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Can a 10-minute, non-stressful exercise help stimulate your memory?

memoryYou can improve your recent memory through a short session of light exercise. An article in Psychology Todayreported that people performed better in short-term memory tests after spending 10 minutes on an exercise bike at a steady but unhurried pace.

The findings came from an experiment conducted by Japanese and American researchers. They employed a bicycle ergometer, a type of stationary bike that is usually used to measure the amount of work exerted by the user.

Overseen by researchers from the University of California at Irvine (UCI) and the University of Tsukuba (Tsukuba), the experimental group consisted of 36 young adult volunteers. Each participant underwent a test of their episodic memory.

Participants would be shown pictures of ordinary everyday objects, one after another. They would try to figure out if there were any similarities between the current object and the ones shown just earlier.

They found that participants who took the 10-minute-long exercise before the test demonstrated better episodic memory. The volunteers were able to quickly and accurately remember previous objects, as well as any possible connections between the earlier ones and the current object. (Related: Yes, you can exercise your brain to dramatically improve cognitive performance.)

Short sessions of moderate exercise can sharpen short-term memory

The UCI and Tsukuba researchers explained that the 10-minute time limit of the non-stressful exercise is short enough to be practical for most people. At the same time, it is long and intense enough to induce memory benefits.

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They noted that the exercise raised the activity levels of the hippocampus, the part of the brain that is closely linked with recent memory. Earlier studies have shown that a person who sustained injuries to his or her hippocampus will keep long-term memories while being unable to create new memories.

Furthermore, the dentate gyrus/CA3 regions of the hippocampus increased their physical connections with some areas of the cerebral cortex. These parts are where the brain keeps newer memories.

The researchers used functional magnetic resonance imagery (fMRI) to evaluate the increased activity in the hippocampus. They also measured the density of the nerve fiber connections between the hippocampus and cerebral cortex.

Higher densities of nerve fiber connections increase the number of signals traded between nerve cells during a specific amount of time. The resulting higher connectivity was connected with improved performance in the episodic memory test.

Energize your episodic memory with daily doses of moderate physical exercise

Based on the results of their experiment, the researchers theorized that the activity and the connectivity levels of the hippocampus played important roles when it came to saving episodic memories. Therefore, anything that can spur the hippocampus into higher levels of activity will improve one’s grasp of those short-term memories.

“The hippocampus is critical for the creation of new memories; it’s one of the first regions of the brain to deteriorate as we get older – and much more severely in Alzheimer’s disease,” explained UCI researcher and lead author Michael Yassa. “Improving the function of the hippocampus holds much promise for improving memory in everyday settings.”

For comparison, the nearby amygdala region of the brain is responsible for storing threatening or traumatic memories that have emotions invested in them. There may be ways to stimulate this part of the brain in a similar way that moderate exercises do for the hippocampus.

In the meantime, considering spending a few minutes pedaling on your stationary bike every day. Then see for yourself if your episodic memory has improved by playing memory games.

Learn about the best ways to keep your brain, and your body fit, at

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Drinking This Herb Infused Water Increased Memory By 15 Percent

New research published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology, has shown that drinking a concentrated rosemary extract drink, No 1 Rosemary Water, can boost cognitive and memory performance by up to 15%.

No 1 Rosemary Water is a brand name for a still and/or sparkling drink that contains rosemary extract. Since it’s the only one commercially available it was used for the test but don’t despair if you’d like to try the benefits of this drink! (See below)

The research conducted by Dr Mark Moss at Northumbria University, is the first piece to be published on the benefit of drinking rosemary extract. The newly published research builds on Dr Moss’ earlier trials showing the benefits of rosemary aroma in boosting memory function.

Dr Mark Moss and the team conducted a series of tests to measure cognitive performance, focusing on memory.

These tests were designed to assess the participants’ capability to retain and manipulate information. Across a number of tests, the group drinking No1 Rosemary Water saw an improvement in their ability to recall information and complete their cognitive tasks.

The test participants were each given 250ml of concentrated No1 Rosemary Water. 20 minutes after ingesting the shots, the experimental group performed the tasks while having their brain blood flow measured to assess how efficiently the body was extracting energy compared to the control group.

Those drinking No1 Rosemary Water shots saw an average increase of 15% in performance as well as an increase in the levels of deoxygenated red blood cells flowing through their brain. The researchers believe this indicates that the brain is extracting the energy it requires to perform the task more efficiently.

