Breaking News
May 3, 2019 - Vaping and Smoking May Signal Greater Motivation to Quit
May 3, 2019 - Dementia looks different in brains of Hispanics
May 3, 2019 - Short-Staffed Nursing Homes See Drop In Medicare Ratings
May 3, 2019 - Study of teens with eating disorders explores how substance users differ from non-substance users
May 3, 2019 - Scientists develop new video game that may help in the study of Alzheimer’s
May 3, 2019 - Arc Bio introduces Galileo Pathogen Solution product line at ASM Clinical Virology Symposium
May 3, 2019 - Cornell University study uncovers relationship between starch digestion gene and gut bacteria
May 3, 2019 - How to Safely Use Glucose Meters and Test Strips for Diabetes
May 3, 2019 - Anti-inflammatory drugs ineffective for prevention of Alzheimer’s disease
May 3, 2019 - Study tracks Pennsylvania’s oil and gas waste-disposal practices
May 3, 2019 - Creating a better radiation diagnostic test for astronauts
May 3, 2019 - Vegans are often deficient in these four nutrients
May 3, 2019 - PPDC announces seed grants to develop medical devices for children
May 3, 2019 - Study maps out the frequency and impact of water polo head injuries
May 3, 2019 - Research on Reddit identifies risks associated with unproven treatments for opioid addiction
May 3, 2019 - Good smells may help ease tobacco cravings
May 3, 2019 - Medical financial hardship found to be very common among people in the United States
May 3, 2019 - Researchers develop multimodal system for personalized post-stroke rehabilitation
May 3, 2019 - Study shows significant mortality benefit with CABG over percutaneous coronary intervention
May 3, 2019 - Will gene-editing of human embryos ever be justifiable?
May 3, 2019 - FDA Approves Dengvaxia (dengue vaccine) for the Prevention of Dengue Disease in Endemic Regions
May 3, 2019 - Why Tonsillitis Keeps Coming Back
May 3, 2019 - Fighting the opioid epidemic with data
May 3, 2019 - Maggot sausages may soon be a reality
May 3, 2019 - Deletion of ATDC gene prevents development of pancreatic cancer in mice
May 2, 2019 - Targeted Therapy Promising for Rare Hematologic Cancer
May 2, 2019 - Alzheimer’s disease is a ‘double-prion disorder,’ study shows
May 2, 2019 - Reservoir bugs: How one bacterial menace makes its home in the human stomach
May 2, 2019 - Clinical, Admin Staff From Cardiology Get Sneak Peek at Epic
May 2, 2019 - Depression increases hospital use and mortality in children
May 2, 2019 - Vicon and NOC support CURE International to create first gait lab in Ethiopia
May 2, 2019 - Researchers use 3D printer to make paper organs
May 2, 2019 - Viral infection in utero associated with behavioral abnormalities in offspring
May 2, 2019 - U.S. Teen Opioid Deaths Soaring
May 2, 2019 - Opioid distribution data should be public
May 2, 2019 - In the Spotlight: “I’m learning every single day”
May 2, 2019 - 2019 Schaefer Scholars Announced
May 2, 2019 - Podcast: KHN’s ‘What The Health?’ Bye-Bye, ACA, And Hello ‘Medicare-For-All’?
May 2, 2019 - Study describes new viral molecular evasion mechanism used by cytomegalovirus
May 2, 2019 - SLU study suggests a more equitable way for Medicare reimbursement
May 2, 2019 - Scientists discover first gene involved in lower urinary tract obstruction
May 2, 2019 - Researchers identify 34 genes associated with increased risk of ovarian cancer
