How To Reduce The Risk Of Premature Brain Aging (M)

Higher brain aging leads to shrinking of the white and gray matter and worse scores on standard cognitive tests.

Higher brain aging leads to shrinking of the white and gray matter and worse scores on standard cognitive tests.


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The Blood Type That Predicts Early Stroke Risk

Your blood type might signal whether you are prone to have an early stroke or not.

Your blood type might signal whether you are prone to have an early stroke or not.

Besides lifestyle and environment, genes have a big impact on a person’s state of health.

One example is a person’s blood group, which is inherited from genes passed down by the parents.

A meta-analysis of genetic studies reveals that our blood type can determine whether we are at risk of an early stroke or not.

They found that people with blood type A are more at risk of an early stroke.

Also, those with blood type B were more likely to experience a stroke before the age 60 and later on.

The review is based on 48 genetic studies related to ischemic strokes, the most common type of strokes.

Ischemic strokes are life-threatening conditions caused by a blockage of an artery that supplies blood to the brain.

Professor Steven Kittner, the study’s senior author, said:

“The number of people with early strokes is rising.

These people are more likely to die from the life-threatening event, and survivors potentially face decades with disability.

Despite this, there is little research on the causes of early strokes.”

The research team compared genetic data from 17,000 stroke patients with nearly 600,000 healthy adults (non-stroke controls) who were between 18- and 59-years-old.

The team studied the ABO gene located on certain chromosomes in order to find out if there is any link between common genetic variants with the risk of having a stroke before age 60.

Their analysis showed that participants with early stroke were less likely to have blood type O and most likely to have blood type A.

Participants with blood group A were more likely to have an early stroke and those with blood type O had a lower risk of developing strokes.

Those with blood type B were at higher risk of having an early stroke and later in life.

Professor Braxton Mitchell, study co-author, said:

“Our meta-analysis looked at people’s genetic profiles and found associations between blood type and risk of early-onset stroke.

The association of blood type with later-onset stroke was much weaker than what we found with early stroke.”

Compared to people with other blood types, those with blood type A had a 16 percent higher risk of an early stroke.

The authors acknowledged that the increased risk of an early stroke for people with blood type A is small and so they don’t need to worry or do any additional health check and medical tests.

Professor Kittner said:

“We still don’t know why blood type A would confer a higher risk, but it likely has something to do with blood-clotting factors like platelets and cells that line the blood vessels as well as other circulating proteins, all of which play a role in the development of blood clots.”

Past studies have found that people with blood type A are at a slightly increased risk of experiencing deep vein thrombosis.

The study was published in the journal Neurology (Jaworek et al., 2022).

The Ketogenic Diet May Help Reverse Brain Aging

Communication between areas of the brain starts to break down when people approach their 50s.

Communication between areas of the brain starts to break down when people approach their 50s.

A ketogenic diet — one low in simple carbohydrates — may help to reverse brain aging, research finds.

Reducing the consumption of simple carbs can prevent or reverse age-related changes to the brain.

Simple carbs are contained in foods like soda, baked goods, cookies and some breakfast cereals.

Complex carbs are found in foods like vegetables, fruits, beans, nuts and whole grains.

Even in people below the age of 50, in whom brain aging has not yet taken hold, switching to a low-carb or ketogenic diet increases brain activity, the researchers found.

Professor Lilianne R. Mujica-Parodi, the study’s first author, said:

“What we found with these experiments involves both bad and good news.

The bad news is that we see the first signs of brain aging much earlier than was previously thought.

However, the good news is that we may be able to prevent or reverse these effects with diet, mitigating the impact of encroaching hypometabolism by exchanging glucose for ketones as fuel for neurons.”

The scientists examined almost 1,000 brain scans of people aged 18 to 88.

The results showed that communication between areas of the brain starts to break down when people approach their 50s.

The most rapid deterioration of the brain happened around 60-years-old.

This destabilisation was linked to worse cognition and accelerating insulin resistance.

However, further experiments showed that changing to a ketogenic diet can retard or even reverse the process of brain aging.

Professor Mujica-Parodi said:

“We think that, as people get older, their brains start to lose the ability to metabolize glucose efficiently, causing neurons to slowly starve, and brain networks to destabilize.

Thus, we tested whether giving the brain a more efficient fuel source, in the form of ketones, either by following a low-carb diet or drinking ketone supplements, could provide the brain with greater energy.

Even in younger individuals, this added energy further stabilized brain networks.”

A low-carb, or ketogenic diet works by providing more energy to cells in the form of ketones than glucose.