Bullets of findings:

  • Long-term and working memory tasks – 15% average improvement in a series of selected memory tasks in experimental group compared to placebo group. The current study therefore supports the body of evidence that rosemary has the potential for enhancing some memory-based aspects of cognitive functioning.
  • Brain blood flow – statistically significant increased levels of deoxygenated blood in the brain compared to placebo group. The study is the first evidence of a cerebrovascular benefit from the ingestion of rosemary and suggests improved extraction of oxygen in the control group during cognitive tasks.

Dr Mark Moss believes this study adds to the accumulation of studies already carried out suggesting that “rosemary offers a number of interesting possible health promoting applications, from antioxidant and anti-microbial to hepatoprotective and antitumorigenic activity.”

In particular, the team believe the presence of 1,8-cineole and rosmarinic acid, both found in No1 Rosemary Water, may be important in delivering improved cognitive performance.

He went on,

The results of this research show there are statistically reliable improvements in memory function thanks to the ingestion of No1 Rosemary Water. In fact, I’d say that the shots act like a turbo charger for the brain.

No1 Rosemary Water is developed using a unique and secret combination of extraction processes. The team use only fresh rosemary (not dried) and the herb is cold brewed to ensure that all the active compounds found in nature are extracted. This is not a flavor or essence.

History of rosemary

Throughout history, rosemary has been famous for its medicinal properties and its ability to improve memory.

From the alchemists of the past to modern day practitioners of aromatherapy, there is widespread acknowledgement of its power and benefits.

Rosemary has in fact, been associated with memory enhancement since ancient times. Ancient Greek students wore garlands of rosemary in exams and it has been referred to in literature of all kinds, as the herb of remembrance for hundreds of years.

Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Act 4: Scene 5:

There’s rosemary, that’s for remembrance. Pray you, love, remember.

Today, science may finally be able to prove them right.

Note from Heather Callaghan:

Readers: how cool is it that rosemary was synonymous with remembrance in Shakespeare’s Hamlet! While the makers of the rosemary drink above insist that their drink is not a flavor or essence, you can still experience rosemary’s memory boost by doing the following:

  • Cold brew your own rosemary water by leaving the fresh rosemary in a pitcher of water overnight
  • Steep fresh rosemary like you would tea. Let steep for 15 minutes before adding lemon and/or honey and enjoy!
  • Last but not least: simply dab some rosemary essential oil on your wrists or rub into your hands and lightly breathe in! 

study on rosemary essential oil showed that it significantly enhanced mental performance for overall memory quality and secondary memory factors as well as boosting the mood.

You can feel free to experiment with your own rosemary water or use rosemary essential oil in a diffuser!

Let us know what you think below and don’t for get to share the love!

This article (Drinking this Herb Infused Water Increased Memory by 15 Percent) was created by and appeared first at Natural BlazeIt can be reshared with attribution but MUST include link to homepage, bio, intact links and this message. 

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How Curcumin Improves Memory And Mood

 Curcumin By April McCarthy

Lovers of Indian food, give yourselves a second helping: Daily consumption of a certain form of curcumin — the substance that gives Indian curry its bright color — improved memory and mood in people with mild, age-related memory loss, according to the results of a study conducted by UCLA researchers.

The research, published online in the American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, examined the effects of an easily absorbed curcumin supplement on memory performance in people without dementia, as well as curcumin’s potential impact on the microscopic plaques and tangles in the brains of people with Alzheimer’s disease.

Found in turmeric, curcumin has previously been shown to have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties in lab studies. It also has been suggested as a possible reason that senior citizens in India, where curcumin is a dietary staple, have a lower prevalence of Alzheimer’s disease and better cognitive performance.

Powdered turmeric has been used for centuries to treat a host of illnesses. It inhibits inflammatory reactions, has anti-diabetic effects, reduces cholesterol among other powerful health effects. A recent study led by a research team in Munich showed that it can also inhibit formation of metastases.

“Exactly how curcumin exerts its effects is not certain, but it may be due to its ability to reduce brain inflammation, which has been linked to both Alzheimer’s disease and major depression,” said Dr. Gary Small, director of geriatric psychiatry at UCLA’s Longevity Center and of the geriatric psychiatry division at the Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior at UCLA, and the study’s first author.

