Dementia And Death Linked To This Widespread Vitamin Deficiency

Blood levels of this vitamin should be routinely monitored as deficiency is linked to dementia and early death.

Blood levels of this vitamin should be routinely monitored as deficiency is linked to dementia and early death.

Older people with low blood levels of folate (vitamin B9) are 68 percent more likely to develop dementia and have a higher rate of death from any cause.

Serum folate levels with aging tend to decline, with studies showing one-in-five older adults is deficient.

Therefore, concentrations of folate should be regularly measured to prevent deficiency or correct the issue.

Folate deficiency could harm cognitive function and nerve signalling in the brain, leading to dementia in later life.

However, only a few studies have looked at the idea of low folate as a risk factor for dementia.

The condition takes time to progress and so it has been difficult to prove if folate deficiency is a consequence of dementia or vice versa.

Folate deficiency and dementia

For this reason, a research team examined the association between folate deficiency and increased risk of dementia, as well as likelihood of dying from any cause.

They analysed 27,188 medical records of adults aged 60 to 75 with no history of dementia and followed them for 10 years.

Nearly 13 percent of participants were low in folate, a serum level below 4.4 ng/ml.

The results showed that folate deficient people were at a greater risk of dementia and more likely to die from any cause.

After eliminating factors such as taking folic acid supplements, vitamin B12 deficiency, diabetes, cognitive decline, depression, and smoking, folate deficiency increased the risk of dementia by 68 percent and tripled the odds of dying from any cause.

The authors explain that folate deficiency can elevate the levels of an amino acid called homocysteine.

High levels of homocysteine can damage blood vessels and so reduce blood flow to the brain, leading to vascular dementia.

The process causes oxidative damage to DNA and makes brain cells age quickly and die.

The authors concluded:

“Serum concentrations of folate may function as a biomarker used to modify the risks of dementia and mortality in old age.

The implications for public health policy appear to be to reliably monitor serum concentrations of folate in older adults and treat deficiency for preventative measures and/or as part of implemented therapeutic strategies while regularly reviewing patients’ clinical outcomes.”

A study suggests that both low and high levels of folate are linked to autism, a neurodevelopmental disorder, the signs of which include repetitive or unusual behaviour, social impairment, and abnormal communication.

The study was published in the journal Evidence Based Mental Health (Rotstein et al., 2022).

MIND Diet Is One Of 5 Changes That Reduce Alzheimer’s Risk by 60%

Following four of the five lifestyle factors reduced Alzheimer’s risk by 60 percent, the study found.

Following four of the five lifestyle factors reduced Alzheimer’s risk by 60 percent, the study found.

Making four out of five critical lifestyle changes can reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s by 60 percent, research finds.

Alzheimer’s is the most common form of dementia: one-in-ten Americans over the age of 65 has the devastating disease.

The behaviours are limiting alcohol intake, a high-quality diet, exercise for brain and body and not smoking:

  1. A high quality diet involves eating something like the MIND diet.
  2. Giving up smoking — even after 60 — benefits physical and cognitive health.
  3. 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise is a good weekly target.
  4. Limit alcohol to light or moderate intake. In the US, moderate drinking is no more than 2 standard drinks per day for men and 1 for women (i.e. 2 glasses of wine for men and 1 for women).
  5. Keep the mind active with intellectually engaging tasks, such as hobbies or social activities.

Even following just two or three of these lifestyle changes is linked to reducing Alzheimer’s risk by 37 percent.

However, the more lifestyle factors people adhere to, the lower their risk of dementia.

Dr Richard J. Hodes, Director of the National Institute on Aging, said:

“This observational study provides more evidence on how a combination of modifiable behaviors may mitigate Alzheimer’s disease risk.

The findings strengthen the association between healthy behaviors and lower risk, and add to the basis for controlled clinical trials to directly test the ability of interventions to slow or prevent development of Alzheimer’s disease.”

The study included 1,845 people from whom data on diet, lifestyle factors, genetics and cognitive function was collected.

Following four of the five lifestyle factors reduced Alzheimer’s risk by 60 percent, the study found.

Dr Dallas Anderson, who also works at the NIA, said:

“This population-based study helps paint the picture of how multiple factors are likely playing parts in Alzheimer’s disease risk.

It’s not a clear cause and effect result, but a strong finding because of the dual data sets and combination of modifiable lifestyle factors that appear to lead to risk reduction.”

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

These Supplements Slow Cognitive Decline By 60%

Participants who took the supplements for three years had brains that were almost two years younger.

Participants who took the supplements for three years had brains that were almost two years younger.

Taking a daily multivitamin slows cognitive decline by 60 percent, a study shows.

Participants who took the multivitamin for three years had brains that were almost two years younger.

The multivitamin was particularly useful for those suffering from cardiovascular disease.

