Fisetin: A Fruity Solution For Cognitive Decline

Fisetin has been extensively studied for its potential to improve brain health and cognitive function

Fisetin has been extensively studied for its potential to improve brain health and cognitive function.

A natural compound found in strawberries can reduce the mental effects of ageing.

The antioxidant fisetin, when given to mice, was found to reduce their mental decline with age and inflammation in their body.

Fisetin is also found in many other plants, such as apples, onions, cucumbers and persimmons.

Dr Pamela Maher, who led the research said:

“Companies have put fisetin into various health products but there hasn’t been enough serious testing of the compound.

Based on our ongoing work, we think fisetin might be helpful as a preventative for many age-associated neurodegenerative diseases, not just Alzheimer’s, and we’d like to encourage more rigorous study of it.”

Previous studies in the same lab have found that fisetin can reduce age-related memory loss.

The study was carried out on mice that had been genetically modified to be susceptible to Alzheimer’s disease.

Dr Maher said:

“Mice are not people, of course.

But there are enough similarities that we think fisetin warrants a closer look, not only for potentially treating sporadic AD but also for reducing some of the cognitive effects associated with aging, generally.”

The mice were given food with fisetin in it for 7 months and compared to a control group.

Dr Maher said:

“At 10 months, the differences between these two groups were striking.”

Those given the fisetin had hardly suffered any age-related deficits.

In general, fisetin has been extensively studied for its potential to improve brain health and cognitive function.

Like this one, some studies have shown that fisetin may have neuroprotective effects, helping to protect the brain from damage and reducing the risk of age-related cognitive decline.

It may also improve memory and cognitive performance in aging individuals.

Fruits that boost brain health

Some fruits have been shown to have potential benefits for brain health.

These include:

  1. Berries in general: rich in antioxidants that can help protect the brain from damage caused by free radicals.
  2. Avocados: contain healthy fats that can improve blood flow to the brain and support overall brain function.
  3. Citrus fruits: rich in Vitamin C, which may reduce inflammation in the brain and protect against cognitive decline.
  4. Apples: contain compounds that may protect brain cells and improve memory function.
  5. Tomatoes: contain the antioxidant lycopene, which has been shown to improve brain function and cognitive performance.

A balanced diet, including a variety of fruits is key to maintaining good brain health.

The study was published in the Journals of Gerontology Series A (Currais et al., 2017).

The Common Supplement That Slows Cognitive Decline

The supplement improved memory and learning function in comparison to the placebo group.

The supplement improved memory and learning function in comparison to the placebo group.

Taking docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) supplements may help slow cognitive decline, a study finds.

Taking 900 mg/d of DHA, the main omega-3 fatty acid in the brain, for six months helped study participants maintain their memory and overall cognitive health.

Omega-3 has also been linked to maintaining IQ levels with age and even reducing anxiety.

Other research has suggested that omega-3 needs to be combined with B vitamins to help the body combat mental decline.

Another study has suggested that taking a daily multivitamin slows cognitive decline by 60 percent.

Dr Duffy MacKay, commenting on the study, said:

“The results of this study are very encouraging for those consumers concerned about maintaining memory.

We know that lower DHA levels are associated with cognitive decline in healthy elderly and Alzheimer’s patients, and higher DHA levels help reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease.

Memory loss, dementia and the development of Alzheimer’s disease are prominent health concerns for older individuals.

The more we learn about the valuable role DHA plays in supporting brain function, the more options aging Americans have towards managing cognitive decline.”

The study included 485 people over 55-years-old who self-reported that they had memory problems.

They were randomly assigned to either take 900 mg/d of DHA for six months or to receive a placebo.

The results showed that the supplement improved memory and learning function in comparison to the placebo group.

Regular intake of DHA

Not all studies on omega-3 and cognitive function, however, have been positive.

For example, one study on people already diagnosed with Alzheimer’s showed no effect of DHA (Quinn et al., 2010).