The double-blind, placebo-controlled study involved 40 adults between the ages of 50 and 90 years who had mild memory complaints. Participants were randomly assigned to receive either a placebo or 90 milligrams of curcumin twice daily for 18 months.

All 40 subjects received standardized cognitive assessments at the start of the study and at six-month intervals, and monitoring of curcumin levels in their blood at the start of the study and after 18 months. Thirty of the volunteers underwent positron emission tomography, or PET scans, to determine the levels of amyloid and tau in their brains at the start of the study and after 18 months.

The people who took curcumin experienced significant improvements in their memory and attention abilities, while the subjects who received placebo did not, Small said. In memory tests, the people taking curcumin improved by 28 percent over the 18 months. Those taking curcumin also had mild improvements in mood, and their brain PET scans showed significantly less amyloid and tau signals in the amygdala and hypothalamus than those who took placebos.

The amygdala and hypothalamus are regions of the brain that control several memory and emotional functions.

Four people taking curcumin, and two taking placebos, experienced mild side effects such as abdominal pain and nausea.

The researchers plan to conduct a follow-up study with a larger number of people. That study will include some people with mild depression so the scientists can explore whether curcumin also has antidepressant effects. The larger sample also would allow them to analyze whether curcumin’s memory-enhancing effects vary according to people’s genetic risk for Alzheimer’s, their age or the extent of their cognitive problems.

“These results suggest that taking this relatively safe form of curcumin could provide meaningful cognitive benefits over the years,” said Small, UCLA’s Parlow-Solomon Professor on Aging.

The paper’s authors, in addition to Small, are Prabha Siddarth, Dr. Zhaoping Li, Karen Miller, Linda Ercoli, Natacha Emerson, Jacqueline Martinez, Koon-Pong Wong, Jie Liu, Dr. David Merrill, Dr. Stephen Chen, Susanne Henning, Nagichettiar Satyamurthy, Sung-Cheng Huang, Dr. David Heber and Jorge Barrio, all of UCLA.

The study was supported by the Ahmanson Foundation, the Marshall and Margherite McComb Foundation, the McMahan Foundation, Bob and Marion Wilson, the Fran and Ray Stark Foundation Fund for Alzheimer’s Disease Research, the U.S. Department of Energy and the National Institutes of Health.

Theravalues Corp. provided the curcumin and placebos for the trial, as well as funds for laboratory testing and for Small’s travel to present preliminary findings at the 2017 Alzheimer’s Association International Conference.

Also Read: Curcumin Reduces Symptoms of Anxiety and Depression Even In People With Major Depression

April McCarthy writes for Prevent Disease, where this article first appeared.

Image credit: Pixabay


Common Food Ingredient Is Zapping Your Memory Away Leading To Alzheimer’s

By Heather CallaghanEditor

One of the world’s most common food ingredients is finally being outed as a big, fat fraud. We hope you are sitting down for this one!

This polyunsaturated oil is touted as healthy by the big food industries, fast food industries, the natural health communities (!), and even our regulatory agencies.

We’re talking about canola oil! One of the worst food creations in modern history if you can even call it a food product. A study came out showing that canola oil was like battery acid to the cardiovascular system – and no one listened. Cooked polyunsaturated oils were recently linked to cancer.…nothing but crickets.

This oil is everywhere – in most restaurants, in pretty much all fast food items, every packaged snack you can think of, in everything you can store in a cabinet and worst of all – in nearly all natural health snack goods. 

Canola oil was recently linked to declining memory, learning deficits and… obesity!

Natasha Longo reports:

After the public health scare in the 1970s over animal fats, sales of vegetable oils of all types increased. It was the established wisdom that those oils high in polyunsaturated fatty acids were especially beneficial. However, more research into vegetable oils continues to surface showing their damaging effects on health. A new study published online in the journal Scientific Reports shows that consumption of canola oil in the diet with worsened memory, worsened learning ability and weight gain.


….In the journal Scientific Reports by researchers at the Lewis Katz School of Medicine at Temple University (LKSOM) associates the consumption of canola oil in the diet with worsened memory, worsened learning ability and weight gain in mice which model Alzheimer’s disease. The study is the first to suggest that canola oil is more harmful than healthful for the brain.

