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New Breakthroughs In Memory Research by Dr. Joseph Mercola

New studies in memory research are providing exciting clues about memory loss and how to prevent it.

Distractions Rather Than Attention

One study shows that the short-term memory problems that generally accompany aging are more a matter of an inability to filter out distractions than problems with focusing attention.

Young adults aged 19 to 30 were compared with older adults aged 60 to 77, using a simple memory test that introduced irrelevant information. The tests were conducted while the subjects were being scanned using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) so that activity in the brain could be pinpointed.

Brain Activity Measured

While the younger subjects were able to suppress brain activity in areas that process irrelevant information, older adults were generally unable to suppress the distracting information. However, both groups had similar brain activity in the areas dealing with information relevant to the task.

This could be the key to many cognitive problems accompanying aging. Now that areas of the brain that are markers for focusing and ignoring visual information have been identified, it may be possible to use this knowledge to better assess therapies designed to treat cognitive disorders.

How Fish Oil Works

In other memory-related news, scientists have discovered the mechanism by which the omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oils can help protect the brain against the cognitive decline associated with Alzheimer's disease.

Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) -- the most important of the omega-3 fats -- reduces the levels of a protein known to cause damage in the brains of Alzheimer's patients. They also discovered that a derivative of the fatty acid called neuroprotectin D1 (NPD1) is formed in the human brain, and is essential in protecting against brain cell death.

Some 4.5 million Americans currently have Alzheimer's disease.If no cure is found, as many as 16 million could have the disease by 2050.

EurekAlert September 11, 2005Journal of Clinical Investigation September 8, 2005Yahoo News September 9, 2005

Dr. Mercola's Comment:

Interestingly, six of the 16 older adults in the first study had no problems ignoring the irrelevant information.Some people are able to avoid memory loss as they age. The new information about omega-3 acids may hint at some of the reasons why.

It's important to understand that memory problems and Alzheimer's disease are not the inevitable effects of aging. They are preventable illnesses, and there are ways to reduce your chances of getting them.

Perhaps those seniors who possessed optimal memory skills are following many of the safe and natural guidelines I recommend to prevent Alzheimer's disease. Here area few definitely worth considering:

<UL><LI>Consume a high-quality fish or cod liver oil daily. <LI>Eat a nutritious diet, while increasing your intake of fresh vegetables high in folate. <LI>Start an exercise program today! <LI>Challenge your mind. <LI>Avoid and remove mercury from your body. <LI>Try Wild Blueberry IQ, made from wild blueberries, which have high anthocyanin and antioxidant content that are known to guard against Alzheimer's and other neurological diseases.</LI></UL>

It is clear that animal-based omega-3 fats, NOT plant-based ones like flax seeds, provide the benefits.

As I write this,I amlooking out of my home in Chicago andI can see flocks of geese flying south. This is a major clue that winter is fast approaching and that the amount of available UV light to convert cholesterol in your skin to vitamin D is also decreasing.

So that means it is time to consider switching your source of omega-3 to cod liver oil. I am going to hold off a bit as I have been good this summer and have been able to get outdoors.I have had plenty of sun exposure so my vitamin D levels are just about perfect. The best way to know when to switch would be to get your blood level checked. But if you are not getting sun exposure, then that becomes a moot issue and you really do want to consider cod liver oil.

About the Author
This article is reprinted from Mercola.com, the world's #1 most visited and trusted natural/alternative health website. For a limited time only, you can take the FREE "Metabolic Type Test" to help you learn the right foods for your particular body type so you can achieve optimal fitness & health. Just go to www.Mercola.com right now to take this quick test!


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