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Surprising Science

Good Food, Good Cognition

A study that looked at biomarkers in the blood to correlate vitamins and brain function found very clear links between nutrition and brain health, says Alice Walton at the Atlantic. 

What’s the Latest Development?

A new study links good nutrition with good cognitive performance, presenting exciting new evidence that cognitive decline could be slowed in old age by simply altering one’s diet. By looking at biomarkers in the blood of the study’s 104 participants, researchers sought an objective measure of health before beginning cognitive tests. “People who had higher levels of B family vitamins, as well as vitamins C, D, and E had higher scores on cognitive tests than people with lower levels,” reported researchers.

What’s the Big Idea?

Obviously there are other determiners of cognitive function than nutrition. What’s unique about this study is that scientists were able to determine how large a role nutrition plays in thinking and memory: “They found that nutrient biomarkers accounted for 17 percent of the variation in the tests of thinking and memory function. Other variables, like age, education, and having high blood pressure accounted for more: 46 percent. But for brain volume, the role of nutrition was larger, accounting for 37 percent of the variation.”

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