Apples, juice help sharpen brain

ISLAMABAD: Eating apples and drinking apple juice could keep you mentally sharp despite ageing, researchers say.

Researchers from the University of Massachusetts at Lowell found that there is something in apples and apple juice that protects brain cells in normal aging, reported science portal EurekAlert.

The researchers assessed whether drinking apple juice could protect against brain damage in aging mice, damage that can lead to memory loss.

Researcher Thomas B. Shea evaluated adult and aged mice using a standard diet, a nutrient-deficient diet, and a nutrient-deficient diet supplemented with apple juice concentrate in drinking water. Although the adult mice tested were not affected negatively by the deficient diets, the aged mice were, which is consistent with normal aging due to oxidative neuro-degeneration. The effect on cognition among the aged mice was measured through well-established maze tests, followed by an examination of brain tissue. However, the aged mice who were given the diets supplemented with apple juice performed significantly better on the maze tests and all had less oxidative brain damage than those on the standard diet.

Supplementation by apple juice protected the aged mice from the oxidative stress caused by the nutrient-deficient diet. In addition, stronger mental acuity resulted when the aged mice consumed the human equivalent of 2-3 cups of apple juice or approximately 2-4 apples per day, they said.

The study, which was published in the latest issue of the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, says apples have naturally high level of antioxidants that are responsible for these positive effects.

Although more research is needed, Shea is excited about these brain health findings, which are encouraging for all individuals who are interested in staying mentally sharp as they age.

Mental exercise could help chronic back pain suffers: Mental therapy could be as effective as physical exercise in reducing back pain, signalling relief for thousands of chronic back pain sufferers.

Researcher Rob Smeets, from the University of Maastricht, Netherlands, and colleagues studied 223 people suffering from chronic back pain and found that training the mind was just as effective as using more physical methods, the online edition of Daily Mail reported. However, combining the treatments does not improve patients’ condition further than following the individual treatments, they said.

Over 10 weeks, one group of the study participants received mental therapy, another underwent physical treatment and the third used a combination of the two. The physical treatment attempted to restore back muscle strength with aerobic training on a bicycle and strengthening exercises, it said.

Online, 25-Jan-09

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