Nutrition Health Review

FALL 2017

Nutrition Health Review provides consumers updates on the latest medical research, news, trends, and products in nutrition and healthy living.

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16 N u t r i t i o n H e a l t h Rev i ew human brains support the existence of this restoraƟve effect, and a separate study including paƟents with Alzheimer's disease showed increased fluidity in the hippocampal cell membranes. It is speculated that this increased membrane fluidity can aid in neurotransmission, neuroplasƟcity, and neuroprotecƟon. 1 In one study, paƟents with age- associated memory impairment were given a high dose of piracetam, a moderate dose, or a placebo, and were enrolled in memory training to observe the effects, if any, that piracetam would have on memory. The paƟents receiving the highest dose of piracetam saw the greatest improvement in their scores, and the paƟents on the moderate dose saw greater improvements in their scores than the placebo group. 2 Further, studies have shown that piracetam has the potenƟal to prevent cogniƟve deterioraƟon. In one such study, paƟents with early Alzheimer's disease were given either piracetam or a placebo and were assessed using 14 different cogniƟve tests. AŌer one year, no improvement occurred in either group, but paƟents taking piracetam deteriorated on only one of the 14 tests, while paƟents taking the placebo deteriorated on nine out of the 14. 3 Many other studies exist on an extensive list of nootropics, but many of these studies haven't been conducted directly on humans or are too small to establish steadfast evidence of efficacy. Many of these studies conclude by calling for more extensive research, not only on their potenƟal benefits but also their adverse effects, as many nootropics come with a variety of reported side effects. 4 While the concept of cogniƟon-enhancing drugs for healthy individuals is an exciƟng development to monitor for the future, it's clear that much more research needs to be conducted on nootropics before they can be widely and safely recommended. However, there are several science-backed ways that healthy adults can improve their cogniƟve performance without these supplements. EFFECTS OF EXERCISE ON NEUROPLASTICITY A review of studies, wriƩen in 2011, discussed the benefits exercise can have on cogniƟon in healthy adults. According to the review, convergent evidence from studies conducted on both humans and animals shows that physical acƟvity facilitates neuroplasƟcity, or the brain's ability to form and reorganize synapƟc connecƟons. This enhanced neuroplasƟcity can improve cogniƟve funcƟons such as focus and memory. The review noted that for these cogniƟve benefits to be sustained over a long period of Ɵme, the increase in cardiovascular fitness achieved from physical exercise must be maintained through consistent, habitual exercise. 5 WHICH TYPE OF EXERCISE IS BEST FOR THE BRAIN? A post from the New York Times (NYT) online wellness blog discussed which exercise, including steady aerobic, strength training, Convergent evidence from studies conducted on both humans and animals show that physical activity facilitates neuroplasticity, or the brain's ability to form and reorganize synaptic connections.

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