An Apple a Day Keeps Dementia At Bay

04 January 2004
Posted by Chris Smith.

You've heard the saying "an apple a day keeps the doctor away" but that might have to change to "an apple a day keeps dementia at bay" following recent research by scientists at Japan's National Food Research Institute. The researchers monitored the blood flow to different parts of the brains of adult volunteers who were asked to peel apples with a knife. They found that when the volunteers peeled an apple, as opposed to just touching or rubbing it, the blood flow increased significantly in the brain's frontal lobes, showing that these parts of the brain were becoming much more active. The research team, led by Ippeita Dan, have suggested that peeling an apple with a potentially dangerous tool is a complex task which, like most "executive functions" - decisions with major consequences – are controlled by the brain's frontal lobes. However, although scientists think that where the brain is concerned we either use it or lose it as we get older, the Japanese researchers caution that it is still too early to conclude that peeling apples "makes you smarter" or staves off dementia.

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