People with cardiovascular disease are at a higher risk of cognitive impairment.

Professor Laura D. Baker, the study’s first author, said:

“There’s an urgent need for safe and affordable interventions to protect cognition against decline in older adults.”

The conclusions come from a study of over 2,000 people aged over 65.

The study tested the effects of a multivitamin versus a control group, as well as cocoa extract.

Professor Baker explained the results:

“Our study showed that although cocoa extract did not affect cognition, daily multivitamin-mineral supplementation resulted in statistically significant cognitive improvement.

This is the first evidence of cognitive benefit in a large longer-term study of multivitamin supplementation in older adults.”

There are several micronutrients that are required for healthy body and brain function that may be deficient in older adults.

This might explain the study’s findings.

Professor Baker, though, was cautious:

“It’s too early to recommend daily multivitamin supplementation to prevent cognitive decline.

While these preliminary findings are promising, additional research is needed in a larger and more diverse group of people.

Also, we still have work to do to better understand why the multivitamin might benefit cognition in older adults.”

The study was published in the journal Alzheimer’s & Dementia (Baker et al., 2022).

Canola Oil Linked To Alzheimer’s Disease

Canola oil, known as rapeseed oil in the UK, was linked to poor learning, weight gain and possibly Alzheimer’s.

Canola oil, known as rapeseed oil in the UK, was linked to poor learning, weight gain and possibly Alzheimer’s.

Canola oil — a widely used vegetable oil — has been linked to memory problems and possibly Alzheimer’s disease by research.

One of the most widely consumed oils in the world, relatively little is known about canola oil’s effect on health.

The study, though, from Temple University in the US, showed canola oil was linked to poor learning and weight gain in a mouse model.

The findings are in contrast to extra virgin olive oil which studies find is beneficial for brain health.

Professor Domenico Praticò, Director of the Lewis Katz School of Medicine at Temple University, said:

“Canola oil is appealing because it is less expensive than other vegetable oils, and it is advertised as being healthy.

Very few studies, however, have examined that claim, especially in terms of the brain.”

Canola oil and Alzheimer’s

The study compared mice on a normal diet with those given a human-equivalent dose of two teaspoons a day.

After 12 months the mice fed canola oil weighed more and had memory problems.

Their brain tissue also revealed lower levels of amyloid beta 1-40.

Dr. Praticò explained that low levels of this protein are bad for the brain:

“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.

In our model, this change in ratio resulted in considerable neuronal damage, decreased neural contacts, and memory impairment.”

Dr. Praticò continued:

“Even though canola oil is a vegetable oil, we need to be careful before we say that it is healthy.

Based on the evidence from this study, canola oil should not be thought of as being equivalent to oils with proven health benefits.”

Previous similar studies have shown that olive oil is beneficial for brain health.

Dr. Praticò is hoping to test the effects of canola oil on other neurodegenerative diseases:

“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.”

The study was published in the journal Scientific Reports (Lauretti et al., 2017).

How To Prevent Brain Shrinking With Age

Normally people’s brains shrink by about 5% every decade after the age of 40 but this could be prevented.

Normally people’s brains shrink by about 5% every decade after the age of 40 but this could be prevented.

Exercise increases brain size and so may help stop brain shrinkage with age, a study finds.

In some of the best evidence to date, exercise was shown to increase the size of the hippocampus, a brain structure critical for memory and other functions.

So far, studies have mostly shown the connection between exercise and brain size in rodents.

Shrinking brain size

Researchers followed people aged 24 to 76 for up to two years in a range of separate studies.

They looked at the effects of walking, cycling, treadmill running and general aerobic exercise.

Most people did around 2-5 sessions per week.

The results showed that left hippocampul volume was increased in people who exercised.

Dr Joseph Firth, the study’s first author, said:

“When you exercise you produce a chemical called brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), which may help to prevent age-related decline by reducing the deterioration of the brain.

Our data showed that, rather than actually increasing the size of the hippocampus per se, the main ‘brain benefits’ are due to aerobic exercise slowing down the deterioration in brain size.

In other words, exercise can be seen as a maintenance program for the brain.”

Preventing brain shrinking with age is possible

The study reviewed 14 separate clinical trials, including brain scans from 737 people.

This is some of the most definitive evidence yet published of the beneficial effects of exercise on brain health.

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

Exercise is one of the few interventions proven to slow this process down.

The study was published in the journal NeuroImage (Firth et al., 2018).

Loss Of Smell Is An Early Sign of Dementia

Loss of smell is an early sign of dementia because the the olfactory bulb is one of the first brain regions to be affected by dementia.

Loss of smell is an early sign of dementia because the the olfactory bulb is one of the first brain regions to be affected by dementia.

Losing your sense of smell is an early sign of dementia, research finds.

