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NeuRA Magazine #28


Multiple studies have found that the food we eat can significantly affect our risk of cognitive impairment. One diet in particular, the MIND (Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay) diet, has demonstrated notable correlations with improved brain health and a reduced risk of Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia.

What is the MIND diet?

As the name implies, the MIND diet is derived from the Mediterranean and the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diets. The MIND diet emphasises healthy eating habits with a focus on categories such as nuts, berries, leafy green vegetables, other vegetables, wine, beans, fish, poultry, whole grains and olive oil. It also limits food from unhealthy categories such as fried food, pastries, sweets, butter or margarine, red meat and cheese.

Multiple research studies have looked into whether the MIND diet helps prevent Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia. Of a cohort of 960 older adults, researchers found that high adherence to the MIND diet was connected to a slowing down of cognitive decline that typically occurs with ageing.

Find out more

Read our blog: Top 10 foods for reducing your risk of dementia

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Own Your Balance

Research investigating the impacts of cognitive behavioural therapy and balance programs on fear of falling, funded by Mindgardens. Falls and fear of falling affect many older people and can impose limitations upon daily activities. Over one third of community dwelling older people fall each year with about 15% of falls being injurious. However, two thirds of older people express a fear of falling during common daily activities, making it more common than falls itself. Fear of falling has been associated with needless restriction in physical and social activities, and subsequent deterioration of health and wellbeing. Previous research has suggested that fear of falling can be reduced through cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and balance exercise programs. However, these face-to-face treatments are resource intensive and not readily accessible to people. Furthermore, the effects of these treatments on fear of falling are small and often do not last beyond the duration of the program. By utilising technology and providing tailored physical activity guidance we are aiming to reduce a fear of falling in an accessible, efficient and lasting way. A thee-arm randomised clinical trial will be conducted in 189 community-dwelling older adults with a substantial concern of falling. Participants will be randomly allocated into one of three groups in order to test whether a self-managed CBT intervention, alone or in combination with a graded balance activity program, can reduce concerns about falling in older adults when compared to usual care. We are collaborating with the Black Dog institute to provide a home-based cognitive behavioural therapy program that addresses a fear of falling. We will also be utilising our cutting-edge balance program StandingTall to provide a graded balance program.   Related studies: https://www.neura.edu.au/project/reducing-fear-of-falling-and-activity-avoidance-in-older-adults-with-disproportionate-levels-of-fear-of-falling/ https://www.neura.edu.au/project/standingtall-plus-a-multifactorial-program-to-prevent-falls-in-older-people/ https://www.neura.edu.au/project/standing-tall/