Canola oil contains a long-chain fatty acid called erucic acid, which is especially irritating to mucous membranes; canola oil consumption has been correlated with development of fibrotic lesions of the heart, CNS degenerative disorders, lung cancer, and prostate cancer, anemia, and constipation.

Not only are canola, soybean and corn oil now coming from genetically modified crops, but their processing is beyond toxic to human metabolism.

Any health claims for the brain regarding canola oil appear to be patently false according to the lead study author, Domenico Pratico, MD, who also directs an Alzheimer’s center at LKSOM.

Pratico and Elisabetta Laurett originally used this same Alzheimer’s mouse model while investigating olive oil earlier this year. They actually found that “Alzheimer mice fed a diet enriched with extra-virgin olive oil had reduced levels of amyloid plaques and phosphorylated tau and experienced memory improvement.” They were actually checking to see if canola oil could do the same

The report continues:

The researchers started by dividing the mice into two groups at six months of age, before the animals developed signs of Alzheimer’s disease. One group was fed a normal diet, while the other was fed a diet supplemented with the equivalent of about two tablespoons of canola oil daily.

The researchers then assessed the animals at 12 months. One of the first differences observed was in body weight — animals on the canola oil-enriched diet weighed significantly more than mice on the regular diet. Maze tests to assess working memory, short-term memory, and learning ability uncovered additional differences. Most significantly, mice that had consumed canola oil over a period of six months suffered impairments in working memory.

Examination of brain tissue from the two groups of mice revealed that canola oil-treated animals had greatly reduced levels of amyloid beta 1-40. Amyloid beta 1-40 is the more soluble form of the amyloid beta proteins. It generally is considered to serve a beneficial role in the brain and acts as a buffer for the more harmful insoluble form, amyloid beta 1-42.

As a result of decreased amyloid beta 1-40, animals on the canola oil diet further showed increased formation of amyloid plaques in the brain, with neurons engulfed in amyloid beta 1-42. The damage was accompanied by a significant decrease in the number of contacts between neurons, indicative of extensive synapse injury. Synapses, the areas where neurons come into contact with one another, play a central role in memory formation and retrieval.

“Amyloid beta 1-40 neutralizes the actions of amyloid 1-42, which means that a decrease in 1-40, like the one observed in our study, leaves 1-42 unchecked,” Dr. Pratico explained. “In our model, this change in ratio resulted in considerable neuronal damage, decreased neural contacts, and memory impairment.”

In other words, long-term consumption of canola oil – which is what most Americans are currently doing – is not beneficial to the brain at all.

“Even though canola oil is a vegetable oil, we need to be careful before we say that it is healthy,” Dr. Pratico said. “Based on the evidence from this study, canola oil should not be thought of as being equivalent to oils with proven health benefits.”

They want to conduct shorter duration studies to see when is the shortest amount of time for “exposure necessary to produce observable changes in the ratio of amyloid beta 1-42 to 1-40 in the brain and alter synapse connections.”

Pratico concludes:

We also want to know whether the negative effects of canola oil are specific for Alzheimer’s disease. There is a chance that the consumption of canola oil could also affect the onset and course of other neurodegenerative diseases or other forms of dementia.

There you have it – if you don’t want to chance it with your memory and Alzheimer’s, then drop that french fry and step away from the snack section at the health food store. At the very least, canola oil’s damaging health effects have already been established for the heart, inflammation and obesity.

DISCLAIMER: This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

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Sound Waves Enhance Deep Sleep And Memory

By April McCarthy

Gentle sound stimulation — such as the rush of a waterfall — synchronized to the rhythm of brain waves significantly enhanced deep sleep in older adults and improved their ability to recall words, reports a new Northwestern Medicine study.

Deep sleep is critical for memory consolidation. But beginning in middle age, deep sleep decreases substantially, which scientists believe contributes to memory loss in aging.

The sound stimulation significantly enhanced deep sleep in participants and their scores on a memory test.

“This is an innovative, simple and safe non-medication approach that may help improve brain health,” said senior author Dr. Phyllis Zee, professor of neurology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and a Northwestern Medicine sleep specialist. “This is a potential tool for enhancing memory in older populations and attenuating normal age-related memory decline.”

The study was published March 8 in Frontiers in Human Neuroscience.

