25th May 2012

Blueberries improve learning, memory creation and recall

The Healing Power of Blueberries

Recent research by Cincinnati University along with US & Canadian Departments of Agriculture show that there may be memory and cognitive benefits to eating Blueberries or drinking blueberry juice. The researchers worked together with two groups of volunteers over the age of 70. Both groups were given the same Learning & Memory tests to establish a base line for memory cognition & recall before starting the study.

Group One was to drink two to three cups of blueberry juice each day for the two month trial, while Group Two(control) had a placebo drink that did not contain any blueberry juice.

Both Groups were re-tested after the study. Those taking the Blueberry juice showed great improvements in their Memory & Learning Test results whereas the control group taking only the placebo remained unchanged.

This study (although light on technical data) is encouraging to those hoping to preserve their memory & cognitive abilities throughout their later years.

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14th May 2011

Telomeres – Protect your DNA but also show your Real Age.

Telomeres are back in the news again, with a soon to be released publicly available test which will report your Telomere length as a ratio to your real age, crudely this could indicate your future life span.

Here’s how it works:
Telomeres are portions of DNA on the ends of your chromosomes that act as a cap for your genetic material. They are critical to the wellbeing of the cell because during cell division/reproduction (mitosis) they are protective buffers and prevent the chromosome ends becoming attached to each other or breaking up (chromosomal fraying).

Each time a cell replicates, it’s telomere shortens, eventually causing cell death when the telomere is reduced below a critical length. Human telomeres lose approximately 100 base pairs of their telomeric DNA during each cell division (mitosis), at this rate, after about 125 mitotic divisions the telomere protection would fail, causing cell death at the next division. which is why normal cells will eventually die after healthy division. Shorter telomeres imply a shorter future for a cell, effectively giving it a finite lifespan, dependant on the number of cell divisions remaining within it’s telomeres.

Cells can improve the length of their telomeres with the enzyme telomerase, which adds genetic material at the end of the telomeric DNA strand, thereby increasing the number of times it can replicate, which ultimately prolongs the life of the cell. Telomerase is not active in most cells, but is active in stem cells, germ cells, hair follicles and most cancer cells.

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