I am worried about my Memory. What can I do?

Raw Juices Can Save Your Life and Your Brain

From purple grapes to yellow-orange citrus to dark green broccoli and red or green apples, the antioxidant chemicals known as polyphenols in fruits and vegetables, reduce the risk of age-related dementia, in particular Alzheimer’s disease. Women on long-term oestrogen also get less Alzheimer’s disease (See under archives Dec 13th.)

Investigators found that:

people who drink fruit and vegetable juices made from purple grapes, apple, citrus and other vegetables and fruits, more than three times a week, reduced the risk of Alzheimer’s disease by 76%, compared to those who drank juices less than once weekly.

In Australia, each year over 1,000 people are diagnosed with dementia each week. The majority of these people are over 65 years of age and experience memory loss as one of the earliest symptoms, along with gradual decline in mental functioning and ability to think. In addition, changes in personality and behaviour are characteristics that family members find difficult and sad to deal with and accept in newly diagnosed dementia and Alzheimer’s disease patients.

Eating the average diet it seems is not sufficient protection to guard against the disruptive biological activity in the brain that leads to dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. These disruptive processes are caused by free radical molecules that are found in anything burnt including cigarette smoke, smoked food, pollution, radiation, and that are produced by our own cells. It is normal for our bodies to have to mop up free radicals but the human body can only achieve this if it is provided with the building blocks to do so. In the peels and skins of fruit and vegetables, polyphenols, which are antioxidants that mop up free radicals are found in abundance!

So if you are actively planning to survive to a ripe old age over 65 years and hope to enjoy it, this is what you have to do.

  1. Read Dr Sandra Cabot’s books Raw Juices Can Save Your Life and Alzheimer’s – What you must know to protect your brain.
  2. Get your juice extractor out and polish it ready for use! If you need to purchase a juicer, there are several options at www.tohealth.com.au There are several types of juicers available, which vary in their abilities, quality and price.  See our section under RAW JUICING.
  3. Start to juice vegetables and fruit and drink wonderful tasting juice concoctions. It is best to start with more fruit than vegetable in the juice to make it palatable, and start with one glass and increase up to 500mL at least thrice weekly to gain the benefit of reduced risk of dementia.
  4. Add Sandra Cabot’s Juice Booster Powder to the juice to increase its superfood qualities.

Isn’t this wonderful news? All we have to do is attend to your diet by drinking vegetable and fruit juices to help avoid dementia and all of the millions of dollars of funds spent on dementia research may be diverted to other research in the future.

Happy juicing and best wishes from Dr Sandra Cabot and Susie Clift – Nutritionist.


Dr Qi Dai, at Vanderbilt University, published in American Journal of Medicine, Sept 2006.


4 June 2012, 6.35am AEST

Brain power: why using it helps stop losing it.

Use it or lose it” is a catch-cry that applies to the brain as well as the body. For some time now, researchers have known that, in general, people who stay more mentally active throughout their lives tend to have a lower risk of developing dementia in their later years. Why this is has been much less clear.

Research my group has recently published sheds light on this interesting and potentially very powerful biology. We started off with a broad interest in “cognitive lifestyle”, a term used to describe a person’s lifetime patterns of learning new things, engaging with others, and challenging the mind. In this study, cognitive lifestyle was measured by asking each person about their educational experiences, classifying how complex and demanding the main job was during their working years, and more currently, how often they were catching up with family and friends.

The study


This research was only possible by working with one of the largest datasets of its kind, the Cambridge-based Cognitive Function and Ageing Study (CFAS). The study has more than 13,000 participants – older individuals who have now passed their 14th year of ongoing follow-up.

Initially, we used this dataset to confirm that living a “more active cognitive lifestyle” does indeed lower your risk of dementia. We found that, on average, people who had either completed more years of education, worked in a more complex or mentally demanding occupation, or were more socially engaged with family and friends had a 40% lower chance of developing dementia over the long term.

Next, we analysed tissue from all 329 people in the study who had died during the 14 years and donated their brain to science. Since the most common cause for dementia is the build up of Alzheimer’s disease, our first test asked one of the more obvious questions: do more cognitively active people simply develop less Alzheimer’s pathology?

The answer was a rather clear no. We found no difference between those with an active versus impoverished cognitive lifestyle across almost a dozen different brain tissue markers for Alzheimer’s disease.

Going even deeper

Wikimedia/Ranveig Thattai

We then carefully selected a subgroup of 72 brains for very detailed microscopic analysis. This group comprised of 36 people with either an active cognitive lifestyle or impoverished cognitive lifestyle, but who were otherwise matched on many different clinical and personal details. This allowed us to feel confident that any differences we found were mainly associated with the person’s cognitive lifestyle.

This final analysis revealed two very interesting results. First, a more active cognitive lifestyle in men was strongly linked to lower frequency and severity of vascular disease in the brain. In particular, mentally active men had about 80% lower chances of disease in their brain’s microscopic blood vessels. And this didn’t appear to be explained by differences in other lifestyle habits such as smoking, obesity and so on.

Second, in both men and women, those with a more active cognitive lifestyle had more neurons (brain cells) and thicker cortical tissue in the frontal lobe part of the brain. The frontal lobe is responsible for many of the mind’s “executive processes”, such as planning, strategising, controlling responses, switching attention and problem solving. So maintaining a more mentally “switched-on” lifestyle over many years may lead to structural benefits in the brain towards the end of life.

So, what does it mean?

Flickr/Paul Downey

Our research suggests that there could be a number of different pathways in the brain by which an active cognitive lifestyle leads to reduced dementia risk.