In the study, 13 participants 60 and older received one night of acoustic stimulation and one night of sham stimulation. The sham stimulation procedure was identical to the acoustic one, but participants did not hear any noise during sleep. For both the sham and acoustic stimulation sessions, the individuals took a memory test at night and again the next morning. Recall ability after the sham stimulation generally improved on the morning test by a few percent. However, the average improvement was three times larger after pink-noise stimulation.

The older adults were recruited from the Cognitive Neurology and Alzheimer’s Disease Center at Northwestern.

The degree of slow wave sleep enhancement was related to the degree of memory improvement, suggesting slow wave sleep remains important for memory, even in old age.

Although the Northwestern scientists have not yet studied the effect of repeated nights of stimulation, this method could be a viable intervention for longer-term use in the home, Zee said.

Previous research showed acoustic simulation played during deep sleep could improve memory consolidation in young people. But it has not been tested in older adults.

The new study targeted older individuals — who have much more to gain memory-wise from enhanced deep sleep — and used a novel sound system that increased the effectiveness of the sound stimulation in older populations.

The study used a new approach, which reads an individual’s brain waves in real time and locks in the gentle sound stimulation during a precise moment of neuron communication during deep sleep, which varies for each person.

During deep sleep, each brain wave or oscillation slows to about one per second compared to 10 oscillations per second during wakefulness.
Giovanni Santostasi, a study coauthor, developed an algorithm that delivers the sound during the rising portion of slow wave oscillations. This stimulation enhances synchronization of the neurons’ activity.

After the sound stimulation, the older participants’ slow waves increased during sleep.

Larger studies are needed to confirm the efficacy of this method and then “the idea is to be able to offer this for people to use at home,” said first author Nelly Papalambros, a Ph.D. student in neuroscience working in Zee’s lab. “We want to move this to long-term, at-home studies.”

Northwestern scientists, under the direction of Dr. Roneil Malkani, assistant professor of neurology at Feinberg and a Northwestern Medicine sleep specialist, are currently testing the acoustic stimulation in overnight sleep studies in patients with memory complaints. The goal is to determine whether acoustic stimulation can enhance memory in adults with mild cognitive impairment.

Previous studies conducted in individuals with mild cognitive impairment in collaboration with Ken Paller, professor of psychology at the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences at Northwestern, have demonstrated a possible link between their sleep and their memory impairments.

Other Northwestern authors on the study are Paller, Sandra Weintraub and Rosemary Braun.

Northwestern has a patent pending for the technology. Santostasi is a cofounder of DeepWave Technologies, Inc., which plans to commercialize the technology.

Also Read: Yale Professor Explains The Mysteries of Sleep

April McCarthy writes for, where this article first appeared.

Originally Posted:

7 Kitchen Ingredients to Improve Memory, No. 5 Will Surprise You

memory-foodsBy Adonia Dennis, Natural Blaze

Aging, illness, poor sleep, and mental disorders can all cause problems with your memory. If you’re experiencing memory problems that are severely interfering with your ability to function in life, do seek professional health. But if you’re just having a few memory slips here and there or just need a natural brain boost, then try out these ingredients you probably have lying around in your kitchen for an instant brain boost.

7 Kitchen Ingredients That Can Help Improve Your Memory

  1. Olive oil

Olive oil is a rich source of polyphenols which are potent plant antioxidants. Antioxidants are molecules that prevent free radical damage and that are known to protect the brain from age-related diseases and even improve mental functioning in old age. One study on mice published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease found that mice fed olive oil for 6 weeks had shown better learning and memory when compared to mice fed coconut oil or butter. The researchers believe that this effect was due to the olive oil reducing oxidative damage to the brain cells in their mice models.



  1. Blueberries

Blueberries are considered one of the best brain foods out there, mostly because of their high antioxidant content, but also because they are a rich source of key nutrients. They have been extensively studied in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease, and most studies found that blueberries have a powerful effect and that they help reverse age-related cognitive decline. Blueberries proved to be equally powerful in boosting brain power in healthy individuals as well. To improve your memory, it’s best you munch on a couple of fresh blueberries because heat can reduce some of their nutritious content.


  1. Almonds

Almonds are often praised as brain foods, and for good reasons also. The reason being that almond are nutritional powerhouses containing all essential nutrients important for brain health and mental functioning. Almonds are a rich source of protein, zinc, vitamin E, and omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids. Studies on almonds also show that they truly help boost brain power and they’re also a great option if you are having sleeping difficulties. Almonds are a rich source of an amino acid called tryptophan which is a precursor to melatonin production – the hormone that makes you feel sleepy.


