blood pressure connection is flawed?...
A year or so ago, the European Food Safety Authority, the EU's equivalent to the American FDA but perhaps not quite as corrupt, officially confirmed that dark chocolate and cocoa products could be promoted as supporting cardiovascular health with increased blood flow. In addition to proven cardiovascular health and lowered blood pressure, studies have demonstrated cocoa's ability to improve cognitive function. An Italian university recently used 90 subjects to determine improved cognitive and memory function among those with mild cognitive impairment (MCI).
MCI could be considered a precursor or early warning stage of dementia and Alzheimer's. It involves thinking difficulties with daily activities and memory problems but isn't yet considered dementia according to the Alzheimer's Society UK site. It's been observed that MCI sufferers often go on to develop dementia or Alzheimer's. So this level of impaired memory and mental acumen shouldn't be taken lightly. This is the time to start adding cocoa powder beverages, high-cocoa content dark chocolates with minimal sugar and milk combined with the hypothetically suggested spirulina.
Spirulina is a cyanobacterium that has been demonstrated in several Asian rodent studies to reduce inflammatory markers with its high level of phycocyanobilin, a proven inhibitor of vascular and cellular oxidative stress. The authors of this medical hypothesis claim that adding cocoa's high flavanol antioxidant content encourages nitric oxide production, which enhances vascular flexibility and strength throughout the body, including the arteries and blood vessels of the brain. Declining cardiovascular and brain health are two major aging crisis scenarios. This medical hypothesis offers what many like to call an anti-aging solution.
If you happen to be a heavy coffee drinker, you might be helping your brain protect itself from Alzheimer’s disease. While a number of advanced Alzheimer’s drugs and treatments have been developed in recent years, University of Florida researcher Gary Arendash believes coffee drinkers -- and other caffeine consumers -- are not just protecting themselves, but actually treating symptoms that might appear. "The study gives evidence that caffeine may be a viable treatment for established Alzheimer’s disease and not simply a protective strategy," Arendash said.
Human subjects were not used in the study, only mice. But Arendash and his colleagues believe the findings offer up a lot of hope. Using mice that were bred to develop Alzheimer’s, the fed half of the laboratory animals a heavy diet of caffeine once they saw signs of the disease.
In other words, they waited until after the mice had developed Alzheimer’s disease before beginning the treatment.
Arendash said the research team was surprised at the results. The mice fed the caffeine performed much better on memory tests than those that didn’t receive the caffeine.
Alzheimer’s currently is an incurable, progressively fatal disease that affects humans as they age, robbing them of all memory functions. The researchers say the fact that they have been able to reverse the disease’s effects on cognitive ability is particularly significant.
Recent research into Alzheimer’s treatment has focused on the clumps that form in the brains of Alzheimer’s patients, interrupting normal memory function. The clumps are sometimes caused by two enzymes and heavy doses of caffeine, it appears, prevents those enzymes from forming. Researchers say they are eager to launch clinical trials with human subjects, believing they are close to ending a scourge of aging. They say caffeine is safe for most people and easily absorbed by the brain, and appears to directly attack the disease.
More than five million people in the U.S. are living with Alzheimer’s disease, according to the Alzheimer’s Association. Alzheimer’s and dementia triple the health care costs for people age 65 and older.
Article from Natural News by John Phillip
August 21, 2013
Alzheimer's disease is characterized by an unnatural accumulation of amyloid plaque aggregates around nerve synapses that block the transmission of electrical and chemical transmitters that allow
the brain to retain a high level of cognitive function and to store and retain memories. Millions of middle aged and older Americans suffer from some stage of Alzheimer's disease, as the illness
continues to escalate at an epidemic rate. It is projected that the prevalence will nearly quadruple in the next 50 years, by which time approximately one in 45 Americans will be afflicted with the
The past decade has uncovered a small handful of natural, bioactive compounds that easily cross the blood-brain barrier where they have been found to alter the progression of Alzheimer's disease. Researchers from the University of Leeds in the UK have determined that natural chemicals found in green tea and red wine may disrupt a key step of the Alzheimer's disease pathway. Publishing in the Journal of Biological Chemistry, scientists have identified the process which allows harmful clumps of protein to latch onto brain cells, causing them to die.
Green tea and red wine extracts impede amyloid formation to prevent Alzheimer's development
Scientists understand that amyloid proteins in the brain clump together to form toxic, sticky balls of varying shapes. These amyloid balls latch onto the surface of nerve cells in the brain by
attaching to proteins on the cell surface called prions, ultimately causing nerve cells to malfunction and die. Study co-author Dr. Jo Rushworth commented, "We wanted to investigate whether the
precise shape of the amyloid balls is essential for them to attach to the prion receptors, like the way a baseball fits snugly into its glove."
The team wanted to determine if it was possible to prevent the amyloid balls from binding to prions by manipulating their shape and stop the cells from dying. Scientists formed amyloid balls in a test tube and then added them to human and animal brain cells. Study authors concluded, "when we added the extracts from red wine and green tea, which recent research has shown to re-shape amyloid proteins, the amyloid balls no longer harmed the nerve cells."