Ketones provide more energy, said Professor Mujica-Parodi:

“This effect matters because brain aging, and especially dementia, are associated with “hypometabolism,” in which neurons gradually lose the ability to effectively use glucose as fuel.

Therefore, if we can increase the amount of energy available to the brain by using a different fuel, the hope is that we can restore the brain to more youthful functioning.”

The study was published in the journal PNAS (Mujica-Parodi et al., 2020).

The Food That Stops The Brain Shrinking

Normally people’s brains shrink by about 5 percent every decade after the age of 40.

Normally people’s brains shrink by about 5 percent every decade after the age of 40.

Eating fish can slow down the brain’s shrinkage with age, new research finds.

Normally people’s brains shrink by about 5 percent every decade after the age of 40.

One or two servings of baked or broiled fish per week, though, counteract the effects of air pollution, which is one factor that tends to shrink the brain faster.

Fish must be baked or broiled, though, as frying fish destroys the vital omega-3 fatty acids.

A previous study has found that people who eat baked or broiled fish have, on average, 4.3 percent larger brain volumes in the areas responsible for memory and 14 percent larger volumes in areas responsible for cognition.

Dr Ka He, the study’s first author, said:

“Fish are an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids and easy to add to the diet.

Omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to fight inflammation and maintain brain structure in aging brains.

They have also been found to reduce brain damage caused by neurotoxins like lead and mercury.

So we explored if omega-3 fatty acids have a protective effect against another neurotoxin, the fine particulate matter found in air pollution.”

The study included 1,315 women who were asked about their diet, medical history and physical activity.

Brain scans showed that women with higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids had higher brain volume.

In fact, the more fish they ate, the bigger were their brains.

An area of the brain critical for memory, the hippocampus, was also larger in those who ate more fish.

Dr He said:

“Our findings suggest that higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids in the blood from fish consumption may preserve brain volume as women age and possibly protect against the potential toxic effects of air pollution.

It’s important to note that our study only found an association between brain volume and eating fish.

It does not prove that eating fish preserves brain volume.

And since separate studies have found some species of fish may contain environmental toxins, it’s important to talk to a doctor about what types of fish to eat before adding more fish to your diet.”

The study was published in the journal Neurology (Chen et al., 2020).

The Juice That Improves Brain Health And Blood Pressure

The juice reduced blood pressure by an average of five points.

The juice reduced blood pressure by an average of five points.

Drinking beetroot juice can help improve brain health and reduce blood pressure, new research finds.

Beetroot juice is rich in inorganic nitrate, like other foods including celery, spinach and lettuce.

Nitrate is turned into nitric oxide in the mouth, which helps regulate blood vessels and neurotransmitters.

With age, though, people tend to have a lower production of nitric oxide and this is linked to worse brain health and higher blood pressure.

For the study, researchers gave 26 people aged 70- to 80-years-old nitrate-rich beetroot juice to drink twice a day.

Compared with another period when they had a placebo drink, the beetroot juice reduced blood pressure by an average of five points.

Professor Anni Vanhatalo, the study’s first author, said:

“We are really excited about these findings, which have important implications for healthy aging.

Previous studies have compared the oral bacteria of young and older people, and healthy people compared to those with diseases, but ours is the first to test nitrate-rich diet in this way.

Our findings suggest that adding nitrate-rich foods to the diet—in this case via beetroot juice—for just ten days can substantially alter the oral microbiome (mix of bacteria) for the better.

Maintaining this healthy oral microbiome in the long term might slow down the negative vascular and cognitive changes associated with aging.”

The researchers looked at how the bacteria in the mouth changed after supplementation with beetroot juice.

The results showed that bacteria linked to lower inflammation increased after supplementation.

Now the researchers want to look at other age-groups, Professor Vanhatalo said:

“Our participants were healthy, active older people with generally good blood pressure.

Dietary nitrate reduced their blood pressure on average, and we are keen to find out whether the same would happen in other age groups and among people in poorer health.

We are working with colleagues in the University of Exeter Medical School to investigate interactions between the oral bacteria and cognition to better understand the how diet could be used to delay cognitive decline in older age.”

Foods high in nitrate

Apart from beetroot, celery, spinach and lettuce, other foods with very high levels of nitrate include rocket, chervil and cress.

Foods with high levels of nitrate include fennel, leek, parsley and celeriac.

Cabbages and turnips also have moderate levels of nitrate.

The study was published in the journal Redox Biology (Vanhatalo et al., 2021).

8 Signs of Healthy Brain Aging (M)

Healthy brain aging can be accomplished with a combination of mental and social engagement, good nutrition and physical activity.

Healthy brain aging can be accomplished with a combination of mental and social engagement, good nutrition and physical activity.


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