  1. Rosemary

Sprinkling rosemary over your meals may be another way you could boost your memory according to a study published in the Journal of Medicinal Food. The study found that older adults given rosemary had shown improvement in their memory. But if you wondered how to improve memory fast, then just smelling this aromatic herb could give you the brain boost you need according to another study published in the International Journal of Neuroscience. This study found that aromatherapy with rosemary improved mood and concentration in their test subjects.


  1. Black pepper

Black pepper gives your meals a nice and spicy taste, but it also helps you remember things. A study published in a recent issue of Current Pharmaceutical Biotechnology found that a compound only found in black pepper called chavicine improves brain health. Chavicine seems to protect the brain from toxins and reverse damage already done to the brain. Red pepper works just as good according to another study that claims that red pepper could prevent Alzheimer’s disease.


  1. Avocado

There is something in avocado that improved the functioning of mitochondria in brain cells. Mitochondria are parts of cells that generate energy for the cells. One study found that avocado oil seems to improve mitochondrial functioning and also reduces oxidative stress in the brain. Another study found that greater consumption of avocado improves neuron cell health and improves including working and spatial memory. Avocado seems to be a brain booster as powerful as some popular brain supplements.


  1. Oatmeal

Oatmeal is a great breakfast option because it provides you with ample energy and it also protects your blood vessel health. But oatmeal can also increase your brain power. One study compared memory and learning in school children given oatmeal and breakfast cereal. The study found that children fed oatmeal for breakfast exhibited better cognitive performance, especially in complex tasks. The oatmeal group also showed better short-term and long-term memory. One reason for this could be oatmeal’s large vitamin B content and the antioxidant selenium.


Your brain needs adequate nutrition to function properly. Eating foods high in antioxidants will protect your brain from the harmful effect of free radicals. Other foods provide your brain with the nutrients it needs to support the health and functioning of brain cells. Some brain foods also boost brain power by affecting neurotransmitter. By eating these 7 simple ingredients that you probably already have in your kitchen, you will provide your brain with the fuel it needs to function properly, and as a result, your learning and memory are bound to improve almost instantly.

Author Bio

Adonia Dennis (@adoniadennis), by profession a Health, Beauty and Skin Care adviser. She provides solution related to health and beauty problems. She is an independent researcher who researches for all type of skin related issues. She is a featured blogger at and and share her views on health, fitness and diet. Visit Adonia on Facebook, Google+,  and Pinterest.

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Turmeric shown to boost memory and attention span in the elderly in recent study

TurmericTurmeric is the spice that makes everything nice, including memory. The compound responsible for turmeric’s yellow color, curcumin, has been shown to boost the memory and attention span of older adults, as reported in a recent study.

Turmeric has long been treasured for its powerful medicinal properties. Loaded with bioactive compounds, turmeric has been used in Chinese and Indian systems of medicine to treat a host of health problems, including jaundice, menstrual difficulties, toothaches and chest pain. More recently, researchers based in Australian have unearthed evidence that turmeric can help maintain cognitive function with age.

Previous studies have suggested that older populations living in areas where curry – a cuisine from the Indian Subcontinent packed with spices and herbs – is widely available have significantly lower levels of dementia and better cognitive performance. Curcumin, the compound present in turmeric, has been established as the likely cause of these therapeutic effects.

Probing the cognitive benefits of turmeric

Professor Andrew Scholey, lead researcher of the study and director of Swinburne’s Center for Human Pscyhopharmacology, has been studying the impact medicinal herbs and spices have on the human brain for two decades.

“Curcumin has multiple physiological effects,” he said. “It’s known to reduce inflammation and improve blood flow. It influences multiple processes that nudge brain function in a positive direction,” he added.

In their original research, Scholey and his colleagues mobilized 60 volunteers between 60 and 85 years of age, and divided them into two groups. One group received capsules containing a solid lipid curcumin formulation, which is easier to absorb than pure curcumin, and the other group received a placebo.

“The main things older people fear about ageing are the loss of energy and the loss of mental function,” Scholey said.

The participants were then asked to perform various computerized mental exercises, such as remembering pictures and words, basic subtraction and reaction time tasks, a few hours after they had taken the supplement. They continued to perform these tasks after taking the supplement daily for a period of four weeks.