Dr MacKay thinks this is because DHA needs to be taken regularly before the symptoms of cognitive decline become serious:

“This study reinforces the principle that consumers will reap the most benefit from their DHA supplements—and many supplements—when they are taken over time and before a health concern is imminent.

When included as a part of a proactive health regimen that includes a well-balanced diet, regular physical activity and routine visits with a healthcare professional, dietary supplements offer an important tool to help support many systems in the body, including memory and cognitive function.”

The study was published in the journal Alzheimer’s and Dementia (Yurko-Mauro et al., 2010).

7 Ways To Reduce Dementia Risk

7 psychology studies from the members-only section of PsyBlog that explain how research has found dementia risk can be reduced.

7 psychology studies from the members-only section of PsyBlog that explain how research has found dementia risk can be reduced.

Dementia is a broad term including a range of related diseases, the most common of which is Alzheimer’s.

People with dementia tend to have problems with thinking, reasoning and making decisions.

Dementia tends to affect older people but is not a normal part of aging.

So, below are 7 psychology studies from the members-only section of PsyBlog that explain how research has found dementia risk can be reduced.

(If you are not already, find out how to become a PsyBlog member here.)

  1. 3 Simple Lifestyle Changes To Reduce Dementia Risk
  2. The Habit That Could Reduce Alzheimer’s Risk By 25%
  3. The Best Way To Reduce Dementia Risk
  4. One Tasty Fruit That Reduces Alzheimer’s Risk
  5. How Sedentary Behaviours Affect Dementia Risk
  6. This Positive Belief May Protect Against Alzheimer’s Disease
  7. The Activity That Reverses Mild Cognitive Impairment


This Vitamin Provides Triple Protection Against Memory Loss

The memories of people with low levels of this vitamin decline three times faster.

The memories of people with low levels of this vitamin decline three times faster.

Low levels of vitamin D among older people are linked to memory loss, a study finds.

Those with low levels of vitamin D decline three times faster than those with adequate levels.

Professor Joshua Miller, one of the study’s authors, said:

“Independent of race or ethnicity, baseline cognitive abilities and a host of other risk factors, vitamin D insufficiency was associated with significantly faster declines in both episodic memory and executive function performance.

This work, and that of others, suggests that there is enough evidence to recommend that people in their 60s and older discuss taking a daily vitamin D supplement with their physicians.

Even if doing so proves to not be effective, there’s still very low health risk to doing it.”

The study included almost 400 older people and around 60% had low levels of vitamin D.

In fact, around one-quarter were found to be deficient (very low) and 35% insufficient (just low) in vitamin D.

African-Americans and Hispanics were more likely than white people to be low in vitamin D.

These are high-risk groups because those with darker skins cannot absorb as much from the sun.

The results showed that the cognitive abilities of people deficient in vitamin D declined two to three times faster than those with adequate levels.

Professor Charles DeCarli, the study’s first author and director of the Alzheimer’s Disease Center at the UC Davis, said:

“We expected to see declines in individuals with low vitamin D status.

What was unexpected was how profoundly and rapidly [low vitamin D] impacts cognition.”

The other major source of vitamin D is the diet — particularly consumption of dairy products.

Professor DeCarli said:

“I don’t know if replacement therapy would affect these cognitive trajectories.

That needs to be researched and we are planning on doing that.

This is a vitamin deficiency that could easily be treated and that has other health consequences.

We need to start talking about it.

And we need to start talking about it, particularly for people of color, for whom vitamin D deficiency appears to present an even greater risk.”

The study was published in the journal JAMA Neurology (DeCarli et al., 2015).

This Blood Type Linked to Memory Loss And Pre-Dementia In Later Life

Study of over 30,000 people finds link between a blood type and pre-dementia symptoms.

Study of over 30,000 people finds link between a blood type and pre-dementia symptoms.

People who have the blood type AB could be more likely to suffer memory loss with age, according to a study.

