Archive for February, 2014

The most common question that I am asked is  “What can I do to prevent Alzheimer’s disease?”    The honest answer is that nobody actually knows.  Much of what we read or hear on the news is overstated for emphasis.  Our current beliefs are mostly based on anecdotal reports, marketing, and epidemiological studies (looking backwards to see what someone says they did) with a few prospective studies (ongoing studies of people as they age) to add intrigue.  There are few randomized control studies (the gold standard for scientific inferences of cause and effect) to guide us in answering this important question.  Epidemiological studies tell us what is correlated or associated with desired outcomes.  However, they cannot tell us root causes. It seems intuitively sensible that what we eat is important for our health and may impact the course of neurodegenerative disorders.  […]


Caffeine appears to enhance memory consolidation according to a study published in Nature Neuroscience (“Post-study caffeine administration enhances memory consolidation in humans,” 2014, 17, 201-203).  But before you down an extra cup of coffee or an extra diet Coke, consider the details of the study.  The subjects were 160 young adults who reported they consume little caffeine each week – < 500 mg, which is less than the equivalent 2-3 cups of coffee per week.  Furthermore, they consumed caffeine pills not coffee.  Participants studied 200 pictures, swallowed the caffeine pill, and returned the next day for a surprise memory test.  Those who had the caffeine were better able to discriminate items similar to those actually seen from different items – familiarity not memory as most of us think of it. Let’s break down this result.  First, there were three doses […]

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