Patient memory improves just hours after taking turmeric

On the whole, participants who had taken the curcumin capsules performed significantly better on computer tasks used to judge working memory and vigilance, when compared to the control group. In addition, the participants in the capsule group reported that their working memory and attention spans significantly improved just a few hours after taking the supplement. They also claimed to experience less fatigue, in addition to feeling more calm and content, during the four week study.

“To our knowledge this is the first study to examine the effects of curcumin on cognition and mood in a healthy older population or to examine any acute behavioural effects in humans,” the researchers noted in the Journal of Psychopharmacology last year. The curcumin compound is currently licensed in Australia by Blackmores. The project was recognized as University Research of the Year in the inaugural NutraIngredients Awards, according to an article published in Swinburne’s new Research Impact magazine.

“A significant acute-on-chronic treatment effect on alertness and contentedness was also observed. Curcumin was associated with significantly reduced total and LDL (low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol and had no effect on haematological safety measures,” the researchers noted.

Researchers at the Centre for Human Psychopharmacology have been allocated grant money to continue investigating the properties of turmeric, reviewing neuro-imaging and genetic markers to shed light on curcumin’s potential psychological and cognitive benefits. The center, which touts itself as a world class facility, was tailor made for this kind of clinical research.

Other research projects to be conducted at the facility include the impact diet has on the generation of new cells in the hippocampus, a portion of the brain responsible for memory, as well as the effects a Mediterranean diet and mild exercise can have on cognitive performance for residents living in nursing homes.

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Author: S. Johnson
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Eating Healthy Lowers Risk Of Declining Memory,Thinking Skills By 24%

healthy-dietIt’s no surprise when someone adopts healthier eating habits when they’re trying to slim down and look their best for summer. However, rarely do we hear about someone eating healthier in an effort to improve their cognitive skills. A recent study published in the American Academy of Neurology’s journal Neurology has found that adhering to a healthy diet can lower a person’s risk for suffering a decline in memory and thinking as they get older.

“The difference in our study is we didn’t prescribe a particular diet or explore for a particular diet pattern,” Smyth told CNN. “We just wanted to look at a diverse cohort of people all around the world and analyze what their risk for cognitive decline would be if they consumed what most organizations would consider a ‘healthy diet.’”

Smyth and his colleagues monitored the eating habits of 27,860 men and women from 40 different countries. Participants received grades based on reports indicating the amount of food they consumed from both healthy and unhealthy categories. Researchers also tested each participant’s memory and thinking skills at baseline, two years, and five years after the start of the study.

By the end of the study, 4,699 men and women experienced a decline in their memory and thinking skills. After accounting for potential related factors, such as physical activity, high blood pressure, and a history of cancer, the research team found that people adhering to the healthiest diets based on a maximum scoring grade of 30 were 24 percent less likely to experience cognitive declines compared to people with the unhealthiest diets.

“Adoption of a healthy diet probably begins early in life, and a healthy diet might also go along with adoption of other healthy behaviors,” Dr. Andrew Smyth, lead author of the study and nephrologist at McMaster University in Ontario, Canada, said in a statement.

According to Harvard Medical School, the effect an unhealthy diet has on our brain is remarkably similar to the effect it has on our heart. A diet high in saturated fat and trans fats raises blood levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL), or “bad” cholesterol, which, over time builds up, resulting in damaged arteries. That same process can lead to the formation of beta-amyloid plaques in the brain. Increased production of these stick protein clusters is often considered a warning sign for Alzheimer’s disease.

Source: Dehghan M, O’Donnell M, Smyth A, et al. Healthy eating and reduced risk of cognitive decline. Neurology. 2015.


People are getting Matrix-style brain implants to boost their memory

the-matrixLike something out of the Matrix, we’re entering an era where it may be possible to boost your memory with a few zaps to the brain.

A few dozen people who were given brain implants that delivered targeted shocks to their mind’s memory center scored better on memory tests, DARPA announced at a conference in St. Louis last week.

These implants could someday be used to restore memory to people suffering from traumatic brain injury or other neurological problems, agency representatives said.

“As the technology of these fully implantable devices improves, and as we learn more about how to stimulate the brain ever more precisely to achieve the most therapeutic effects, I believe we are going to gain a critical capacity to help our wounded warriors and others who today suffer from intractable neurological problems,” program manager Justin Sanchez said in a statement.