The relatively uncommon blood type, found in around 4 percent of people, has now been linked to memory and thinking problems with age.

The study, published in the journal Neurology, found that people with AB blood types were 82 percent more likely to develop the cognitive problems that can lead to dementia (Alexander et al., 2014).

Dr. Mary Cushman, a professor of haematology at the University of Vermont, who led the study, said:

“Our study looks at blood type and risk of cognitive impairment, but several studies have shown that factors such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes increase the risk of cognitive impairment and dementia.

Blood type is also related to other vascular conditions like stroke, so the findings highlight the connections between vascular issues and brain health.”

The study followed over 30,000 people for around three-and-a-half years.

Of these people, 495 developed memory and thinking problems during the course of the study.

They were compared with 587 people who did not evidence any cognitive problems.

Those with blood type AB should not worry unduly, however, in comparison to lifestyle and environmental effects, the influence of blood type is relatively small.

In other words: exercising regularly, eating well and avoiding smoking will likely have a much larger positive effect than the negative effect of blood type.

The researchers were also quick to caution that this is a preliminary finding that does not prove there is a causal link.

• Read on: 10 Ways to Prevent Alzheimer’s Disease


A Subtle Early Warning Sign Of Dementia

Dementia breaks down the brain’s ability to perform complex tasks, like this one.

Dementia breaks down the brain’s ability to perform complex tasks, like this one.

Being unable to understand sarcasm is an early warning sign of dementia, research finds.

Deterioration in key parts of the brain in neuro-degenerative diseases causes people to have problems spotting insincere communication.

Detecting lies and sarcasm is a relatively complex cognitive task.

It requires being able to simulate the other person’s mind and inferring what they must mean.

Those with dementia also find it hard to spot lies.

Dr Katherine Rankin, who led the study, said:

“These patients cannot detect lies.

This fact can help them be diagnosed earlier.”

Scientists are always looking for ways of spotting dementia earlier, as this is the key to better treatment.

The study involved 175 people, some of whom had neurodegenerative diseases.

They were shown videos of people talking, who were sometimes sarcastic or told lies.

People with frontotemporal dementia found it particularly difficult to spot the lies and sarcasm.

This could provide a useful early warning sign.

Dr Rankin said:

“If somebody has strange behavior and they stop understanding things like sarcasm and lies, they should see a specialist who can make sure this is not the start of one of these diseases.”

Other early warning symptoms of dementia include a change in sense of humour:

“Changes in sense of humour could be an early sign of dementia, a new study finds.

A shift to preferring slapstick humour — like Mr Bean — over satirical or absurdist comedy, such as Monty Python, could be an early sign of Alzheimer’s.

Friends and relatives of those with dementia reported seeing changes around nine years before the more typical memory problems.”

Another even more surprising sign of dementia is being unable to smell peanut butter.

The study was published in the journal Cortex (Shany-Ur et al., 2012).

Drug Reverses Alzheimer’s Memory Loss, Study Finds

The drug protected nerve cell functioning, reduced inflammation and nerve cell loss.

The drug protected nerve cell functioning, reduced inflammation and nerve cell loss.

A diabetes drug that includes three growth factors has reversed Alzheimer’s-related memory loss in mice.

This is not the first drug originally aimed at diabetes that may eventually help Alzheimer’s.

Type-2 diabetes is a risk factor for Alzheimer’s, and has been implicated in the disease’s progression.

Professor Christian Holscher, who led the study, said the drug…

“…holds clear promise of being developed into a new treatment for chronic neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease.”

Dr Doug Brown, Director of Research and Development at Alzheimer’s Society, said:

“With no new treatments in nearly 15 years, we need to find new ways of tackling Alzheimer’s.

It’s imperative that we explore whether drugs developed to treat other conditions can benefit people with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia.

This approach to research could make it much quicker to get promising new drugs to the people who need them.

