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Medicine Science

Does 'Supersizing' Supershrink Your Brain? 283

Posted by Soulskill
from the food-for-thought dept.
Rambo Tribble writes "As reported by the BBC, the journal Neurology is set to release the findings of a study in Oregon on diet and brain shrinkage in Alzheimer's victims. The upshot is: a diet rich in vitamins and omega-3 fatty acids is beneficial; trans fat and fast food are detrimental."
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Does 'Supersizing' Supershrink Your Brain?

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  • by mekkab (133181) on Friday December 30, 2011 @11:17AM (#38538388) Homepage Journal
    so if I start the day with a green smoothie (filled with raw veg and fresh fruits)... and then gorge myself on BBQ and fries for lunch.. I'm okay, right?
  • by Spazntwich (208070) on Friday December 30, 2011 @11:23AM (#38538458)

    Hemp has the perfect ratio of Omega 3, 6, and 9 fatty acids, so always eat your marijuana.

  • by Chemisor (97276) on Friday December 30, 2011 @11:24AM (#38538464)

    The study found that high vitamin levels in the blood correlated with higher mental abilities, while higher levels of trans fats correlated with lower. The study says nothing about fruits, vegetables, or fast foods. There was also no evidence to conclude that this correlation is causative. They did not take people with high levels of trans fats and put them on a fruit-and-vegetable diet. If that were done, and their scores improved, they yes, they would have been justified in making such a recommendation. As things are, they made no effort to even determine where those vitamins and trans fats came from. If you ate hamburgers and too vitamin pills, you'd have high vitamin levels in your blood too. Another possibility is that people with lower mental abilities tend to eat more junk food with trans fats. That would create the same results in the study.

    So, repeat after me: correlation does not imply causation. If you don't know this, you have no business being a scientist.

    • by JazzHarper (745403) on Friday December 30, 2011 @11:44AM (#38538680) Journal

      So, repeat after me: correlation does not imply causation. If you don't know this, you have no business being a scientist.

      ...but are still well-qualified to be a journalist.

    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      The study found that high vitamin levels in the blood correlated with higher mental abilities, while higher levels of trans fats correlated with lower. The study says nothing about fruits, vegetables, or fast foods. There was also no evidence to conclude that this correlation is causative.

      Indeed, there is every reason to assume that if there is a causative relationship, it runs in the other direction.

    • It's well established the wealthy and more intelligent people eat better food.

    • Further, TF Abstract only mentioned that there was 'a correlation'. I did not mention the strength of said correlation other than to start mumbling about 'multivariant analysis' which usually means they're trying to find a needle in a statistical haystack.

      And I'm not paying $20 to get the article to read the whole thing.

    • So, repeat after me: correlation does not imply causation. If you don't know this, you have no business being a scientist.

      Actually correlation does imply causation, it may not be a correct hypothesis and it needs to be tested.

      In my research (done in a laboratory with a bunch of scientists) if I see two things that are being tested correlate with each other, given a defined test scenario, the IMPLICATION is that they are related. I then need to go test this implication and find out if I was wrong or that I was right.

      If I was to ignore every correlation as being a potential relationship, due to your stated rule, I be a pret

  • by Hentes (2461350) on Friday December 30, 2011 @11:25AM (#38538484)

    From TFA:

    US experts analysed blood samples from 104 healthy people with an average age of 87 who had few known risk factors for Alzheimer's.

    They found those who had more vitamin B, C, D and E in their blood performed better in tests of memory and thinking skills. People with high levels of omega 3 fatty acids - found mainly in fish - also had high scores. The poorest scores were found in people who had more trans fats in their blood.

    So they found that certain vitamins are beneficial to memory, but as none of their test subjects had Alzheimers there is no basis for any claim regarding the disease. Although I am curious what's in the actual paper (seriously, couldn't we wait a few days posting this until the actual paper is out?).

    • by snarkh (118018)

      So they found that certain vitamins are beneficial to memory, but as none of their test subjects had Alzheimers there is no basis for any claim regarding the disease. Although I am curious what's in the actual paper (seriously, couldn't we wait a few days posting this until the actual paper is out?).

      No they did not find that vitamins are beneficial to memory! What they found is that people who have better memory also had more vitamins.

    • by Hatta (162192)

      This is standard "potential applications" justification for basic research. It's intentionally speculative. There's probably a line or two in the discussion section that says future experiments should be done on alzheimers patients. Journalists just pick these things up and run with them.

  • Sometimes I wonder if it wouldn't be easier to just tell people to model their behavior after other great apes.

    Do gorillas spend all day on a couch? Do chimps eat hamburger? Do orangoutangs worry about their weight?

    If we have a better picture of how pre-civilized humans lived, we would probably have a better idea of what's good for us.

    Of course, there is a complication in that the stone age begins well before the advent of homo sapiens. So we actually have evolved since the time of basic civilization. But I

    • by Java Pimp (98454) <java_pimp@@@yahoo...com> on Friday December 30, 2011 @11:32AM (#38538576) Homepage

      I don't go into the woods too often but there's a pretty fat squirrel lounging under our bird feeder in the back yard...

      • I know my eyes are not what they're used to be. I have noticed crows getting twice as large over the past 30 years however. Those birds are fucking huge to the point of being intimidating. They have no fear as I walk past them to my office. Maybe it's just the ones in the city. With all of those fast food scraps laying around in the parking lots, maybe they've adapted to a world of plenty.

    • by rubycodez (864176)
      the squirrel I have been making obese with peanut butter, cashews, pecans and other nuts over the last 7 years has far outlived the normal 4 to 5 years. And the truth is human lifespan has dramatically improved since your nostalgic caveman days, even in the last 50 years with fast food and "chemicals". I'll agree with you the exercise is good, probably even more important than eating "health food diet".
    • Other great apes are not basically savannah-dwelling, heavily-perspiring, two-legged long-distance runners -- why should their behavior or diet be appropriate for humans? And mountain gorillas come dang close to being couch potatoes, traveling less than 500 meters on an average day.
    • by ceoyoyo (59147)

      "Do gorillas spend all day on a couch?"

      Yes, gorillas spend most of their day sitting around, particularly the adults.

      "Do chimps eat hamburger?"

      Chimps are enthusiastic predators and eat meat whenever they can catch and kill something.

        "Do orangoutangs worry about their weight?"

      I don't know. The life expectancy of an orang in the wild is 30-45 years though.

  • There are plenty of place around me that serve "fast food" that is very healthy, not all fast food is a bacon double cheeseburger with 2500 calories (even before the fake powdered ice cream "shake" and oily fries are added).
  • I LOVE meat. Steak, hamburgers, brats, chicken wings - you name it.

    My wife, on the other hand, has shifted to a pescetarian diet (like vegetarian + fish and dairy products). Which means *my* diet has shifted as well, in a much healthier direction.

    Frankly - when I go a few days eating tuna and other healthy meals - I am happier and have much better concentration.

    So, FWIW, that's been my experience... but don't come between me and a great rib-eye!

  • Breaking news : junk food is junk!

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