May 2, 2019 - Many low-income infants receive formula in the first few days of life, finds study
May 2, 2019 - Global study finds high success rate for hip and knee replacements
May 2, 2019 - Taking depression seriously: What is it?
May 2, 2019 - With Head Injuries Mounting, Will Cities Put Their Feet Down On E-Scooters?
May 2, 2019 - Scientists develop small fluorophores for tracking metabolites in living cells
May 2, 2019 - Study casts new light into how mothers’ and babies’ genes influence birth weight
May 2, 2019 - Researchers uncover new brain mechanisms regulating body weight
May 2, 2019 - Organ-on-chip systems offered to Asia-Pacific regions by Sydney’s AXT
May 2, 2019 - Adoption of new rules drops readmission penalties against safety net hospitals
May 2, 2019 - Kids and teens who consume zero-calorie sweetened beverages do not save calories
May 2, 2019 - Improved procedure for cancer-related erectile dysfunction
May 2, 2019 - Hormone may improve social behavior in autism
May 2, 2019 - Alzheimer’s disease may be caused by infectious proteins called prions
May 2, 2019 - Even Doctors Can’t Navigate Our ‘Broken Health Care System’
May 2, 2019 - Study looks at the impact on criminal persistence of head injuries
May 2, 2019 - Honey ‘as high in sugars as table sugar’
May 2, 2019 - Innovations to U.S. food system could help consumers in choosing healthy foods
May 2, 2019 - FDA Approves Mavyret (glecaprevir and pibrentasvir) as First Treatment for All Genotypes of Hepatitis C in Pediatric Patients
May 2, 2019 - Women underreport prevalence and intensity of their own snoring
May 2, 2019 - Concussion summit focuses on science behind brain injury
May 2, 2019 - Booker’s Argument For Environmental Justice Stays Within The Lines
May 2, 2019 - Cornell research explains increased metastatic cancer risk in diabetics
May 2, 2019 - Mount Sinai study provides fresh insights into cellular pathways that cause cancer
May 2, 2019 - Researchers to study link between prenatal pesticide exposures and childhood ADHD
May 2, 2019 - CoGEN Congress 2019: Speakers’ overviews
May 2, 2019 - A new strategy for managing diabetic macular edema in people with good vision
May 2, 2019 - Sagent Pharmaceuticals Issues Voluntary Nationwide Recall of Ketorolac Tromethamine Injection, USP, 60mg/2mL (30mg per mL) Due to Lack of Sterility Assurance
May 2, 2019 - Screen time associated with behavioral problems in preschoolers
May 2, 2019 - Hormone reduces social impairment in kids with autism | News Center
May 2, 2019 - Researchers synthesize peroxidase-mimicking nanozyme with low cost and superior catalytic activity
May 2, 2019 - Study results of a potential drug to treat Type 2 diabetes in children announced
May 2, 2019 - Multigene test helps doctors to make effective treatment decisions for breast cancer patients
May 2, 2019 - UNC School of Medicine initiative providing unique care to dementia patients
May 2, 2019 - Nestlé Health Science and VHP join forces to launch innovative COPES program for cancer patients
May 2, 2019 - Study examines how our brain generates consciousness and loses it during anesthesia
May 2, 2019 - Transition Support Program May Aid Young Adults With Type 1 Diabetes
May 2, 2019 - Study shows how neutrophils exacerbate atherosclerosis by inducing smooth muscle-cell death
May 2, 2019 - Research reveals complexity of how we make decisions
Mushrooms may fight neurodegeneration in later life