Although the benefits of these ‘triple agonist’ drugs have so far only been found in mice, other studies with existing diabetes drugs such as liraglutide have shown real promise for people with Alzheimer’s, so further development of this work is crucial.”

The drug was tested on mice genetically engineered to suffer from Alzheimer’s.

The study found that the drug reduced amyloid plaques — protein build-ups linked to Alzheimer’s.

It also protected nerve cell functioning, reduced inflammation and nerve cell loss.

This is the first evidence that a so-called ‘triple receptor’ drug can be effective.

It uses three different growth factors — GLP-1, GIP and Glucagon — that target impaired signalling in Alzheimer’s patients.

Professor Holscher said:

“These very promising outcomes demonstrate the efficacy of these novel multiple receptor drugs that originally were developed to treat type 2 diabetes but have shown consistent neuro-protective effects in several studies.

Clinical studies with an older version of this drug type already showed very promising results in people with Alzheimer’s disease or with mood disorders.

Here we show that a novel triple receptor drug shows promise as a potential treatment for Alzheimer’s but further dose-response tests and direct comparisons with other drugs have to be conducted in order to evaluate if this new drug is superior to previous ones.”

The study was published in the journal Brain Research (Tai et al., 2018).

Researchers Reveal The Brain Foods That Reduce Your Dementia Risk

A version of the Mediterranean diet reduces memory loss and slows down brain shrinkage.

A version of the Mediterranean diet reduces memory loss and slows down brain shrinkage.

The green Mediterranean diet, which is plant-based and enriched with polyphenols and low in meat, appears to slow down age-related brain atrophy.

Although factors such as aging and obesity can cause shrinkage of the brain cells leading to cognitive decline and dementia, certain diets can help to prevent brain atrophy.

To test that, a clinical trial examined the impact of a high-polyphenol Mediterranean diet (GREEN-MED) on age-related brain atrophy.

The trial ran for 18 months involving 284 obese participants who were divided into three groups (healthy dietary guidelines, Mediterranean diet, and GREEN-MED) combined with aerobic exercise.

Participants also underwent whole-brain MRI scans at the start and end of the study.

All participants received physical activity (PA) programs and free gym membership.

Besides PA sessions, the healthy dietary guidelines group received regular nutritional counselling sessions promoting healthy diets.

The Mediterranean diet (MED) and the GREEN-MED groups had to follow a low calorie diet; 1200-1400 kcal per day for women and 1500-1800 kcal per day for men.

Their everyday diet was low in carbohydrates, rich in vegetables, including fish and poultry instead of red meat, and 28 grams of walnuts, containing 440 mg of polyphenols.

In addition to these, the GREEN-MED group drank 3 to 4 cups of green tea per day, and their dinner was a green shake of Mankai duckweed containing 800 mg of polyphenols.

The results showed that brain shrinkage was reduced significantly in those who followed either the MED or GREEN-MED diets.

The effect was even greater in the GREEN-MED group, particularly for those over age 50, suggesting the diet is neuroprotective.

The study’s authors wrote:

“The beneficial association between MED and age-related neurodegeneration might be partially explained by the abundance of polyphenols in plant-based food sources which have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory metabolites.

Polyphenols can cross the blood-brain barrier (BBB) reduce neuroinflammation and induce cell proliferation
and adult-onset neurogenesis in the hippocampus.”

The authors concluded:

“Our findings might suggest a simple, safe, and promising avenue to slow age-related neurodegeneration by adhering to a green-Mediterranean diet.”

A different study also found that the Green Med diet is better than the traditional Mediterranean diet since it reduces the odds of developing diabetes and heart disease even more.

The study was published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (Kaplan et al., 2022).

Dementia: 7 Risk Factors Most People Don’t Know

Around one-third of dementia cases are avoidable.

Around one-third of dementia cases are avoidable.

Half of all adults in the UK cannot identify a single risk factor for dementia, a survey reveals.

Many people surveyed thought dementia was inevitable, however it is possible to reduce the risk.

