Rosemary for kids’ memories
In this study, a total of 40 children aged 10–11 took part in a class-based test on different mental tasks. Children were randomly assigned to a room that had either rosemary oil diffused in it for 10 minutes or a room with no scent. The children were tested individually, seated at the table opposite the researcher. After introducing herself to each child, the researcher said, “You are here to play some memory games. Please don’t be nervous but try the best you can to remember what I ask you to.” Analysis revealed that the children in the aroma room received significantly higher scores than the non-scented room. The test to recall words demonstrated the greatest difference in scores, showing that rosemary enhanced working memory. Poor working memory is related to poor academic performance, suggesting rosemary as a simple intervention to improve academic performance in children. Source: Northumbria University
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Zinc and the common cold
There is conflicting evidence as to whether zinc lozenges can ease the common cold but this conflict might be due to inadequate doses of zinc. This study was a meta-analysis of three randomized controlled trials of zinc acetate lozenges. The analysis found that, if taken at the first symptoms of a cold, after five days 70 percent of zinc lozenge patients had recovered compared with just 27 percent of the placebo patients. The dose of zinc in the three studies was between 80 and 92mg/day. Such doses are substantially higher than the recommended daily zinc intake. However, it is highly unlikely that 80–92mg/day of zinc for one to two weeks, starting very soon after the onset of the first cold symptoms, might lead to long-term adverse effects. The effectiveness of zinc lozenges can also be reduced by the presence of citric acid, which binds to zinc ions.
Source: Open Forum Infectious Diseases
Plant protein and diabetes
Researchers analyzed the diets of 2332 men who were between 42 and 60 years of age and who did not have type 2 diabetes. During a followup of 19 years, 432 men were diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. The risk of men with the highest intake of plant protein developing type 2 diabetes was 35 percent less than for those with the lowest intake of plant protein. The researchers calculated that replacing five grams of animal protein with plant protein daily would reduce the risk of diabetes by 18 percent. Grain products were the main source of plant protein followed by vegetables. High intake of meat protein was linked to a higher risk of type 2 diabetes but this is likely caused by other compounds found in meat than protein. Interestingly, a higher intake of egg protein was associated with a lower risk of type 2 diabetes. Source: British Journal of Nutrition
Probiotics for depression
In this pilot study, adults with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and mild to moderate anxiety or depression were followed for 10 weeks. Half took a daily dose of the probiotic Bifidobacterium longum; half took a placebo. After six weeks, 64 percent of the patients taking the probiotic had decreased depression scores compared to 32 percent of patients given a placebo. Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) showed that the improved depression scores were associated with changes in multiple brain areas involved in mood control. This confirms what many other studies show: there’s a strong relationship between the microbiome (the bacteria in an individual’s gut) and their overall health including their mental health. This study is not suggesting probiotics to heal the microbiome are all that’s needed to treat depression but they should certainly be considered as part of the treatment regime. Source: Gastroenterology
This article was originally posted in Wellbeing Magazine