Almost all the people in the research who could not identify any of five common smells went on to develop dementia within five years.

Those who could not name four out of five common smells, had twice the risk of developing dementia in the next five years.

Professor Jayant M. Pinto, who led the research, said:

“These results show that the sense of smell is closely connected with brain function and health.

We think smell ability specifically, but also sensory function more broadly, may be an important early sign, marking people at greater risk for dementia.”

Professor Pinto continued:

“We need to understand the underlying mechanisms, so we can understand neurodegenerative disease and hopefully develop new treatments and preventative interventions.

Loss of the sense of smell is a strong signal that something has gone wrong and significant damage has been done.

This simple smell test could provide a quick and inexpensive way to identify those who are already at high risk.”

Loss of smell and dementia study

The researchers used a tool called “Sniffin’Sticks”, which look like a normal marker pen.

They found that out of almost 3,000 people aged 57 – 85, 78.1% could identify four or five out of five of the smells.

Other studies have also shown that loss of sense of smell is linked to dementia.

It is because the part of the brain that deals with smell (the olfactory bulb) is one of the first to be affected by dementia.

Professor Pinto said:

“Our test simply marks someone for closer attention.

Much more work would need to be done to make it a clinical test.

But it could help find people who are at risk.

Then we could enroll them in early-stage prevention trials.

Of all human senses, smell is the most undervalued and underappreciated – until it’s gone.”

The study was published in the  Journal of the American Geriatrics Society (Adams et al., 2017).

Six Minutes To Better Memory: Exercise Boosts BDNF And Resists Brain Aging

Just six minutes of exercise improves memory while reducing the risk of Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease.

Just six minutes of exercise improves memory while reducing the risk of Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease.

The reward for doing 6 minutes of high-intensity workout is a brain that is more resilient to aging, Alzheimer’s disease, and Parkinson’s disease.

According to a study, short intervals of vigorous exercise improve the production of a protein involved in brain function related to memory, learning, and flexibility.

Our brain has the ability to learn, adapt, and function through a process known as neuroplasticity.

Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) is the particular protein that boosts neuroplasticity and protects neurons.

Past research has suggested that higher levels of BDNF enhance memory storage, memory formation, improve learning processes, and increase cognitive function.

BDNF’s capability of protecting nerve cells has encouraged researchers to find out if this protein can slow brain aging.

Mr Travis Gibbons, the study’s first author, said:

“BDNF has shown great promise in animal models, but pharmaceutical interventions have thus far failed to safely harness the protective power of BDNF in humans.

We saw the need to explore non-pharmacological approaches that can preserve the brain’s capacity which humans can use to naturally increase BDNF to help with healthy aging.”

The team wanted to see if either calorie restriction or exercise or both have any effect on BDNF production.

For this, they compared the factors below to examine the solo and joint impacts:

  • 90 minutes of low-intensity cycling
  • Six minutes of high-intensity cycling intervals
  • Fasting for 20 hours
  • Fasting with exercise

Short but vigorous exercise appeared to be the most effective approach for elevating BDNF levels compared with light exercise or fasting with or without prolonged low-intensity workouts.

The 6-minute high-intensity workouts increased serum concentration of BDNF by five times.

Prolonged low-intensity cycling showed a slight increase in serum levels, from 336 pg/L to 390 pg/L, while fasting had no effect.

Such contrasting findings might be due to a cerebral substrate switch, the brain’s fuel source shifting from glucose to either ketone bodies or lactate.

It appears that the brain switches from glucose to lactate during exercise, leading to production of BDNF, while fasting causes an increase in ketone body delivery to the brain.

Platelets are tiny blood cells that store BDNF and exercise increased numbers of platelets by 20 percent compared to fasting.

The team also want to find out whether intermittent fasting with exercise would have a greater influence on BDNF and cognitive functions.

Mr Travis Gibbons, added:

“We are now studying how fasting for longer durations, for example up to three days, influences BDNF.

We are curious whether exercising hard at the start of a fast accelerates the beneficial effects of fasting.

Fasting and exercise are rarely studied together.

We think fasting and exercise can be used in conjunction to optimize BDNF production in the human brain.”

The study was published in the journal The Journal of Physiology (Gibbons et al., 2023).

Best Supplement To Improve IQ By 10%

Best IQ supplement for older adults with mild cognitive impairment (MCI).

Best IQ supplement for older adults with mild cognitive impairment (MCI).

Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) — an omega-3 fatty acid — can improve IQ by 10 percent, research finds.

People in the study, who were aged over 65, were given 2g/day of DHA for a year.

A control group was given a placebo of corn oil.

The high quality study involved 240 Chinese individuals.

Their IQ and other measures of cognitive function were tested after 6 and 12 months.

The study’s authors explain the results:

“…oral DHA supplementation (2 g/d) for 12 months beneficially affected global cognitive function, specifically participants’ performance on the Information and Digit Span tasks.”