Around one-third of dementia cases are thought to be avoidable.

Six of the risk factors are:

  • high blood pressure,
  • heavy drinking,
  • genetics,
  • smoking,
  • depression,
  • and diabetes.

One of the main protective factors against dementia is exercise (lack of exercise being the seventh risk factor).

Sue Strachan, 63, who was diagnosed with vascular dementia in 2014, said:

“I wasn’t very fit when I was diagnosed with dementia and my GP advised me to take up exercise to try to manage my condition.

I do wish I’d started earlier, because good heart health can have such a positive impact on the brain.

I can see that society’s view of dementia is improving, but I still experience misunderstanding about the condition – not least that there’s nothing that can be done to help.

We must make sure people are informed about dementia, so they’re more likely to engage with advances in research that could make such a positive difference to people’s lives in future.”

Alzheimer’s Research UK surveyed 2,361 people about the risk factors for dementia.

Just over half knew someone with dementia.

Hilary Evans, chief executive of Alzheimer’s Research UK, said:

“It is a sad truth that more people are affected by dementia than ever before and half of us now know someone with the condition.

Dementia is the UK’s biggest killer but only half of people recognise it even causes death, and almost half of UK adults are unable to name one of seven known risk factors for dementia including smoking, high blood pressure and heavy drinking.”

→ Read on: 12 ways to prevent 40% of dementia cases.

The survey was conducted by Alzheimer’s Research UK.

MIND Diet: The 10 Brain Healthy Food Groups

Discover the 10 brain healthy food groups that make up the MIND diet — they can reduce Alzheimer’s disease risk by 35 percent.

Discover the 10 brain healthy food groups that make up the MIND diet — they can reduce Alzheimer’s disease risk by 35 percent.

The MIND diet could lower the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease by over 50 percent and improve your brain health, research finds.

The name ‘MIND diet’ comes from the fact that it is a combination of a Mediterranean diet and a diet developed for cardiovascular health (DASH: Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension).

Both of the diets have been linked to all sorts of benefits, including lower blood pressure, lower depression risk, reduced risk of hearth disease and diabetes.

The MIND diet components

There are 15 components to the MIND diet, 10 foods or types of foods to eat and five to avoid.

Here are the ten in the “brain-healthy food groups”:

  1. Green leafy vegetables: six servings per week of foods such as salads, cooked greens, spinach and kale.
  2. All other vegetables: eat another vegetable on top of green leafy vegetables at least once per day.
  3. Nuts: five servings per week of various types of nuts.
  4. Berries: twice a week eat berries such as strawberries, blueberries or raspberries.
  5. Beans: include soybeans and lentils and other types of bean in at least four meals per week.
  6. Whole grains: have three servings per day of foods like whole-wheat bread, whole-wheat pasta, quinoa, oatmeal and brown rice.
  7. Fish: Once a week have fish, preferably one that is high in omega-3 fatty acids, such as sardines, trout or salmon.
  8. Poultry: eat turkey or chicken at least once a week, but not fried.
  9. Olive oil: use this type of oil as your main cooking oil.
  10. Wine: have no more than one glass of white or red wine per day. Red wine may be better as research has linked its benefits to the compound resveratrol.

In short, the MIND diet involves trying to eat at least three servings of whole grains, one other vegetable, a salad and a glass of wine on most days.

Ideally, it includes beans on most days, snacking on nuts most days, poultry and berries twice a week and fish at least once a week.

Avoid these unhealthy foods

Along with the ten healthy food groups listed above, on the MIND diet it is important to avoid these five foods in the unhealthy group:

  1. Red meats: eat nor more than three servings per week of meats like pork, beef, lamb and anything made of these meats.
  2. Butter and stick margarine: have less than 1 tablespoon per day.
  3. Cheese: limit cheese consumption to once per week.
  4. Pastries and sweets: eat things like ice cream, donuts and candy no more than four times a week.
  5. Fried or fast food: less than once per week or preferably not at all.

