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Seniors with type 2 diabetes may experience memory declines immediately after eating unhealthy meal
Date:6/25/2008

reenwood, a KLARU senior scientist at Baycrest.

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle that includes regular exercise, a low fat diet rich in antioxidants, and staying mentally active and socially engaged in a variety of activities, is the best medicine for optimizing cognitive health during the lifespan, she said.

The study

In the study, 16 adults (aged 50 years and older) with type 2 diabetes participated in an unblinded trial where they attended three weekly sessions that involved consuming a different test meal. One meal consisted of high fat products a danish pastry, cheddar cheese and yogurt with added whipped cream; the second meal consisted of only water consumption; and the third test meal was the high-fat meal plus high doses of vitamins C (1000 mg) and E (800 IU) tablets.

Fifteen minutes after starting meal ingestion, participants completed a series of neuropsychological tests lasting 90 minutes that measured their recall abilities for words they had heard and paragraph information they had read. These cognitive skills are associated with the brain's memory centre the hippocampus.

Researchers found that vitamin supplementation consistently improved recall scores relative to the meal alone. Participants who ate the high fat meal without vitamin supplements showed significantly more forgetfulness of words and paragraph information in immediate and time delay recall tests, relative to those who had the water meal or the meal with antioxidant vitamins. Those on water meal and meal with vitamins showed similar levels in cognitive performance.

Dr. Greenwood and medical student M.H. Chui emphasize that their findings require further replication in larger studies with more participants. Future studies will need to look at whether antioxidant vitamins are directly targeting oxidative stress reactions or triggering an independent memory-enhancing ability which is simply masking the detrimental effects.

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Contact: Kelly Connelly
kconnelly@baycrest.org
416-785-2432
Baycrest Centre for Geriatric Care
Source:Eurekalert

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