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What kinds of food are good for the brain?


Alan T. Richardson, M.D

This topic is one of the most exciting fields of neuroscience research at
present. Dr. Andrew Stoll, a psychopharmacologist and assistant professor
of psychiatry at the Harvard Medical School found in a 1998 study of
thirty bipolar patients that 10 grams of fish oil a day (EPA and DHA)
made such significant improvement after four months of a planned nine
month study that the study was stopped prematurely (65% improved versus
18% on placebo). A recent study of 41 Japanese students evaluated the
efficacy of fish oil in stress management. Tomohito Hamazaki and
colleagues at the Toyam Medical and Pharmaceutical University measured
aggression on standard psychological test in September-just before the end
of summer vacation-and again on Dec. 4 when the were taking their
pathology test and finishng their graduation thesis. Half took capsules
of fish oil, containing 1.5 to 1.8 grams per day of DHA, half took
placebo. No extra aggression was noted on testing the treated students
while placebo students' aggressio levels increased an average of 9
percent. Antolin Llorente of Baylor Universtiy studied 140 pregnant women
and found that 200 milligrams of DHA fish oil for four months post partum
resulted in improvement in concentration and attention. In the Framingham
Heart Study, Dr, Ernst Schaefer and colleagues at Tufts Universtity found
that in a sample of 1188 elderly (average age = 65) subjects, those
diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease were twice as likely to have low blood
DHA levels. Further, those with low blood DA had a 67% greater risk of
developing Alheimer's in the next ten years. They were also 4 times more
likely to have lower scores on the Mini Mental State Exam (MMSE). Dr.
David Benton published in The Lancet in 1988 a double-blind study of 12
year old British schoolchildren. 30 children received a vitamin-mineral
supplement and 30 received placebo for 8 months. Non-verbal intelligence
improved from 111 to 120 in the supplemented children versus a 1 percent
increase in the placebo children.

I would recommend a book called The Miracle Brain by Jean Carper. I
certainly don't agree with everything in this book, but it is well
researched and documented. The references for the studies above are in
the book (174 references). Thank you.

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