Biogen’s new Alzheimer’s drug, lecanemab, has been making headlines recently. But that’s not the only good news on the dementia front. Far from there. Some might even say that we are making as much, if not more, progress outside of drug labs than inside.
I’ve written before about the power of walking, crossword puzzles, and meditation to lower your risk of dementia. Now here is some new research from Rush University Medical Center in Chicago that is great news.
A long and detailed study of nearly 1,000 older people found that those who ate certain foods in their diets — those that contain certain natural compounds called flavonols — were less likely to develop dementia. Seriously less likely.
“The highest quintile of flavonol intake…compared to the lowest is associated with a 32% reduction in the rate of cognitive decline,” says Dr. Thomas Holland, physician and professor at Rush Medical College, who led the study. ‘study. His study reports that flavonol consumption was “associated with a slower decline in global cognition, episodic memory, semantic memory, perceptual speed, and working memory.”
What really matters, of course, is: what foods are we talking about?
I can already hear a collective moan from Long Beach to Long Island when I point out that, yes, kale is on the list. So is broccoli. But there are also happier foods. Drinking tea is great for you: it contains many essential flavonols. Tomatoes, apples, spinach and beans all make the list.
If I can eat kale and spinach, anyone can. (Although I admit I draw the line at broccoli.)
When I was a kid, I had to eat that awful “creamed spinach” thing, and it put me off for decades. It wasn’t until people started putting spinach in salads that I tried again. Now I love raw spinach and it’s a fabulous ingredient in wraps.
As for kale: I learned that the best way to consume it is in a juice. (Cue the kale, cucumber, celery, apple, and ginger juice.) This way, you can eliminate all of your kale intake for the day in 2 minutes. Oh boy, does that wake you up.
If you start your day drinking kale juice, trust me: the only way is up.
Read also : Eating 400 calories a day from these foods could increase your risk of dementia by more than 20%
Researchers admit they “don’t fully understand” how flavonols fight cognitive decline, but the compounds have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. And in typical scientific fashion, they are reluctant to assert causation until they can see the process. But while they can’t yet “prove” that these foods slow cognitive decline, those who ate a lot of them had a much slower decline.
The study was part of Rush University’s Memory & Aging Project. Subjects were recruited from retirement communities and public housing for the elderly in the Chicago area. They were studied over an average period of about seven years each. Some have been studied for 14 years. As part of the study, they each subject subjects to a battery of 19 different memory and cognition tests each year. In addition, of course, to asking them about their food intake of 144 different foods. The subjects ranged in age from 58 to 100 years old and had an average age of 81 years.
Two caveats: it turns out that 75% of the respondents were women and almost all of them were Caucasian.
Scientific progress on drugs and treatments for Alzheimer’s disease has been painfully slow – and heartbreakingly slow for anyone whose family or friends are slowly being wiped out by the disease. The field has even been hit by a crisis this year, with serious questions about the reliability of a key study conducted 15 years ago.
BIIB from Biogen,
new drug lecanemab (developed in partnership with the Japanese pharmaceutical company Eisai ESALY,
has shown benefits in a phase 3 study. Results so far suggest it may slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease by up to 27%.
So: new drug, 27%. Tea, apple and spinach? Maybe 32%.
Experts say we are probably decades away from stopping this disease, let alone curing it.
The good news about non-pharmaceutical treatments is that we don’t have to wait. They are available today. And they are cheap or free.
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Eating these simple foods can slow Alzheimer’s disease by a third – CNET
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