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Can our diet dictate long-term brain health?

Can our diet dictate long-term brain health?

As the U.S. population ages, the specter of Alzheimer's disease becomes greater than ever. This neurodegenerative condition already affects one in eight older Americans, and research has indicated that signs of memory loss are presenting themselves among people as young as 50. In light of this looming threat, researchers have been working feverishly to understand the mechanisms behind this condition and how promoting nutrition for the brain may counter its development.

One positive development in the fight against Alzheimer's disease is that diagnostics have improved dramatically in recent years. This paves the way for early intervention in the form of brain support supplements and lifestyle alterations, but it still remains unclear which techniques are most effective. Recently, ScienceDaily reported on an investigation into diet-based approaches to Alzheimer's prevention.

"With the development of early diagnostics of [Alzheimer's disease], the question of which treatments to offer to completely healthy people with an increased risk of developing Alzheimer's becomes of key importance in the field of medicine. Various dietary treatments seem a promising alternative," the source states.

Researchers from University of Eastern Finland, with support from the European Union, used an animal model to analyze how nutritional compounds linked to brain health – including the omega-3 fatty acid DHA – may affect the risk of this cognitive decline. Ultimately, they established a link between DHA consumption and memory support, though further research is necessary to confirm this benefit. Overall, the biggest takeaway from the study was that long-term changes in diet, even on a small scale, may have the potential to stem the tide of Alzheimer's disease and other types of dementia.

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