Diet and the Brain: Exploring the Food-Brain Axis

by Greg Watry

Nearly 47 million people worldwide live with dementia, according to the Alzheimer’s Association. That number is expected to rise to 76 million by 2030. While there is no cure for dementia, scientists are investigating various drugs to help mitigate cognition loss associated with the condition.

UC Davis researchers propose that foods provide signals that influence the brain and other body systems.

When it comes to understanding and preventing age-related cognitive dysfunction, Professor Raymond Rodriguez, Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology in the College of Biological Sciences at UC Davis, looks to food for answers.

Brain areas responsible for “learning by watching” identified

By Nicole Gelfand

Children imitate our every action- from their very first words to even the most miniscule of habits they acquire from their parents. Children are a firsthand example of how human learning often takes place by observing other individuals, a term referred to as observational learning.  From a young age human brains associate observed actions with the rewards and consequences that follow, to subsequently “learn by watching” and change behavior.

Oxygen levels tied to sudden death from seizures

Significant drops in blood oxygen levels are more common than previously thought in patients undergoing an epileptic seizure, and may be linked to sudden, unexplained death in epilepsy, according to a report from UC Davis neurologist Masud Seyal and colleagues Lisa Bateman and Chin-Shang Li.

Seyal and his colleagues examined records of 300 seizures in 57 epilepsy patients with chronic, recurrent, unprovoked seizures. One-third of all seizures were associated with drops in blood-oxygen levels below 90 percent.

The findings suggest that some cases of SUDEP may result from the brain not signaling the patient to continue breathing during seizures, though more conclusive evidence is needed, Seyal said.