Brain scans also revealed changes in the hippocampus, an area of the brain critical for memory.

The study’s authors write:

“The hippocampus is a critical brain region for memory formation and plays important roles in the consolidation of information from short-term memory to long-term memory and spatial navigation.


Our results suggest that 12-month DHA supplementation significantly increased hippocampus volume.

Notably, we observed a 6.13% volume increase in the left hippocampus, a 1.89% increase in the right hippocampus, and a 0.29% increase in total hippocampus.

Best supplement combination?

The use of omega-3 to prevent dementia has provided some mixed results.

B vitamins also seem to be important in warding off cognitive decline.

A recent study found that B vitamins combined with omega-3 can help slow mental decline in older people with memory problems.

The study’s first author, Dr Abderrahim Oulhaj explained the results:

‘We found that for people with low levels of Omega-3, the vitamin supplements had little to no effect.

But for those with high baseline Omega-3 levels, the B vitamins were very effective in preventing cognitive decline compared to the placebo.

Other studies, though, have been less positive about the benefits of omega-3 for cognitive decline.

It is likely that the combination of nutrients — including both B vitamins and omega-3 will turn out to be the crucial factor.

→ Related:

The study was published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease (Zhang et al., 2016).

The Personality Trait That Protects Against Brain Aging

Personality can help sustain thinking skills in the face of brain aging.

Personality can help sustain thinking skills in the face of brain aging.

A conscientious personality helps protect against brain aging, a study finds.

Conscientious people tend to be well-organised, self-disciplined and motivated for achievement.

People who are higher on this personality trait, which is one of the five major aspects of personality, tend to have greater cognitive resilience.

Cognitive resilience is the ability to maintain strong thinking skills despite deterioration in the brain that occurs naturally with age.

Dr Eileen Graham, the study’s first author, said:

“These findings provide evidence that it is possible for older adults to live with the neuropathology associated with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias while maintaining relatively healthy levels of cognitive function.”

In contrast, a neurotic personality can increase the risk of worse cognitive functioning, the research also found.

People who are neurotic tend to be moody, impulsive and anxious.

They also tend to have lower cognitive resilience, meaning they find it harder to resist the brain’s deterioration with age.

Dr Graham said:

“Our study shows personality traits are related to how well people are able to maintain their cognitive function in spite of developing neuropathology.

Since it is possible for personality to change, both volitionally and through interventions, it’s possible that personality could be used to identify those who are at risk and implement early interventions to help optimize function throughout old age.”

The results come from a study of 1,375 people whose brains were examined for damage after they died.

These results were compared to years of tests previously done on their psychological and cognitive functioning.

It is one of the first studies to show that personality can help people to sustain their thinking skills despite brain aging.

The study was published in The Journals of Gerontology: Series B (Graham et al., 2020).

Silent Strokes: The Cognitive Decline You Need To Know About

Silent strokes are early symptoms of damage to the blood vessels in the brain.

Silent strokes are early symptoms of damage to the blood vessels in the brain.

Becoming absentminded can be a clear sign of a silent stroke, research finds.

Silent strokes are early symptoms of damage to the blood vessels in the brain.

They are known as ‘silent’ as they do not cause lasting changes that are sometimes linked to strokes, such as problems speaking or moving.

However, older adults who notice they often become sidetracked or lose their train of thought could have had a silent stroke.

The study included 54 adults aged 55 to 80 who were at risk of a stroke.

Risk factors for a stroke include high blood pressure, cholesterol, diabetes and sleep apnea.

Mr Ayan Dey, the study’s first author, said:

“Our results indicate that in many cases of people who were at a higher risk of silent stroke and had one, they saw a notable difference in their ability to stay focused, even before symptoms became detectable through a neuropsychological test.

If a person feels this may be the case, concerns should be brought to a doctor, especially if the person has a health condition or lifestyle that puts them at a higher risk of stroke or heart disease.”

Although these strokes are called silent, they damage the brain’s white matter, which facilitates communication between regions.

This causes cognitive and memory issues.

Dr Brian Levine, study co-author, said:

“There are no effective treatments for Alzheimer’s disease, but brain vascular changes can be prevented or reduced through smoking cessation, exercise, diet and stress management, as well as keeping one’s blood pressure, diabetes and cholesterol under control.

With the right diagnosis, these interventions and lifestyle changes give older adults who are at risk for cognitive decline some options for maintaining brain health.”

Some people are able to continue functioning well even after experiencing brain damage.

Mr Dey said:

“The question that remains is whether overcoming these changes in the brain is a natural ability some people have or if this is something that can be built up over time.

If it’s something that can be developed, is it something we can train?”

The study was published in the journal Neurobiology of Aging (Dey et al., 2019).