Thursday, December 7, 2017

SEVERAL times in this corner, I reminisced about the past, as far back as childhood. To which my college classmate Crispin Dannug commented on Facebook, “Stop it. It’s harmful.” If I got what he meant, he would rather have me look forward to the future because there is still such a time zone for us senior citizens.

I agreed but insisted that reminiscing about childhood and school days could be as beneficial as a way of keeping one’s brain active. It’s just like the human muscle that needs constant stretching and flexing to stay in shape. An idle mind could be breeding ground for either amnesia or Alzheimer’s disease.

Indeed, a journalist-for-life has the advantage of keeping one’s brain always busy recovering forgotten words. In my case, there’s always a dictionary and a thesaurus on the table, as well as on the Internet.

Nevertheless, I consulted my sister Azucena, a physician, on what drugs to take to prevent Alzheimer’s disease (AD). I had heard about such anti-AD drugs as Alzhemed and Flurizan.

It was reassuring to hear from her that I was not yet an AD patient.

“An apple a day,” she spoke her prescription paraphrasing a popular quotation, “prevents memory loss.”

I thought she was paraphrasing a familiar quotation until she handed me a printed study on the memory-enhancing effects of apple done by a team of medical professors at the University of Massachusetts. The study was originally published in the American Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease and Other Dementias.

The team led by Dr. Thomas Shea wrapped up their study with the conclusion that apples may really have huge health benefits, especially for folks fighting the effects of AD.

Dr. Shea, incidentally, is director of the university’s Center for Cellular Neurobiology and Neurodegeneration. A leading pioneer on the subject, he has studied the brain-boosting effects of apples on brain health for over a decade.

Dr. Shea’s research team studied 21 patients between the ages of 72 and 93, who had moderate-to-severe AD. He gave them two four-ounce glasses of apple juice each day for a month. After just 30 days, his team noted major changes in mood and behavior. Changes included improvement in anxiety, depression and delusion.

“In addition to changes in memory, there’s a change in mood that often accompanies AD,” wrote Dr. Shea. “We found that people receiving apple juice displayed fewer of the symptoms. It kept their minds functioning at their best.”

Dr. Shea’s study also included testing mice in a series of maze trials. He gave them the equivalent of two glasses of apple juice each day for 30 days. He then put them through a series of traditional tests involving repetitious entries/exits through a maze together with “un-appled” mice. The mice that drank apple juice took less time to memorize the right exit points.

The results backed up his theory. The mice produced less “beta amyloid” – the protein fragment which produces “senile plaques” – which are often found in the brains of people with AD.

His team also proved beyond doubt that natural apple juice – not the synthetic canned or bottled one – increases the production of a brain transmitter called acetylcholine. Acetylcholine helps slow the mental decline of people with AD.

A natural apple juice is a blend of the entire fruit parts, including its skin, core and crushed seeds that have the highest concentration of natural antioxidants.

Many other studies show that an effective brain-boosting plan should include antioxidant-rich fruits and veggies and fish rich in Omega-3 fatty acids.

See? I am still writing to prove it’s all true. (


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