In short, for the unhealthy foods, people are advised to limit their intake of fried or fast food, cheese or butter to no more than one serving a week for any of the three.

The reason is because these foods contain high levels of saturated fats and trans fats.

Research on the MIND diet

A range of studies have shown considerable benefits from following the MIND diet, even if not strictly.

One study tracked almost one thousand people for an average of 4.5 years to see whether they ate ‘brain healthy’ foods and if they developed Alzheimer’s disease (Morris et al., 2015).

The study did not get people to change their diet, it merely measured what they were already eating and tracked whether they developed Alzheimer’s disease.

Dr Martha Clare Morris, a nutritional epidemiologist and the study’s first author, said:

“One of the more exciting things about this is that people who adhered even moderately to the MIND diet had a reduction in their risk for AD [Alzheimer’s disease].”

Even people who only followed the diet ‘moderately’ saw a 35 percent reduction in risk.

The power of berries

Only one specific food (rather than a group) made the MIND diet.

Dr Morris said:

“Blueberries are one of the more potent foods in terms of protecting the brain.

And strawberries have also performed well in past studies of the effect of food on cognitive function.”

In fact, blackberries, blueberries and strawberries all reduce cognitive decline related to age, research finds (Devore et al., 2012).

All three fruits contain high levels of flavonoids.

Flavonoids are powerful antioxidants that can also help reduce inflammation in the brain and body.

The results showed that high berry intake was linked to a delay in cognitive ageing equivalent to 2.5 years.

In other words: berries made their brains work as though they were 2.5 years younger.

Blueberries in particular seem to have a powerful effect on the brain.

Strawberries also have other research backing up their protective effects, as do walnuts.

MIND diet improves brain health

Another more recent study has linked the MIND diet to better brain health and cognitive performance with age (Dhana et al., 2021).

People following the MIND diet benefit from it even when their brains are starting to fill with the tangles of proteins and amyloid plaques that are characteristic of Alzheimer’s disease.

Dr Klodian Dhana, the study’s first author, explained:

“Some people have enough plaques and tangles in their brains to have a postmortem diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease, but they do not develop clinical dementia in their lifetime.

Some have the ability to maintain cognitive function despite the accumulation of these pathologies in the brain, and our study suggests that the MIND diet is associated with better cognitive functions independently of brain pathologies related to Alzheimer’s disease.”

Mediterranean diet improves memory and thinking skills

A Mediterranean diet leads to improved memory and better thinking skills (Soldevila-Domenech et al., 2021).

This is on top of its known benefits to cardiovascular health.

The Spanish study tracked almost 500 people for three years.

All the people in the study were overweight or obese and had other related health problems, including high cholesterol and high blood pressure.

Along with helping people lose weight and improving their physical health, they also developed better memories and thinking skills.

A Mediterranean-like diet still effective

Even a Mediterranean-like diet helps to reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s, the most common form of dementia (Ballarini et al., 2021).

People who eat relatively higher amounts of vegetables, legumes, fish, fruit, cereals and olive oil are at a lower risk of the disease.

Similarly, consuming less red meat, saturated fatty acids and dairy products was also linked to a lower risk of the disease.

Those who ate something close to the Mediterranean diet were also less likely to suffer from brain shrinkage in vital areas.

The study helps show that even without following the Mediterranean diet strictly, it is still possible to get some benefits by eating something similar.

The results showed that people who regularly ate a Mediterranean-like diet performed better on memory tests.

The MIND diet delays Parkinson’s disease

Another study finds that following the Mediterranean or MIND diet delays the onset of Parkinson’s disease by more than a decade (Metcalfe‐Roach et al., 2020).

Parkinson’s is a long-term neurodegenerative disease that causes problems with movement, including a characteristic shaking.

The results of the study showed that women were particularly well protected by following the MIND diet.

Men were better protected from Parkinson’s by the Mediterranean diet.