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.

  • A number of studies show midlife obesity clearly leads to early
  • Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Our scientists believe diet is key.
  • We looked at how fats and sugars are used by mitochondria to create energy and impact nerve cells finding key differences in saturated vs. unsaturated fat.
  • 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.

A diet including unsaturated fats (including olive oil, nuts, avocado, fish) is key to providing the nerves the energy they need. Avoid saturated fats. Let’s keep our brains healthy!

  • Neurogenesis: exercise increases the birth of stem cells.
  • 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!