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36
Health
Pulse
Weightlifting can slow
dementia in seniors
A recent study shows that lifting weights and improving physical
strength can slow the advancement of dementia in seniors.
Over a six-month period, researchers at Vancouver Coastal Health
and the University of British Columbia observed 86 elderly
women with probable mild cognitive impairment. The women
exercised twice weekly and were divided into two groups: one
engaged in aerobic training, such as walking, while the other
did resistance training, such as lifting weights. Later, MRI scans
and cognitive testing showed that those who engaged in the
resistance training had improved executive cognitive functions
(the systems which control attention, memory, problem-solving
and decision-making), associative memory performance and
functional brain plasticity. Aerobic exercise did not produce
similar results.
Says researcher Teresa Liu-Ambrose, “What is key is that the
training will improve two processes that are highly sensitive to
the effects of aging and neurodegeneration – executive function
and associative memory – functions which are often impaired in
the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease.”
Fish consumption and
mercury exposure
Most Canadians don’t need to be concerned
about mercury exposure as a result of fish
consumption. In general, the types of fish that
are most popular in Canada are also relatively
low in mercury. However, there are some types
of fish that, if eaten too frequently, could result in
exposure to an unacceptable amount of mercury.
Most fish contain some of the long-chain
omega-3 fatty acids, eicosapentaenoic acid
(EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). Recent
evidence suggests that fish consumption and
the associated intake of EPA and DHA from fish
can maintain healthy heart function. Some types
of fish have higher levels of these beneficial
fatty acids than others. Fish and shellfish which
contain higher levels of these acids and are also
low in mercury include anchovy, capelin, char,
hake, herring, Atlantic mackerel, mullet, Pollock
(Boston bluefish), salmon, smelt, rainbow trout,
lake whitefish, blue crab, shrimp, clam, mussel
and oyster.
Health Canada has identified certain fish as being
of greater concern when it comes to mercury.
Predatory fish which eat lots of other fish for
food tend to contain higher levels of mercury.
These include fresh/frozen tuna, shark, swordfish,
marlin, orange roughy and escolar.
Canned tuna, especially canned
light tuna, is one of the most
popular types of fish for many
Canadians. The fish used
in canned tuna products
are generally younger
and smaller and have
significantly less mercury
than do fresh or frozen tuna.
However, for those who consume
large amounts of canned albacore tuna, there is
some potential for exposure to higher levels of
mercury than is considered acceptable.
For further information, read
Mercury in Fish
at
Source: Health Canada
Berries good for the
brain in women
Research shows that eating certain types of berries can ward off
dementia in women. The study team looked at data from 121,700
female nurses between 30 and 50 years of age, who were surveyed
every four years since 1980 about their eating habits.
The study, which was published in the Annals of Neurology,
showed that a high intake of berries rich in the organic compound
flavonoid – such as strawberries and blueberries – can delay
memory decline in older women by 2.5 years.
“Among women who consumed two or more servings of
strawberries and blueberries
each week, we saw a modest
reduction in memory
decline,” says
researcher
Elizabeth
Devore. “This
effect appears to
be attainable with
relatively simple dietary
modifications.”