Drinking beetroot juice (BRJ) has both been shown to improve blood flow to the brain through its high levels of nitrate, which is converted into a molecule called nitric oxide (NO); exercise increases the brain’s capacity for neuroplasticity and performance is enhanced with increased NO. This neuroplasticity is important, because it leads to larger brain volume and more efficient neural connections. A team of researchers from a university in North Carolina set out to determine whether the positive effects of exercise and BRJ are additive.
Two parallel studies from Boston University based off data from the Framingham Heart Study recently found that pop – both diet and regular – is associated with brain changes. The first study found a correlation between frequent consumption of sugary drinks (including pop, sports drinks, and juice) and small brain volume and weak memory; this is not surprising, given the link between Alzheimer’s disease and diabetes.
Meditation has many well-established benefits, but an area of growing interest is its ability to increase the grey matter volume of the brain. Grey matter is the area in which neural connections are formed and is therefore important for cognitive function; given that it is the area most vulnerable to atrophy in dementia, it seems plausible that meditation would counteract these effects. However, most studies on the topic have been conducted with cognitively healthy participants.
Poor vascular health in mid-life is a well-established risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease. A research team from Johns Hopkins University recently set out to investigate whether these lifestyle risk factors play a direct role in amyloid deposition in the brain. The 346 cognitively healthy participants began the study at age 45-64; they were assessed for vascular risk factors (including high BMI, smoking, hypertension, diabetes, and high cholesterol) and evaluated based on their age, gender, ethnicity, education, and presence or absence of the APOE ε4 allele.
Over the next 10 years, Canadian Health Minister Jane Philpott promised, Canada will be spending six billion dollars to improve care partner supports and improve access to home care and palliative care. Older adults often want to live at home; unfortunately, independent living may put seniors at risk of falling, missing medication, and becoming malnourished, which in many cases results in hospitalization or moving into a long-term care facility.