Research News

Here you can find a selection of the latest research news stories and medical breakthroughs. Take a look below to learn more!

Environmental factors

Improvements in air quality may slow down the rate of age-related cognitive decline

Connections have been made with high levels or air pollution and dementia.

A new study involving women between age 74 and 92 years has found that residing in locations with a greater reduction in air pollution levels in late life had associations with a slower decline in cognitive function.

These results suggest that reducing air pollution can positively affect brain health.

Lower levels of air pollution also have links to longer lifespan and a decline in the prevalence of respiratory illnesses.

To learn more about this topic, click on the link below:

Chemicals in everyday plastic may lead to weight gain

Changes in diet do not fully explain the steep rise in obesity in recent decades.

New studies are suggesting that the chemicals found in everyday plastics could be influencing our metabolisms.

Chemicals in products such as water bottles, yoghurt pots and freezer bags may alter the human metabolism by promoting the growth of fat cells, or adipocytes.

According to the World Health Organisation, obesity has tripled globally since 1975, which researchers believe to have also been influenced by exposure to chemicals in plastic.

To read more about how plastics may be influencing our lifestyles, click the link below:

Dementia: Frequent loneliness may raise risk

A new study following dementia free individuals over 10 years discovered that people who felt lonely 3 or more days a week were more likely to develop dementia during the follow up period.

In addition, loneliness was linked to poor executive function and brain changes associated with vulnerability to dementia in individuals who did not have the condition.

It is estimated that loneliness is common for individuals over the age of 60. This study therefore highlights the importance of screening for loneliness in routine clinical care.

To read more about the link between loneliness and dementia, click the link below:

Nutrition and food

Anti-inflammatory Diets May Protect Against Dementia

Researchers found that people consuming highly inflammatory diets were over three times more likely to develop dementia than those consuming anti-inflammatory diets.

High inflammatory diets include foods such as processed foods and sugars, whereas anti-inflammatory diets tend to include foods such as fish, legumes, fruits and vegetables.

“We need to have a serious look at pro-inflammatory foods that we consume in Western diets. Research on Mediterranean diets which are anti-inflammatory, seem to have positive effects against cognitive decline and dementia risk,” says Dr. Stough, Professor of cognitive neuroscience at Swinburne University.

Read more here:

Could probiotic supplementation improve cognitive function?

A recent review suggests that probiotics may improve cognitive function and lessen cognitive decline in adults but not children.

Participants with chronic fatigue syndrome who received a 4-week course of probiotics plus an antibiotic, erythromycin, showed improved attention, processing speed, cognitive flexibility, and verbal fluency.

Evidence continues to arise that supports clear connections between our gut health and our brain health. Scientists believe that a two-way relationship between the brain and the gut exists, though they do not entirely understand it yet.

Read more about this topic here:

What are the health benefits of Vitamin D?

Some of the health benefits of Vitamin D include:

  • Promotes healthy bones and teeth
  • Supports immune, brain and nervous system health
  • Regulates insulin levels and supports diabetes management
  • Supports lung function and cardiovascular health
  • Influences the expression of genes involved in cancer development

Although the body can create Vitamin D, a deficiency may still occur.

Read the article below to find out more about Vitamin D and its sources:

Fighting COVID-19 with a Lettuce-Based Chewing Gum

Researchers have developed a chewing gum from lettuce that can neutralize SARS-CoV-2 in saliva.

They found that levels of viral RNA in saliva fell to almost undetectable levels after exposure to the chewing gum.

There is now the possibility of this gum reducing transmission and it is hoped that the next step will be clinical trials.

Read more about how it works here:

Exercise and activity

10 Minute Run Boosts Brain Function and Mood

A new study in Japan has shown that running for just 10 minutes can increase brain activity.

Researchers found that this short run increase blood circulation and improved the brain’s executive function — a set of processes that include attention, memory, planning, organization, and impulse control.

Running was also linked to improved blood flow in the prefrontal cortex and a significantly better mood.

A short and simple 10 minute run each day can benefit both physical and mental health.

Read more here:

Exercise and Cardiovascular Disease

Moderate-to-vigorous physical activity has many benefits, but it may provide the most help to people who already have cardiovascular disease, (CVD).

Cardiovascular disease includes coronary heart disease, heart attack, stroke, heart failure and more.

A recent study including more than 142,000 participants discovered that moderate-to-vigorous physical activity had links to lower all-cause mortality and major adverse cardiovascular events, but was most beneficial to those who already had CVD.

Overall, researchers concluded that every individual can benefit from a physically active lifestyle, no matter what their cardiovascular health status may be.

Read more on this study:

5 Exercises for Anxiety

Exercises for anxiety have the potential to manage certain anxiety symptoms such as muscle tension, increased heart rate and rapid breathing.

The following exercises can help a person to relax by restoring a typical breathing pattern:

  • Alternate nostril breathing
  • Pursed lip breathing
  • Resonance frequency breathing
  • Simple breathing exercise
  • Progressive muscle relaxation

To learn more about these techniques and how to use them, click on the following link:

Link Between Dementia and Faster Heart Rates

New study finds that for people aged 60 or older, an elevated resting heart rate (RHR), may be a risk factor for dementia.

The study, followed 2,147 participants for up to 12 years. Individuals whose RHRs were 80 beats per minute (bpm) or higher had, on average, a 55% higher risk of developing dementia than those with RHRs of 60–69 bpm.

Strong links between the heart and brain health suggest that lifestyle improvements such as exercise, can mitigate the risk of dementia.

Read more here:

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