Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Eat More, Remember Less

I used to think that you’d drink to forget. But a newly released study finds that if you eat too much, you’ll forget.

According to the American Academy of Neurology, “New research suggests that consuming between 2,100 and 6,000 calories per day may double the risk of memory loss, or mild cognitive impairment (MCI), among people age 70 and older”.

The news release states that ““We observed a dose-response pattern which simply means; the higher the amount of calories consumed each day, the higher the risk of MCI (mild cognitive impairment),” reported study author Yonas E. Geda, MD, MSc, with the Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale, Arizona and a member of the American Academy of Neurology.

My initial question was “is this a little difference or a big difference?” According to the press release, “The odds of having MCI more than doubled for those in the highest calorie-consuming group compared to those in the lowest calorie-consuming group. The results were the same after adjusting for history of stroke, diabetes, amount of education, and other factors that can affect risk of memory loss. There was no significant difference in risk for the middle group”.

Sounds like a big difference to me.

Unlike yesterday’s news about a study among seven patients, this study involved 1,233 people between the ages of 70 and 89 and free of dementia residing in Olmsted County, Minn.

Of course my first thought after reading this was something like, “”this isn’t for ME”. I mean, I love to eat veggies and granola and fruit and, yes, Homer’s Coffee Ice Cream when I need a treat. Since I’m not between the ages of 70 and 89, do I get a free pass?

The good news is Yonas was quoted as saying, “Cutting calories and eating foods that make up a healthy diet may be a simpler way to prevent memory loss as we age”.

Then I thought about Barbara Strauch and her observation that, over time, it’s really hard to get a clear picture of what you can do to improve brain performance.  It seems, however, that we getting a better understanding of how to screw-up brain performance – in this case by stuffing our pie-hole.

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