Two new pieces of research have recently come out about brain health.
One involves statin medications, a class of drugs for cholesterol, and the other is about 2 years of addressing what you eat, drink, breathe, and how your think, move, and sleep.
The study of over 1200 people over 2 years specifically took half of the participants and gave them regular advice/support to help them:
- Physical Exercise: Individually tailored programs for progressive muscle strengthening (1-3 x /week) and aerobic exercise (2-5 x /week), using activities preferred by each participant. Aerobic group exercise was also provided.
- Cognitive (Thinking) Exercise: Group and individual sessions, which included advice on age-related cognitive changes, memory and reasoning strategies, and individual computer-based cognitive training.
- Diet: The diet advice was based on Finnish nutritional recommendations. This is very similar to the Mediterranean Diet, except they encouraged margarine over butter. (I Do NOT encourage margarine for anyone wanting to live.)
- Medical Management: Management of metabolic and cardiovascular risk factors for dementia was based on national guidelines. This included regular meetings with the study nurse or doctor for measurements of blood pressure, weight and BMI, hip and waist circumference, physical examinations, and recommendations for lifestyle management. Study doctors did not prescribe medication, but recommended participants contact their own doctor if needed.
So, what were the results after 2 years?
People in the intervention group had 25% higher overall brain function scores after 24 months, compared with the control group.
Improvement in other areas, such as executive function, was 83% higher in the intervention group, and 150% higher in processing speed. However, the intervention appeared to have no effect on people’s memory. I believe that will come with healthy habits over more time.
THIS IS AMAZING! This is one of the studies that led me to develop my Brain Nourishment Score. This scoring tool is the first step to a healthy brain. I will be releasing the Brain Nourishment Score publicly within the next couple weeks. In the mean time, start doing what you already know is healthy for you in the Six Pillars of a Healthy Body and Brain by addressing what you Eat, Drink, breathe, and How you Think, Move and Sleep.
I will tell you about the statin drugs and their effect on brain health, specifically the risk of diabetes and Parkinson’s disease next time.