Dementia: Dr Sara on benefits of being in nature
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Cognitive decline is one of the many symptoms caused by dementia. It describes “worsening or frequent confusion and memory loss” linked to the cognitive condition, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention explains. New research has identified a specific supplement that can slow this symptom and even improve cognitive function.
Cognitive function describes the mental abilities of a person, ranging from thinking to decision making.
Being forgetful can be a normal part of ageing, but there are also “serious” conditions linked to cognitive function. These include dementia and mild cognitive impairment (MCI), National Institute on Aging states.
MCI is the stage between the expected cognitive decline due to ageing and dementia, according to the Mayo Clinic.
The research has found that people who suffer from this problem or Alzheimer’s disease can benefit from probiotics.
Probiotics are live bacteria and yeasts with many health benefits, including their ability to help restore the natural balance of bacteria in your gut.
The study, published in the journal Foods, looked at how taking probiotics can affect cognitive function.
They found that supplementing probiotics at adequate amounts for 12 weeks or longer may improve cognitive function in MCI or Alzheimer’s disease sufferers.
Even though this study may have some limitations, as reported by the research team, there seems to be a link between our gut and brain.
There is the obvious communication between the two as they are able to send signals to each other, indicating feelings of hunger or satiety.
Our gut is also able to slow down or speed up based on how we feel, according to the Mental Health Foundation.
But recent studies are also looking into other impacts of this connection.
For example, another report published in the Neuroscience & Behavioral Reviews found that taking probiotics can slow cognitive decline.
It looked at 30 studies examining the link between probiotics and cognitive function.
The research team found that supplementing probiotics can significantly impact slowing cognitive decline in adults.
But the same benefit wasn’t observed in infants or children.
For adults with early or mild cognitive impairment, regular intake of probiotics improved both memory and attention scores on mental exams.
Even though these new findings seem promising, there’s a need for more research into this topic.
Dr Vernon Williams, director of the Center for Sports Neurology and Pain Medicine at the Cedars-Sinai Kerlan-Jobe Institute, told Medical News Today: “This seems to be a safe approach in middle-aged and older adults.
“I don’t think anyone is saying that probiotics will cure cognitive dysfunction in and of themselves.
“But they may provide a significant piece of the puzzle and may be significant, in terms of their contribution to improving these kinds of symptoms.”
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