New results from the largest-ever clinical trial of ginkgo biloba add to the mounting evidence that Americans who spend $250 million annually on the herbal supplement are probably wasting their money: Researchers conducting the Ginkgo Evaluation of Memory (GEM) study report that twice-daily doses of 120 milligrams of ginkgo extract did no better than a placebo in slowing older adults rate of cognitive decline. Earlier GEM findings had debunked ginkgos purported protective benefit against Alzheimers and overall dementia, as well as most cardiovascular benefits (see the February 2010 Healthletter).
Dehydration has long been known to compromise physical performance. Now, a new Tufts study provides insight into the effects of mild dehydration on young athletes, and possibly into the lives of people too busy to consume enough water daily. About 30 male and female Tufts students were assigned to either a dehydration group not given fluids during athletics, or a control group that was given water. Participants weighed in before and after athletics to assess body water loss. After athletic activity, participants underwent cognitive tests, which included short-term memory and mood scales.
Sitting in front of the tube munching salty snacks may be bad for your brain-and not just because of the dubious quality
Could trans fats be making you blue-and not just because of their dangerous effects on your heart health? A new Spanish study of more than 12,000 men and women reports that those consuming the highest level of trans fats were 48% more likely to suffer from depression. People consuming the most healthy poly- and monounsaturated fats, on the other hand, saw a lower incidence of depression
If youre not getting enough vitamin B12, your brain might actually be smaller
Feeling blue? Maybe the ancient Chinese practice of tai chi can help. Researchers at UCLA report that a gentle, Westernized version of tai chi, when paired with a standard depression drug among a group of depressed elderly adults, led to greater improvements in depression
Getting older doesnt have to mean sleeping poorly. Researchers who analyzed a survey of 155,877 Americans report that people
I s traffc pollution clouding your brain? Harvard researchers report that a doubling of exposure to black carbon-a marker for pollution from automotive exhaust-was associated with a 30% greater chance of scoring badly on a standard test for dementia. The poorer results, plus lower scores on a composite of six other tests of cognitive function, were the equivalent of adding almost two years to subjects age. Researchers analyzed data on 680 Boston-area men, average age 71, from the VA Normative Aging Study. The in- vestigators said this was the frst study to link traffc-related air pollution and cognition in older men, and only the second study of such a relationship in older adults. Tiny particles in exhaust, researchers suggested, might lodge in the brain, or could cause cardiovascular damage that in turn affects the brain.
offee may do more than merely perk you up in the morning: Over time, it might also reduce your risk of depression
Pumping iron might be good for your aging brain as well as your muscles, according to a new study of older