Fast Facts: Brain Health

NeuroNetwork for Emerging Therapies Brain Health Infographic

The Details

  • We have found that blood pressure, BMI (body mass index), and fat around the waist are all linked to cognitive decline.
  • Obesity, especially in midlife, increases the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Both prediabetes and diabetes correlate with increased cognitive impairment over time and loss of brain matter on MRI.
  • Mitochondria in cells take glucose (sugar) and lipids (fats) and process them into ATP energy, which fuels cellular processes in the body.
  • Nerves can take unsaturated fats and easily turn them into ATP for cellular energy.
  • Saturated fats are more difficult for nerve cells to process into energy. This results in an accumulation of toxic waste, injuring nerves and causing inflammation.
  • Nerves in the brain are the most susceptible because they need to process the most energy.
  • Saturated fats not only damage nerves but also surrounding support cells (glia) compounding negative effects.
  • A diet rich in saturated fats causes inflammation and changes in cognitive function. This inflammation occurs after only 3 days and involves one of the primary immune cells of the brain, the microglia.
  • A diet including unsaturated fats (including olive oil, nuts, avocado, and fish) is key to providing the nerves with the energy they need. Avoid saturated fats. Let’s keep our brains healthy!
  • Neurogenesis: exercise increases the birth of stem cells in the brain.
  • Improved brain chemistry: exercise increases neurotransmitters, including acetylcholine, which is deficient in Alzheimer’s patients.
  • Increased glucose uptake, which is especially important for Alzheimer's patients.
  • Plus many more!