Strengthen Your Memory and Cognitive Skills the Natural Way April 11, 2007Posted by Dr. Rohn Kessler in education, fitness, memory, memory loss, play attention, Sparks of Genius.
News Item: “The Israeli Brain Vitamin”
“Americans looking for a natural way to improve memory and mood now have a powerful tool at their disposal. The FDA has authorized an Israeli-made product called Lipogen to be used as a food additive.”
What? Another natural that improves brain functioning children and adults? It’s phosphatidylserine (PS), which regulates neuronal signaling. Found in fish, green leafy vegetables, soybeans and rice, PS reportedly improves both memory and mood and delays symptoms of early-onset Alzheimer’s.
Is there research to substantiate this claim? A few places to get started include:
Is it safe? “Although phosphatidylserine is generally safe and well tolerated, it may increase the blood-thinning effect of heparin, and therefore should not be used with medications that thin the blood without consulting a physician.”
Of course, the main momentum today is the pharmaceutical industry’s drive to discover and market new drugs to solve this problem. There are now over 5,000,000 American’s with Alzheimer’s disease. Almost 8 million are expected to have the disease by 2030, and by 2050, the number could reach 16 million.
But there may be another way, and that is through learning. Learning?
To give you some more food for thought, what do you think of the idea that learning may act as a potential vaccination against late-life neurodegenerative diseases of the brain? Dr. Paul Nussbaum, a clinical neuropsychologist who specializes in aging, has proposed this very idea.
In other words, learning is actually a health-promoting behavior!
Ideally the” learning vaccine” should start in early childhood via learning how to learn and developing a passionate love of learning, and continue throughout the lifespan.
The good news is that there is software that trains the cognitive skills essential for learning, such as attention span, memory, and central processing speed of the brain.
At Sparks of Genius, children as young as six and adults in their Eighties can strengthen their cognitive skills by working out” two to three hours a week on a home computer.
Dr. Joseph Sandford, developer of some of the software, explains that computerized cognitive training programs provide an enriched learning environment to physically promote brain health. Medication, he suggests, is like putting a CD disk into the computer (the brain). So long as the disk is in, the drug may help, but eject the disk and the effect is gone. And, there are always the side-effects, right?
Can a brain vitamin pill be part of the solution? The company claims research showing significant memory and mental improvements in comparison to the placebo groups. There is also evidence that dietary supplementation with PS can play a vital role in supporting human cognitive functions as we age. Among the numerous studies conducted with PS, most were concerned with subjects already experiencing noticeable declines in judgment, abstract thought, memory, behavior, and personality.”
We owe it to the 5,000,000 plus with Alzheimer’s disease, the boomers behind them and to the generations behind them to look for all possible solutions to preventing dementias
Learning, especially enriched learning and cognitive training, merits much more consideration and research. Who knows, perhaps learning is not only health promoting but also a potential vaccination against late-life neurodegenerative diseases of the brain. Wouldn’t that be something!
-Dr. Rohn Kessler, Ed. D.