Wednesday June 20, 2018

Study: Having More Friends can Improve Brain Health

Our research suggests that merely having a larger social network can positively influence the ageing brain

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Study: Having More Friends can Improve Brain Health
Study: Having More Friends can Improve Brain Health. Pixabay
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Having more friends and strong social connections may slow brain ageing, preserve the mind and improve the quality of life, new research suggests.

According to the study, brain function in the hippocampus–brain area associated with memory, emotions and motivation–markedly declines with age, even in the absence of dementia. Exercise and social ties are known to preserve memory in this region in people.

“Our research suggests that merely having a larger social network can positively influence the ageing brain,” said lead researcher Elizabeth Kirby from the Neurological Institute at Ohio State University-Columbus, the US.

In the study, published in the journal Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience, the team studied two groups of mice aged between 15-18 months for three months, when their natural memory declines.

While one group lived in pairs, which Kirby refers to as the “old-couple model”, the other group lived with six other roommates, a scenario that allowed for “complex interactions”.

Their memory was tested by making the mice recognise a toy, such as a plastic car which had been moved to a new location.

Representational image.
Representational image. Pixabay

The results showed that mice who were living in a group had better brain health and memory.

“With the pair-housed mice, they had no idea that the object had moved. The group-housed mice were much better at remembering what they’d seen before and went to the toy in a new location, ignoring another toy that had not moved,” Kirby said.

Further, examining the brain tissue of the mice showed increased inflammation in the pair-housed mice–a biological evidence of eroded cognitive health.

“The group-housed mice had fewer signs of this inflammation, meaning that their brains didn’t look as ‘old’ as those that lived in pairs,” Kirby said.

Future research should explore the molecular explanations for the connection between socialisation and improved memory and brain health, she noted. (IANS)

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Carb-Rich Diet May Affect Brain Health

Even small increases in blood sugar caused by a diet high in carbohydrates can be detrimental to brain health, shows new research

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Carb-rich diet may affect brain health.
Carb-rich diet may affect brain health. Pixabay

Even small increases in blood sugar caused by a diet high in carbohydrates can be detrimental to brain health, shows new research.

“Carbohydrate calories, which elevate blood glucose, are dramatically more detrimental to human physiology, and specifically to human health, than are calories derived from healthful sources of fat,” claimed David Perlmutter, a neurologist and fellow of the American College of Nutrition.

“We live with this notion that a calorie is a calorie, but at least in terms of brain health, and I believe for the rest of the body as well, there are very big differences between our sources of calories in terms of the impact on our health,” he explained.

Also Read: Less Brain Tissue not Behind Reading Disorder

Perlmutter would explore further how brain health and cognitive function are linked to nutrition, said his article published on the Alternative and Complementary Therapies website.

Recent reports in medical literature link carbohydrate calorie-rich diets to a greater risk for brain shrinkage, dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, impaired cognition and other disorders. (IANS)

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