Researchers determined that the bioactive compounds in green tea and red wine (EGCG and resveratrol) distorted the shape of the amyloid balls, preventing them from binding with prions and disrupting cellular function. Complimentary studies have also determined that curcumin, the active compound in the curry spice turmeric, crossed the delicate blood-brain barrier to halt the advancement of dementia. Health-minded individuals should consume green tea and red wine or take standardized supplements regularly to help prevent the initial development and progression of Alzheimer's disease
Article from Natural News
August 24th 2013
An exciting new study published in the journal Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine confirms the power of a simple dietary change in improving memory problems in middle-aged and older adults. Thirty-two subjects with self-reported memory complaints were randomly assigned to drink 8 ounces of either pomegranate juice or a flavor-matched placebo drink for 4 weeks, receiving memory testing, functional MRI scans (fMRI), and blood draws for peripheral biomarkers before and after the intervention.
After 4 weeks, only the pomegranate group showed significant improvement in verbal memory scores and plasma antioxidant levels. Furthermore, compared to placebo, the pomegranate group showed increased fMRI activity during verbal and memory tasks, indicating pomegranate juice consumption results in increased blood flow to critical task-related brain regions. This is not the first study to identify a brain-beneficial effect to pomegranate juice, as a sizable body of animal research already exists demonstrating it has neuroprotective properties against aluminum-, stroke-,  and glucose deprivation-associated neurotoxicity, and may also inhibit the formation of pathological plaques and the over-excitation of microglial cells associated with Alzheimer's disease.  
Pomegranate, in fact, is capable of unclogging and tonifying the cardiovascular system, which is especially important when it comes to brain health, and so-called vascular dementia. [see also: How To Clean Your Arteries with One Simple Fruit] There is also its well-known age-defying ability to prevent adverse changes associated with the exhaustion of ovarian function. In a previous article, "Amazing Fact: Pomegranate Can Function as a Back-up Ovary," we looked at animal research explaining how this legendary food, traditionally linked with regeneration and immortality, may provide an alternative to bioidenticial and synthetic hormone replacement therapies. As the research community continues to explore the potential role of so-called 'medicinal foods' in improving quality of life and preventing and/or treating diseases that are largely refractory to conventional drug-based interventions, we can rest assured that pomegranate will continue to play a central role in the rediscovery of food as medicine, or better yet, as a way to prevent ever needing 'medicine' in the first place.
While much of the research is preliminary, an increasingly robust body of human clinical research indicates that pomegranate has a wide range of potential health benefits, including:
For additional research on pomegranate's wide range of health benefits, visit our pomegranate research page: Pomegranate Health Benefits, wherein you will find primary literature study abstracts on its value in over 100 potential health conditions.
Article by Rebecca Smith, Medical Editor
03 Jun 2009
Eating curry containing turmeric once or twice a week could prevent Alzheimer's disease and may researchers are investigating if it can be used as a treatment in those who already have it. .....
Professor Murali Doraiswamy, director of the Mental Fitness Laboratory at the Department of Psychiatry, Duke University Medical Center, Carolina, has told a conference that curcumin, from which turmeric is made, prevented the spread plaque found in the brains of Alzheimer's patients.
Plaques build up in the brain and are thought to affect the electrical signals between brain cells producing dementia symptoms. Prof Doraiswamy told delegates at the Royal College of Psychiatrists' Annual Meeting in Liverpool that brain plaques dissolved in mice given high doses of curcumin and in younger mice the spice appeared to prevent them forming in the first place. Trials are currently under way that could lead to a curry pill, he said.
Professor Doraiswamy said: "There is very solid evidence that curcumin binds to plaques, and basic research on animals engineered to produce human amyloid plaques has shown benefits. Turmeric has been studied not just in Alzheimer's research but for a variety of conditions, such as cancer and arthritis. Turmeric is often referred to as the spice of life in ancient Indian medical lore."
Several studies have found curcumin, an antioxidant, is beneficial in Alzheimer's disease and a trial is now under way in America to test the theory in humans with the disease. Prof Doraiswamy said: "Studies seem to show that you need only consume what is part of the normal diet – but the research studies are testing higher doses to see if they can maximise the effect. It would be equivalent of going on a curry spree for a week. Don't expect an occasional curry to counterbalance a poor lifestyle. However, if you have a good diet and take plenty of exercise, eating curry regularly could help prevent dementia."
Professor Doraiswamy, is currently on a lecture tour promoting his consumer book The Alzheimer's Action Plan, published in April. Researchers at Southampton University, funded by the Alzheimer's Society will examine whether curcumin could counteract some of the brain changes that are characteristic of Alzheimer's disease.
Dr Susanne Sorensen, Head of Research at the Alzheimer's Society, said: "Indian communities that regularly eat curcumin have a surprisingly low incidence of Alzheimer's disease but we don't yet know why. Alzheimer's Society is keen to explore the potential benefits of curcumin in protecting the brain and we are conducting our own research into this area.
"Dementia is a devastating condition that robs people of their lives. Unless we act now, one million people will develop dementia in the next ten years. A cheap accessible and safe treatment could transform the quality of life of thousands of people with the condition. With the right investment dementia can be defeated."