Mushrooms may fight neurodegeneration in later life

Research from a Singapore-based study has suggested that mild cognitive impairment could be prevented in people over the age of 60 by simply eating mushrooms more than twice a week.

Mushrooms may protect against mild cognitive impairment linked to old ageRubencress | Shutterstock

The National University of Singapore (NUS) carried out the cross-sectional study with support from the Life Sciences Institute and the Mind Science Centre at NUS, and the National Medical Research Council from the Singapore Ministry of Health. Assistant professor Lei Feng from the National University of Singapore’s department of psychological medicine led the study.

The study was based on data collected on the diets of 663 Chinese people over the age of 60. Their diet and lifestyles were tracked over a period of six years from 2011 to 2017.

A portion of mushrooms was defined as having an average weight of approximately 150 grams, with two portions being equal to half a plate. The mushrooms included in the study were golden, oyster, shiitake, white button mushrooms, and dried and canned mushrooms, as these are commonly consumed varities in Singapore.

Other mushroom varieties that were not included in the study may also harness the same benefits as the types included in the study.

The results, which have been published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, showed that consuming over two portions of cooked mushrooms a week decreased the risk of mild cognitive impairment by 50 percent, when compared with individuals who ate fewer than one portion a week.

Although the study emphasizes the effects of two or more portions of mushrooms per week, results also showed that one small portion per week could still contribute to decreasing the chances of mild cognitive impairment in advanced ages.

Mild cognitive impairment is defined as the stage between normal, age-related cognitive decline and the significant decline caused by dementia. Mild cognitive decline is characterized by memory loss or forgetfulness, and it may also present difficulties with language, attention, and visuospatial functions.

The effects of mild cognitive impairment do not manifest as clearly as those of dementia as they do not affect a person’s ability to carry out everyday activities as severely. Feng explains how the study accounted for this difference, saying:

People with MCI are still able to carry out their normal daily activities. So, what we had to determine in this study is whether these seniors had poorer performance on standard neuropsychologist tests than other people of the same age and education background.

Neuropsychological tests are specifically designed tasks that can measure various aspects of a person’s cognitive abilities. In fact, some of the tests we used in this study are adopted from commonly used IQ test battery, the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale (WAIS).”

Lei Feng, Lead Author

To make accurate diagnoses, the researchers carried out detailed interviews and tests. On the type of information gathered in these interviews, Feng said:

“The interview takes into account demographic information, medical history, psychological factors, and dietary habits. A nurse will measure blood pressure, weight, height, handgrip, and walking speed. They will also do a simple screen test on cognition, depression, anxiety.”

The study reports that the association between higher mushroom consumption and reduced risk of cognitive decline was “independent of age, gender, education, cigarette smoking, alcohol consumption, hypertension, diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and physical activities.”

Feng said the correlation found in the study was “surprising and encouraging,” adding, “It seems that a commonly available single ingredient could have a dramatic effect on cognitive decline.”

A previous study found that levels of this particular, single ingredient, called ergothioneine (ET), in the plasma of people with MCI were notably lower than healthy people of the same age.

It was this study that fuelled the belief that ET deficiency may contribute to neurodegeneration, and that consuming foods rich in ET, like mushrooms, may help to combat the effects of this particular deficiency.

The ET compound is common to all types of mushrooms studied. Dr. Irwin Cheah, Senior Research Fellow at the NUS Department of Biochemistry explains:

We’re very interested in a compound called ergothioneine (ET). […] ET is a unique antioxidant and anti-inflammatory which humans are unable to synthesise on their own. But it can be obtained from dietary sources, one of the main ones being mushrooms.”

Dr. Irwin Cheah

However, Feng acknowledges that it is not mushrooms alone that can contribute to better cognitive function in older people.

“[…] We are talking about a combination of many factors – tea, green leafy vegetables, nuts and fish are also beneficial,” he explains.

Additionally, some hericenones, erinacines, scabronines, and dictyophorines may be responsible for encouraging nerve growth factors. The bioactive compounds of mushrooms may also be responsible for reducing the risk of cognitive decline by inhibiting beta amyloid production, phosphorylated tau, and acetylcholinesterase.

Dr. James Pickett, head of research at Alzheimer’s Society agrees that there is more to better later-life cognitive health than the number of portions of mushrooms a person eats per week. He expands on the issue, saying:

“There are lots of factors that contribute to the development of dementia and it’s estimated that up to a third of cases could be prevented by changes in lifestyle, including diet.

“Dementia is one of the top 10 causes of death, but people can take action to reduce their risk, so it’s important that we base our advice on consistent evidence that’s built up over multiple studies, and don’t get carried away with the findings of any one single study.”

“So while eating a diet full of fruit and vegetables, including mushrooms, is a great starting point, our best advice is to also cut down on sugar and salt, be physically active, drink in moderation and avoid smoking.”

In the future, Feng and his research team aim to find other dietary factors that help keep the brain healthy in later life and lower the incidence of age-related neurodegeneration.

Randomized trials with the pure ET compound and different plant-based ingredients including L-theanine and catechins from tea leaves could be carried out in the future to prove the efficacy of plant-based chemical compounds in reducing the risk of neurodegeneration, and definitively prove conclusions made about their causal relationship.


Tagged with:

About author

Related Articles