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Silent Memory Loss And The Food That May Cause It

Paige Brettingen |
December 30, 2011 | 11:19 a.m. PST

Executive Producer


Courtesy of Creative Commons
Courtesy of Creative Commons
Long dismissed as a sign of aging, poor memory in older adults may have another cause as well as a prevention.

According to research funded by the U.S. National Institutes of Health, nearly 25 percent of older adults had small pockets of dead brain cells that may have been caused by unnoticed "silent strokes."

The study, which involved 658 men and women aged 65 and older who did not have history of dementia, found that 174 of the participants had experienced silent strokes and likewise did not perform well on memory tests.

The size of the hippocampus (the part of the brain that controls memory) did not appear to be a factor for the varying degrees of memory loss, said the study.

"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," study author Adam Brickman, of the Taub Institute for Research on Alzheimer's Disease and the Aging Brain at Columbia University Medical Center in New York, explained in a news release from the American Academy of Neurology as reported by USA Today.  The journal Neurology plans to publish the full results on Jan. 3.

Another study also published by the journal Neurology this week suggested that certain vitamins and a low-trans-fat diet may help preserve memory.

"Trans fats are known to be bad for cardiovascular health, so it's not too much of stretch to think that they're bad for the brain," study author Gene Bowman, an assistant professor of neurology at Oregon Health and Science University said to MSNBC. "It turns out trans fat was actually our most consistent finding in the study."

The researchers found that trans fat (found in fried and many processed foods) contributed to "more shrinkage of the brain" in addition to less cognitive recognition.

However, among the 104 participants in the study 87-years-old (on average) who were ingesting high levels of omega-3 fatty acids and vitamins B, C, D, and E, did better on their cognitive tests, accounting for "over 70 percent of the variation in the scores of cognitive tests taken by the study subjects, the researchers reported," said MSNBC.

"I think it's timely in that we have other studies showing a connection between, for example, overweight or obesity and dementia risk," said Dr. Gary Small, director of the UCLA Longevity Center and co-author of "The Alzheimer's Prevention Program" (Workman Publishing, 2011), to MSNBC. "You can see there is clearly a connection between what we eat and how well we think as we age."

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cheap bras (not verified) on December 30, 2011 6:31 PM

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Joboo (not verified) on December 30, 2011 2:37 PM

It is sad that an article of this poor quality is even posted. Will all the negative feedback have the impact on the author? I doubt it, modern journalists seem to have unlimited delusions of grandeur.

Anonymous (not verified) on December 30, 2011 1:56 PM

It seems like a better title would have been 'Silent Memory Loss And The Food That May Contribute To It'. I would have liked more information on prevention. Like most of these studies, I am sure there will be a study out in a few months that contradicts the findings of the study cited in this article.


smart old fart (not verified) on December 30, 2011 1:15 PM

Food! What Food???!!! STupiD article!! typical modern "journalism"

George Bush (not verified) on December 30, 2011 1:07 PM

I think Paige needz some "brain-food", or is was she just born stupid ?

BrainEack (not verified) on December 30, 2011 1:04 PM

writer has Silent Memory Loss, what a joke !

Doctor Strangelove (not verified) on December 30, 2011 12:48 PM

I call it "Silent Thunder" from the book titled "The Last Theorem."

S. L. Williams (not verified) on December 30, 2011 12:45 PM

I'm sorry I must have missed something. The title of your article does not seem to correspond with the information given. The title says "The Brain Food..." I saw no mention of a 'food', just what to avoid (i.e. trans fat), and to take certain vitamins. Don't you think that is misleading?

Anonymous (not verified) on December 30, 2011 12:11 PM


Nice article. In paragraph six, presumably you meant prevent, not preserve, memory loss.

Victor Alexander

Anonymous (not verified) on December 30, 2011 2:49 PM

Actually, a lot of this information has been around for a decade or more on the use of certain vitamins, (specifically E, C, D and beta carotene). The n-3 fatty acids have also been know of for a similar period of time, in particular DHA and EPA found in large quantities in the cell membranes of brain cells. Lots of work in this area has been done at the University of Toronto and the University of California-Irvine.