Total recall?

The goal of the study, which is part of DARPA’s Restoring Active Memory (RAM) program, was to allow scientists to read and interpret the brain activity involved in forming and recalling memories and predict when a person is about to remember something incorrectly. The electrodes can then be used to deliver targeted electrical shocks to specific groups of brain cells that store a memory, making it more easily accessible, according to DARPA.

A team of USC scientists that is not part of the DARPA effort has also been working for several years on developing brain implants to boost and enhance memory in rats and other animals, but this is the first time this kind of technology has been tested in humans.

The people who received the implants volunteered to test them while they were having brain surgery for neurological problems unrelated to memory loss.

During the surgery, scientists implanted small electrode arrays in brain regions involved in forming declarative memories — the kind of memory used to remember events, times, places, or lists of objects — as well as in areas involved in spatial memory and navigation.

In preliminary findings, the researchers were able to not only record and interpret the signals that store memories in the brain and retrieve them later, but also activate memory areas to improve the patients’ recall for lists of objects.

Scientists are still figuring out the best way to deliver the stimulation, i.e., when the lists are first being memorized, or when the person is trying to recall the items.

DARPA is withholding some details of the study because they haven’t been published in a scientific journal yet.

Other brainy boosts

The RAM program is just one of several efforts aimed at boosting memory or cognition.

While we’re nowhere near the ability to download skills into our brains like Neo in the Matrix, another DARPA program launching in October, called RAM Replay, aims to improve people’s memory of physical skills, by mimicking the brain’s natural process of replaying these skills — something our brains do naturally while we sleep.

Meanwhile, DARPA’s Systems-Based Neurotechnology for Emerging Therapies (SUBNETS) program is developing implants to provide relief to people suffering from PTSD and other neurological disorders.



New Alzheimer’s treatment fully restores memory function

brain-tangles_1024Australian researchers have come up with a non-invasive ultrasound technology that clears the brain of neurotoxic amyloid plaques – structures that are responsible for memory loss and a decline in cognitive function in Alzheimer’s patients.

If a person has Alzheimer’s disease, it’s usually the result of a build-up of two types of lesions – amyloid plaques, and neurofibrillary tangles. Amyloid plaques sit between the neurons and end up as dense clusters of beta-amyloid molecules, a sticky type of protein that clumps together and forms plaques.

 Neurofibrillary tangles are found inside the neurons of the brain, and they’re caused by defective tau proteins that clump up into a thick, insoluble mass. This causes tiny filaments called microtubules to get all twisted, which disrupts the transportation of essential materials such as nutrients and organelles along them, just like when you twist up the vacuum cleaner tube.

As we don’t have any kind of vaccine or preventative measure for Alzheimer’s – a disease that affects 343,000 people in Australia, and 50 million worldwide – it’s been a race to figure out how best to treat it, starting with how to clear the build-up of defective beta-amyloid and tau proteins from a patient’s brain. Now a team from the Queensland Brain Institute (QBI) at the University of Queensland have come up with a pretty promising solution for removing the former.

Publishing in Science Translational Medicine, the team describes the technique as using a particular type of ultrasound called a focused therapeutic ultrasound, which non-invasively beams sound waves into the brain tissue. By oscillating super-fast, these sound waves are able to gently open up the blood-brain barrier, which is a layer that protects the brain against bacteria, and stimulate the brain’s microglial cells to activate. Microglila cells are basically waste-removal cells, so they’re able to clear out the toxic beta-amyloid clumps that are responsible for the worst symptoms of Alzheimer’s.

The team reports fully restoring the memory function of 75 percent of the mice they tested it on, with zero damage to the surrounding brain tissue. They found that the treated mice displayed improved performance in three memory tasks – a maze, a test to get them to recognise new objects, and one to get them to remember the places they should avoid.

“We’re extremely excited by this innovation of treating Alzheimer’s without using drug therapeutics,” one of the team, Jürgen Götz, said in a press release. “The word ‘breakthrough’ is often misused, but in this case I think this really does fundamentally change our understanding of how to treat this disease, and I foresee a great future for this approach.”

The team says they’re planning on starting trials with higher animal models, such as sheep, and hope to get their human trials underway in 2017.

You can hear an ABC radio interview with the team here.

Author: BEC CREW