Expert Panel Reaches Consensus on Our Ability to Improve Cognitive Health

BOSTON, Dec 29, 2009 /PRNewswire-USNewswire via COMTEX/ -- A panel of experts from leading northeastern universities recently reached consensus that proper nutrition, regular physical and mental activity, and adequate sleep can help to maintain and even improve cognitive skills in healthy adults. Further, the panel released recommendations to help adults bolster their cognitive health.

The panel, composed of leading scientific experts in the fields of nutrition, exercise physiology, sleep and cognitive stimulation, convened to discuss the impact of these various lifestyle behaviors on cognition. Participants were Dr. Jeffrey Ellenbogen, Harvard Medical School; Dr. John Gabrieli, Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Dr. Ruth Remington, University of Massachusetts Lowell; Dr. Thomas Shea, University of Massachusetts Lowell; and Dr. Erin Snook, University of Massachusetts Amherst.

While previously research has showcased the ability for healthy adults to maintain their memory performance, the body of evidence reviewed by this panel revealed that healthy adults can now take measures that will improve their cognition. This is extremely good news for the millions of adults that are increasingly concerned about their mental acuity. Given the importance of cognition to living our lives well, it is not surprising that this area is of interest to consumers. In fact, eighty-eight percent of consumers are optimistic about the potential for improving brain fitness (ASA MetLife Foundation Attitudes and Awareness of Brain Health Poll, 2006). ( )

Fueled by years of relevant research data, each participant provided a unique perspective regarding the ways in which healthy adults can keep their minds sharp and active throughout their lifetime. The panelists agreed that the following recommendations will help healthy adults improve and maintain memory and enhance mental clarity and performance:

-- Nutrition: "Eat a healthy, well-balanced diet to ensure a variety of
vitamins and minerals are consumed; supplements may also be needed to
complement healthy eating patterns to ensure adequate nutrition," said
Dr. Shea. "Research suggests that certain nutrients [such as Folate,
B12, and vitamin E] and antioxidants may be especially important in
protecting and supporting healthy brain function and memory," continued
Dr. Remington.
-- Exercise: "Keeping the body physically active often results in a more
active mind," said Dr. Erin Snook. "Adults should strive to be
physically active for 30 minutes, most days (3 or more) of the week."
-- Sleep: Experts agree striving for an average of 7-8 hours of quality
sleep daily is important for maintaining a sharp mind. According to Dr.
Ellenbogen, "Putting your brain and body to sleep is not like putting
your computer to sleep. Your brain is active, and sleep is a rich and
complex biological process that works to improve your cognitive
-- Cognitive Exercise: As we exercise our bodies, we must also exercise our
minds. "Each day, find new and challenging things to do that stretch you
beyond the daily norm. Continually challenging the mind with crossword
puzzles, games, and new hobbies helps the mind stay sharp and active,"
said Dr. Gabrieli.

The Cognitive Health Expert Roundtable was sponsored by Nature Made(R), the nation's number one best-selling brand of vitamins, minerals, herbs and supplements in the food, drug, mass and club channels. Nature Made is a pioneer in the area of cognitive health and has been a leader in the wellness industry for more than 35 years.

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