DHA is an omega-3 fatty acid that plays a central role in brain health. As I have discussed before, one of the key factors that correlates levels of DHA to brain health and disease resistance is DHA’s ability to turn on the brains “growth hormone” called BDNF.
In this report, from the Easton Center for Alzheimer’s Disease Research, researchers evaluated the level of DHA in red blood cells in a group of over 1500 men and women aged 67 ± 9 years who were dementia free . The study then measured the size of their brains, and evaluated their brains by doing MRI scans to look for small strokes. In addition, the subjects underwent a variety of cognitive assessments. Continue reading
We’ve all come to accept the notion that our brain will continue to shrink as we age. And nowhere is this decline more impactful than in the hippocampus, the brain’s memory center, one of the primary brain areas that’s first to decline in Alzheimer’s disease.
Researchers measuring the size of the hippocampus using MRI scans demonstrate a clear correlation between shrinkage of the hippocampus and declining cognitive function. So, at least as it relates to the hippocampus, size does matter.
Challenging the status quo notion that loss of hippocampal function is inevitable is new and exciting research showing that we have the potential to actually grow new cells in this vitally important area of the brain, expanding the hippocampus in size and enhancing memory function.
The growth of new cells in the brain, neurogenesis, is enhanced under the influence of a specific protein called BDNF. And while there is no pharmaceutical approach to increasing BDNF, animal research has long recognized that aerobic exercise causes a robust increase in BDNF levels and as a consequence increases both the growth of new cells in the hippocampus as well as increase in memory. Continue reading