In men, a degree of protection against microscopic vascular disease in the brain is implicated. In both men and women, there’s evidence of neuroplastic changes in the frontal lobe – greater mental activity over time seems to be associated with either growing more brain cells, or losing fewer cells, and perhaps with more connections between brain cells. Together these kinds of changes translate to an increase in brain volume in this very particular part of the brain.

Like any good research, this study stimulates many more questions about the links between cognitive lifestyle, the brain, and dementia that will need further investigation. But it does emphasise the potentially powerful effects that mental habits have on brain structure and function.

In the context of an ageing society with truly alarming dementia predictions over the next decades, our research adds yet more hard evidence to the idea we should be promoting and providing opportunities for challenging, rich and engaging cognitive lifestyle activities for our older citizens as a way of maintaining optimum brain health and minimising dementia risk.

Associate Professor Michael Valenzuela is the author of Maintain Your Brain, published by ABC Books.

“Use it or lose it” is a catch-cry that applies to the brain as well as the body. For some time now, researchers have known that, in general, people who stay more mentally active throughout their lives tend to have a lower risk of developing dementia in their later years. Why this is has been much less…


  1. Michael Valenzuela

    Associate Professor & Leader of Regenerative Neuroscience Group, Brain & Mind Research Institute at University of Sydney


‘Brain Fog’ of Menopause Confirmed

ScienceDaily (Mar. 14, 2012) — The difficulties that many women describe as memory problems when menopause approaches are real, according to a study published recently  in the journal Menopause, the journal of the North American Menopause Society.

The findings won’t come as a surprise to the millions of women who have had bouts of forgetfulness or who describe struggles with “brain fog” in their late 40s and 50s. But the results of the study, by scientists at the University of Rochester Medical Center and the University of Illinois at Chicago who gave women a rigorous battery of cognitive tests, validate their experiences and provide some clues to what is happening in the brain as women hit menopause.

“The most important thing to realize is that there really are some cognitive changes that occur during this phase in a woman’s life,” said Miriam Weber, Ph.D., the neuropsychologist at the University of Rochester Medical Center who led the study. “If a woman approaching menopause feels she is having memory problems, no one should brush it off or attribute it to a jam-packed schedule. She can find comfort in knowing that there are new research findings that support her experience. She can view her experience as normal.”

The study is one of only a handful to analyze in detail a woman’s brain function during menopause and to compare those findings to the woman’s own reports of memory or cognitive difficulties.

The study included 75 women, from age 40 to 60, who were approaching or beginning menopause. The women underwent a battery of cognitive tests that looked at several skills, including their abilities to learn and retain new information, to mentally manipulate new information, and to sustain their attention over time. They were asked about menopause symptoms related to depression, anxiety, hot flashes, and sleep difficulties, and their blood levels of the hormones estradiol and follicle-stimulating hormone were measured.

Weber’s team found that the women’s complaints were linked to some types of memory deficits, but not others.

Women who had memory complaints were much more likely to do poorly in tests designed to measure what is called “working memory” — the ability to take in new information and manipulate it in their heads. Such tasks in real life might include calculating the amount of a tip after a restaurant meal, adding up a series of numbers in one’s head, or adjusting one’s itinerary on the fly after an unexpected flight change.

Scientists also found that the women’s reports of memory difficulties were associated with a lessened ability to keep and focus attention on a challenging task. That might include doing the taxes, maintaining sharp attention on the road during a long drive, completing a difficult report at work despite boredom, or getting through a particularly challenging book.

Weber notes that such cognitive processes aren’t what typically come to mind when people think of “memory.” Oftentimes, people consider memory to be the ability to tuck away a piece of information, such as a grocery item you need to remember to buy, and to retrieve it later. The team found little evidence that women have problems with this ability. Weber notes, though, that the 75 women in the study were more highly educated and on average of higher intelligence than the general population, and a decline might have been difficult to detect.

Women who reported memory difficulties were also more likely to report symptoms of depression, anxiety, and sleep difficulties. The team did not find any link between memory problems and hormone levels.

Generally anywhere from one-third to two-thirds of women during this stage of life report forgetfulness and other difficulties that they view as related to poor memory.

“If you speak with middle-aged women, many will say, yes, we’ve known this. We’ve experienced this,” said Weber, assistant professor of Neurology. “But it hasn’t been investigated thoroughly in the scientific literature.

“Science is finally catching up to the reality that women don’t suddenly go from their reproductive prime to becoming infertile. There is this whole transition period that lasts years. It’s more complicated than people have realized.”

“People are surprised to learn that typically, for example in elderly adults, there really isn’t a lot of evidence that memory complaints are tied to real memory deficits. Menopausal women are different. They are good at rating their memory skills,” added co-author Pauline Maki, Ph.D., director of Women’s Mental Health Research in UIC’s Department of Psychiatry.

“We don’t know why but perhaps it’s because their memory changes are more sudden and they are aware of other changes that accompany the menopause, like hot flashes. This might help them to better assess their mental abilities,” Maki added.

The latest findings are in line with results from a previous study that Weber did with Mark Mapstone, Ph.D., associate professor of Neurology, as well as results from a study which involved hundreds of women but used less sensitive measures to look at cognitive performance.

“There really is something going on in the brain of a woman at this stage in her life,” Mapstone said. “There is substance to their complaints that their memory is a bit fuzzy.”

For women who feel they are having memory problems, Weber has some advice.

“When someone gives you a new piece of information, it might be helpful to repeat it out loud, or for you to say it back to the person to confirm it — it will help you hold onto that information longer,” Weber said. “Make sure you have established that memory solidly in the brain.

“You need to do a little more work to make sure the information gets into your brain permanently. It may help to realize that you shouldn’t expect to be able to remember everything after hearing it just once.”

Health project coordinator Jennifer Staskiewicz, now of the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Rochester Medical Center, also contributed to the study, which was funded by the National Institute on Aging


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